A sign advertising Evanston “Hygge Fest.” (Photo by Adina Keeling)

February draws to a close next week, and so does Evanston’s “Hygge Fest,” a series of events inspired by the Danish and Norwegian word “hygge,” which is pronounced “hyoo-guh” and describes a feeling of comfort and coziness.

Dozens of local businesses participated in the festival, organized by Downtown Evanston, which provides services to businesses in downtown Evanston. Participating businesses hosted social events, virtual concerts, artistic workshops and more. Upcoming events include a game night, a yoga class, a tissue-paper flower workshop and a knitting night.

Several Evanston restaurants also advertised pastries, meals and drinks inspired by the festival, so I decided to stop in and sample some of the hygge-inspired menu items. 

Celtic Knot’s “Knotty cocktail” (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Celtic Knot’s ‘Knotty cocktail’

The drink is a blend of Irish cream liqueur, hazelnut liqueur and Irish whiskey and is served either on the rocks or as a shot – despite it being billed as a “cocktail.” 

Some friends accompanied me on my hygge quest, and we all agreed the drink was a big success. It’s sweet and milky but still has a nice kick from the whiskey. The flavor is reminiscent of a horchata, and it looks like one, too, with its milky tan color. 

The Knotty cocktail is strong but once the ice cubes start to melt, the water gives the beverage a lighter, more refreshing taste. After downing the first glass, I ordered a second.

Cost breakdown: $5 for the “Knotty cocktail” with an additional $1 for ordering “on the rocks.” The beverage is also available to go, and an 8-ounce bottle costs $25. 

Colectivo Coffee’s turkey chili, served with avocado and toast. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Colectivo Coffee’s turkey chili

For my next stop, I picked up a to-go order of Colectivo Coffee’s turkey chili with sweet potato. A classic comfort food, chili embodies the hygge principle, and this version of the beloved dish was no different.

Topped with avocado and served with two slices of toast, it presented the perfect balance of flavors. The potatoes add sweetness and there’s a touch of spicy heat to the dish. The avocado garnish mellows the rich chili, making it perfect for a satisfying lunch. 

Cost breakdown: $5.50 for a bowl of the turkey chili, which comes with bread and avocado.

Newport Coffee’s “Fika Och Bulle” – coffee and bund (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Newport Coffee’s ‘Fika Och Bulle’

During my hygge-quest, I also stopped in at Newport Coffee for the “Fika Och Bulle” (coffee and a bun) combo, which included a drip coffee and a Swedish cinnamon roll called a kanelbulle.

The pastry tasted similar to an American cinnamon roll other than the hint of cardamom. It was a little less sweet than a typical cinnamon roll but the tiny sugar crystals sprinkled on top made up for that. The kanelbulle paired perfectly with the coffee. 

Cost breakdown: $6.95 for the combo

Colectivo’s pistachio matcha latte and orange currant scone

Colectivo Coffee advertised its pistachio matcha latte and orange currant scone together. Although I don’t like branching out with my coffee drinks, and prefer sticking to my trusted cappuccino, the latte blew me away.

Albeit a little sweeter than what I usually order, the drink’s strong, nutty flavor mimicked that of pistachio ice cream. The pistachio flavor overwhelmed the hint of matcha, which emerged primarily as a subtle aftertaste, and as a coloring agent in the mint-colored foam.

The orange currant scone didn’t stand out, not tasting strongly of either orange or currant, though the glaze did have a citrus kick. Although overall a bit underwhelming, the scone paired well with the flavorful drink.

Cost breakdown: $4.85 for a medium pistachio matcha latte and $2.85 for an orange currant scone.

These menu items will be available until the end of the month.

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...