Recreating Luxembourgish Christmas in Canada
It is bitter, watery and leaves me with an artificial aftertaste I can’t quite place. This is not at all how I remember egg nog! I’m standing in the milk aisle of my local Toronto grocery store and hand my sample back to the lady. I try not to look too disgruntled, after all, it’s not her fault, she has never had Luxembourgish egg nog before.
The Luxembourgish dairy company Luxlait has made egg nog since the early 1960s. According to my grandmother, it was delivered directly to the milk farmers. In turn, they sold the egg nog to their fellow villagers. To many disappointed Luxembourgers, the real rum it contained back then, has since been replaced with a non-alcoholic rum and vanilla flavouring and the fat content has been reduced from 10% to 6%. To me, Luxlait egg nog forms an integral part of the Christmas season. It is to be sipped slowly on cold winter nights, sitting in front of the fire in the living room.
There is something so comforting about remembering the coziness of your childhood home during the Christmas season: the bright lights on a dark night, the warmth emanating not only from the chimney but also from the candles of the advent wreath, and the pervasive smells of pine and home baking.
If you cannot go to that home during the holiday season, you bring it to wherever you are now. Or at least you try.
Living in Canada, a country with a rich immigration history and a famous reputation for international cuisine, it is not particularly hard to recreate the Luxembourgish Christmas menu of my childhood: smoked salmon or Coquilles St. Jacques for starters; Magret de Canard, venison, Raclette or Fondue for the main and Bûche (yule log cake) for dessert. No need to go far, the grocery store has everything, except for the Bûche, but I can preorder that from one of the many French patisseries in Toronto.
The egg nog however, is a different story. Even the one I made myself did not come close. It looks like I will be spending Christmas in Luxembourg next year.