Baltzersens in Harrogate is the go-to place for a bit of Scandinavian goodness in the heart of a town that has been wholly built upon afternoon teas. The Scandinavian inspired cafe is the manifestation of the owner’s childhood memories of eating Norwegian food at his grandma’s house. Because of this, although the cafe looks aesthetically like something out of a Nordic interior design magazine, it has an atmosphere that really exudes a hygge feeling.
The Danish culture of hygge (also known as koselig in Norway, or lagoon in Sweden) which can be roughly translated as contentment, a conscious decision to slow down and enjoy the present, has been popularised over recent years by the rise of how-to books, dedicated instagram accounts and countless Pinterest images of candles. What Balterzens successfully manages to achieve is an authentic hygge ambiance, evident as soon as you step inside. Despite the cafe’s stereotypical decor that fits neatly with images of stripped back Scandinavian homes, it is the kind of place where you can sit down and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere almost without realising you are doing so.
Transforming locally sourced Yorkshire ingredients into delicious, comforting Scandinavian foodieness, Baltzersens is an undisturbed local favourite for deliciously crafted goodies. Their most popular dishes include their traditional heart shaped Scandinavian waffles made using irons that were specially imported from Norway. Oooo, fancy! The waffles are also gluten free, which made me feel somewhat less guilty when I demolished an entire serving in one sitting, as these beauties are huge! One serving takes up the space of a normal dinner plate, accompanied by a small pot of whipped vanilla cream and a choice of salted caramel sauce, nutella, seasonal fruit compote, jam or maple syrup. The waffles themselves are beautifully soft and tasty without being sickly sweet, so it’s hard not to eat all of them! The best thing is that these waffles, which are reasonably priced for the amount you are served anyway, are half-price Monday-Friday from 3pm till 5pm. Perfect time for a mini afternoon feast!
As well as being a Nordic waffle heaven, Baltzersens also are experts on all things baked. Their popular cinnamon buns (which are divine!) and variety of freshly baked cakes and pastries are made from scratch each morning in the cafe, and can normally run out by lunchtime. To accompany their amazing waffles, you have a decent choice of well flavoured herbal teas as well as nice coffee that although is not very strong, is really smooth and easy to drink.
Certainly offering something different than the normal Harrogate grub of scones and tea or uber healthy delicacies, Baltzersens is beyond doubt the home of hygge in Harrogate, where Yorkshire quality meets Scandinavian comfort.