Hygge Porridge Pop Ups and First Course Collaboration

Nordic-inspired porridge (sometimes) combined with curations made by Bay Area craftswomen.

Hygge Porridge Pop Ups and First Course Collaboration

If you know me, you know that I love porridge. During my time in Copenhagen, I was inspired by the restaurant Grød, where porridge was is not a pasty gruel that you eat just to be able to slog through your day (though grød does mean gruel in Danish), but rather a cozy bowl of deliciousness. With ingredients like heirloom rye, pea shoots, fermented rhubarb, toasted hazelnuts, and wild greens, I had a hunch that porridge could be a hit in many U.S. cities. Porridge is the epitome of hygge food, a danish word that means something along the lines of "beyond cozy" and is pronounced something along the lines of "hoo-gah". The concept of hygge has been popularized over the last year (it was shortlisted on the Oxford English dictionary's word of the year in 2016), but several years ago I returned with a new appreciation for hygge and all that goes with it, including porridge and, of course, candles. We may be approaching the first day of spring, but the weather is still ripe for hygge and, really, hygge (and porridge) can be embraced in any season if done right!

An exciting collaboration between a Nordic inspired porridge pop up and art.

An exciting collaboration between a Nordic inspired porridge pop up and art.

Since this danish epiphany, the porridge shop idea has been just a fun daydream until a few months ago when I finally put on a porridge pop up at Pizzaiolo restaurant in Oakland. I'm hoping to put on a few more at Pizzaiolo (so grateful to them for letting me crash their wonderful and cozy restaurant!), but meanwhile, I'm trying out a new concept. A few badass women maker friends and I are putting together First Course - a pop up featuring not only delicious porridge, but also limited edition art - including a hand-thrown bowl by my friend Sarah Koik (that you both eat out of and get to take home). This eat-your-porridge-keep-your-bowl idea has been a fantasy of mine, so I am ecstatic to see it come to fruition!

Beeswax candles (with oh-so-much personality) by Lauren DiCioccio.

Beeswax candles (with oh-so-much personality) by Lauren DiCioccio.

Other participating makers include beeswax candles made by amazing artist (and dear friend) Lauren DiCioccio, custom brass cast spoons by jeweler Christy Natsumi, and a set of cloth napkins/tea-towels hand embroidered by Nadia Lachance. The event is hosted by and at the lovely Sarah Owen Studio

Here's the porridge menu, just in case you need a bit more culinary enticement. Most produce is sourced from Top Leaf Farms, an urban farm less than 2 miles from the event, or it is foraged by yours truly.

The staff meal: Including little bits of (almost) everything).

The staff meal: Including little bits of (almost) everything).

  • Millet and chicken tamari: Seared radish, crackling, and wood sorrel sauce.
  • Buckwheat, wild greens, and goat gouda: Soft-cooked egg, crispy shallots, pea shoots, and wild onion.
  • Heirloom mixed-grain and rhubarb-apple crisp: Cardamom, yogurt, maple syrup, bay nut, and red bud flowers.

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UPDATE: Event is SOLD OUT. See below for photos of this collaboration that I just can't stop smiling about:

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A happy table tucking into porridge.

A happy table tucking into porridge.

Early morning prep with my wonderful sous-chef (and student at Berkeley) who left the pop up to head to her real job at the Wood Tavern.

Beautiful table setting with the works including bowls, napkins, spoons, and candles in addition to our mascot:)

LOVED collaborating with this dynamic, powerful, and talented crew.

LOVED collaborating with this dynamic, powerful, and talented crew.

Bowl + porridge, unite!

Bowl + porridge, unite!