In winter we tuck in warm sweaters and put on jackets or hats. There are, however, other ways to get warm. It is worth using the effective, tried and true solutions practiced by various nations!
Finnish sauna for everyone
The harsh, cold climate popularized sauna in the northern regions of Europe. The inhabitants of Scandinavia warm up in a dry sauna, also called Finnish or Swedish, where the temperature is very high (60-110 ° C) and humidity reaches about 10%. In Finland, with just 5.5 million citizens, there are over 1.5 million saunas, which are used by the vast majority of citizens. Finish people enter the steamy room naked, holding just a towel on which they lay or sit down. They consider sauna a place where they can relax and spend time with family.
The Finns’ taste for the sauna can be observed in the fact that during the Cold War, President Urho Kaleva Kekkonen used it for diplomatic talks – he conducted informal talks with dignitaries from the USSR there. The Swedish and Norwegian people use sauna as often as the Fins – for them nudity is also not a taboo. One of the largest saunas in the world, holding up to 150 people at the same time, was built in Norway, in the city located on Sandhorn Island.
Long and frosty days bring to mind not only Scandinavia, but also Russia. A characteristic element of the Russian culture is banya, a type of sauna with two rooms. The first one also serves as a room where you wait until the temperature in the other room reaches the right level.
During that time, you are supposed to drink herbs that help cleanse the body. After that, you move to a heated room, where you smack your skin with birch or juniper twigs. The final stage is the cooling of the body, which is why banyas are usually built next to lakes or rivers.
The power of warming drinks
The Scandinavians understand well why you should warm your body in winter. A characteristic Swedish drink, which is eagerly consumed throughout the peninsula and in Estonia, is called glöggu. It is made of red mulled wine with honey, orange peel, nuts and spices. The Swedish people drink it eagerly during Christmas, also as a soft drink. On the other hand, the residents of Boston have long since discovered the benefits of drinking cranberry beverage. They prepare it by boiling dried cranberry with currant juice, honey and lemon, which results in a warming drink that is perfect for strengthening your immunity. Another drink worth trying is the exceptionally original noon chai that comes from Kashmir.
It is a tea based beverage with a characteristic milky-pink colour. It is drunk especially often during winter months, as many as two or three times a day, and served with bread and local snacks. Noon chai is prepared in a samovar, with the addition of baking soda, a pinch of salt, milk, spices, and sprinkled with almonds and pistachios. In turn, tourists in Italian resorts can warm up with bombardino, a drink with egg liqueur and whipped cream, that is also served with coffee, the so-called calimero. Another popular drink in the northern regions of Italy, especially Milan, is the Barbajada, that is, hot chocolate mixed with coffee, milk, and whipped cream.
Warming culinary art
Warming dishes can be also enjoyed in, among others, Hungarian, Mexican, and Asian cuisines, which share the passion for vegetables and aromatic spices. Hungarians are fond of different kinds of peppers added to nutritious soups and thick goulash which, similarly to Mexican dishes, includes red vegetables which, when properly prepared, have a warming effect.
On the other hand, Asian cuisine is richly diversified with ginger and chili playing the dominating role. Polish cuisine stands out from the rest thanks to nutritious chicken soup, roast meat and bigos, very often served during sleigh rides or hunting trips.