A festive table decorated with a beautiful cloth and timeless tableware sets the mood for the Christmas dinner. Christmas Eve is the main event during the Finnish holidays. The day usually begins with a warming bowl of rice porridge and ends in an evening of sharing a meal and exchanging gifts with the whole family. Even Santa may pay a visit.
Joulupuuro, a shared pot of creamy rice porridge, begins the Christmas Eve. Topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, the porridge has a secret: a hidden almond within. The one who finds the almond is blessed with plenty of good fortune for the forthcoming year.
This spicy apple drink is not just a great alternative to traditional mulled wine but it also makes the house smell deliciously Christmassy.
Warming Winter Mocktail
Serves 4 1l apple juice 2 cinnamon sticks 4 star anise 6 cloves 1 vanilla pod Small chunk of ginger Apple slices or 4 cinnamon sticks to decorate with
Pour the apple juice in a pot. Peel a small chunk (2cm) of ginger and add in with the cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves. Cut the vanilla bean open with a knife, scrape the seeds, and toss them in the pot together with the emptied bean. Bring the juice to boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the hot liquid in four mugs through a sieve and decorate with apple slices or cinnamon sticks.