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Be happy, Denmark

Be HAppy
Be HAppyinternet/Rus Pishnery

The judges have voted and Price Waterhouse has tallied the ballots. The results are in and they are smiling and celebrating in Europe and Scandinavia tonight.

Last year the United Nations declared March 20 of every year the International Day of Happiness. The UN needs a one day break of happy after Crimea, the Middle East, Somalia and what ever else the US drags them into.

Anyway, they vote for what they perceive as the happiest countries in the world. The criterion encompasses life expectancy, GDP, social climate, freedom and the environmental well-being.

And the winner is…

Denmark!

Yes, the Danes are the happiest peeps in the world embracing the Danish spirit of “Hygge”, or “Coziness” as we say in the US.

And not only do the Danes do it right, but they also eat right. Danish cuisine is mainly a meat, fish, potatoes, hearty fare that combats the climate and long, grueling winters. Open sandwiches known as “Smorrebrod”, Danish meatballs, called “Frikadeller” or roasted pork and cracklings, called “Flaeskesteg”. Wash it all down with classic Danish brews such as Carlsberg and Tuborg and you got yourself the happiest country in the world.

Danish Pastry

4 Oz. Butter

1 Cup Flour

2 Tbs. Water

4 Oz. Butter

1 Cup Water

1 Cup Flour

1 Tsp. Almond Extract

3 Eggs, Whisked

Walnuts or Glace Cherries

Icing

1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tbs. Butter

1 -2 Tbs. Warm Water,

Take the first 3 ingredients only: 4 ounces butter, 1 cup flour, and 2 tablespoons water; rub the butter into the flour; add the water. You will have a soft and slightly sticky ball.

Spread this mixture out onto an unbuttered baking tray (cookie sheet) to 1-2 inch thickness.

Take the second quantity of butter and water: 4 ounces butter, 1 cup water; put into a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.

Take off the heat, mix in all the second quantity of flour (1 cup) all at once.

Stir until you have a smooth ball. I use a whisk for this and the following step as it goes much faster than with a wooden spoon.

Add the almond extract and all the eggs at once and stir until your mixture is a smooth glossy paste.

Spread the second mixture evenly over the first mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until light golden brown and topping is a little bit crisp.

Cool.

Glaze with icing. Spread icing over Danish and sprinkle with nuts or cherries

In a squeaker and right next door yet right behind Denmark, Norway has second place. Home to those lovable, shaggy creatures, the musk ox and beautiful countryside dotted with steaming geysers and snow kissed mountains, the Norse culinary tradition is heavy on fish from the sea and bounty from the farm. Who doesn’t dig Norwegian Smoked Salmon?

Lefse is the Norwegian potato flatbread and it is always found alongside hearty Norwegian dishes of “Lutefisk”, Smalahove”, “Raspeball” and “Farikal”.

Norwegian Wood

1 Oz. Akvavit, a flavoured spirit that is produced in Scandinavia and typically contains 40% alcohol by volume. Its name comes from aqua vitae, the Latin for "water of life".

1 Oz. Applejack Applejack is made by concentrating hard cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation. The term "applejack" derives from "jacking", a term for freeze distillation.

¾ Oz Sweet Vermouth

¼ Oz Chartreuse (yellow) (Chartreuse is a French liqueur composed of distilled alcohol flavored with 130 herbal extracts).

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a large twist of lemon peel and serve.

Rounding out the top three is another cold weather, but beautiful country, Switzerland. Thousands of miles of ski slopes, the Alps, very few cars and of course, Alpine, Swiss Cheese. In addition, Switzerland has the highest individual percentage of wealth in the world, the second highest life expectancy, the eighth highest GDP and has the top rank of bribery in the world.

The cuisine of Switzerland is also multi-dimensional. Dairy products such as yogurt, creamy butter and cheese such as Gruyere and Emmental, along with Swiss chocolate. The Swiss also ferment some pretty decent wines. Varieties like Chasselas, Valais or Lavaux are all world class.

Swiss Fondue

10 Oz. Semisweet Chocolate, Chopped

1 Tbs. Kahlua

1/2-3/4 Cup Heavy Cream

1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp. Cinnamon

To make the sauce, in a small bowl, combine the chocolate, Kahlua and 1/2 cup milk or cream and melt gently in a barely simmering water bath . Stir until smooth.

Add more liquid if the sauce seems too thick or look curdled.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Use warm fondue immediately or set aside until needed and rewarm briefly.

Have forks, skewers, or pretty (or goofy) swizzle sticks available for guests to dip with.

If the fondue gets too thick or cool, reheat gently (without boiling) for 1 minute in the microwave on Medium or set in a pan of barely simmering water.

in case you’re wondering, Canada came in sixth place and The US finished right behind Antarctica, Somalia and Disney World in 17the place.

Don’ worry, be happy. Check out the list.

Keep smiling everybody.

Smile Everybody
Smile Everybody internet/Rus Pishnery

Smile Everybody

Don't worry, be happy.  The US finished 17th of the happiest countries in the world.  And it's not even income tax deadline yet!

Happy in Copenhagen
Happy in Copenhagen internet/Rus Pishnery

Happy in Copenhagen

After a sumputious Danish meal of Smorrebrod I like to hit the streets of Copenhagen and do some real sightseeing.  Something a little off the beaten path.

Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood internet/Rus Pishnery

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian woods ar full of lovely attractions and beautiful scenery.  Don't you just love the charm and warmth of Norway?  I know I do.

Swiss Miss
Swiss Miss internet/Rus Pishnery

Swiss Miss

I enjoy a good yodel with a Swiss miss along with fondue and a glass or five of Swiss wine by the fireplace back at the chalet.

Tonight we are going schusshing.