The Danish word hygge, pronounced “hue-gah” (with a Danish accent, of course), is a word that defies direct translation into English… It’s defined by the Oxford dictionary as “A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” But it’s difficult to sum up with a dictionary definition. When I first met Melinda Kopet of Living Hygge, she told me hygge was “the act of finding contentment in the simple and joy in the everyday.”
It’s a philosophy that underlines the importance of slowing down the fast pace of life and embracing simplicity. It means being mindful of a good moment while you’re right in the middle of it…
Scroll down to learn more about how this True Local operation embodies the concept of Living Hygge.
Where are you located?
What do you make?
We make thoughtfully handcrafted household provisions, with the goal to re-create our everyday household staples in a health-conscious way. Our initial offering and our signature product is the Mountain Bite, and we are thrilled to have these wholesome handcrafted granola bars available to our fellow adventurers at the Kootenay Co-op. We put great emphasis on using real food ingredients and we do our best to eliminate refined sugar and highly processed foods. Our Mountain Bites are made up of 97% organic ingredients, and all three offerings are gluten free, vegan, and have the perfect crunch!
‘The Peanut Highway’ is the original flavor (pictured above) – tested for years to perfection. Created from a love for the never-failing combination of Peanuts and Chocolate and enhanced by the brightness of cranberries.
Almonds are a household staple around here. This led to the creation of our ’Snow Capped Almonds’ Bite (pictured below). In it, the refreshing and bright tastes of lemon and blueberry are accentuated by the nuttiness of the almonds and the decadence of the coconut.
‘The Need for Seeds’ Bite (pictured below) was created at the request of local Rosslanders, who needed a healthy (and tasty) option to send with their kids to nut-free schools. We were excited to take on the challenge and thrilled with the outcome. It’s a flurry of seeds paired with the rich taste of cocoa, the brightness of cranberry and topped with a drizzle of dark chocolate, creating the perfect combination to help anyone get ready to take on the day.
In addition to our signature Mountain Bites, we offer a line of gluten free bread products, which are free of refined sugars, commercial yeast and gluten, of course. This line consists of a perfectly sour, crunchy, chewy Sourdough Boule, a you’ll-never-believe-its-gluten-free baguette, and similarly delightful pizza crusts and bagels. We tinker with sweet offerings as well, always looking for ways to eliminate refined sugars and other unnecessarily over-processed foods.
Yum, I’d love to try some of your other offerings! Since we don’t have them at the Co-op yet, where can I find them?
To date, we’ve been selling these items at the Rossland Mountain Market. We now provide a pre-order option for customers who want to ensure their product is available at the market. If you’d be interested in joining this quickly growing group, please let us know via our Pre-Order list.
See you at the market, then!
How would you describe your company?
We are a family operation – plan and simple. Melinda (bear) is the creator, developer and the primary manufacturer while Todd (whale) helps with some behind-the-scenes, like inventory, planning and tasting
Tasting?! Having tried your delicious Mountain Bites, that sounds like a job I want!
You must experiment a lot to get the recipes just right.
At Living Hygge, our overarching goal is to redefine the way we think about food. We are craftspeople seeking to re-create the everyday staples of our pantries by adding purpose and consciousness into typically more convenient foods. Our household provisions are created in a way that keeps us healthy and focused on REAL FOOD without the use of quick rising methods, preservatives and overuse of refined sugars and sodium. You won’t find a factory or any preservatives here – just a few key kitchen tools, a few sets of HANDS, and a number of thoughtfully chosen ingredients.
Simply put… we’re dialing it back… and slowing it down. Moving back to handmade, slowly developing flavors with the use of time rather than additives… allowing for the TRUE flavors of simple ingredients to shine.
When you say it like that, it really gives me pride that the Co-op has decided to team up with you to sell your Mountain Bites here.
How long have you been in business?
We started tinkering and developing our products at home, where the seed of our idea emerged in 2014. We’ve been nurturing the seedling and it’s taken many directions since then. It continues to evolve and change daily! We made our first foray into the public at the Rossland Mountain Market in September 2016, where we showcased our Mountain Bites to our local community. The community support and positive feedback was overwhelming and we were thrilled to expand production by December 2016. So, to continue the analogy, the seedling has just emerged following the final frost of winter, we’d say.
What motivated you to start?
Everything. The world around us, our kids, our families, our friends and all the people we have yet to meet but whom we hope to impact. We share a passion to change the world… to make it a better place.
Over the years, we became greatly disenchanted with the foods on conventional grocery store shelves. These shelves are generally filled with over-processed foods, packed with preservatives, processed sugars and sodium to provide long shelf lives. Our belief is that the convenience afforded by these additives is at the cost of our health and well-being. So, we set out to re-create everyday household staples (breads, crackers, thoughtful indulgences AKA sweets), and we continue to develop our offerings.
We’ve made a choice to join those who create and lead, and we’re embracing each step along the way. We take great pride in being a couple of dreamers following our dreams… and learning more every step along the way.
What are some of your greatest joys?
“Hygge” for us is finding contentment in the simple and joy in the everyday….
♥️ We love spending time with family and good friends.
♥️ Recreation, both solitary or with others. ♥️ Enjoying the harmony of ourselves being active in the world around us, uniting the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
♥️ We love working together. ♥️ There’s a magical teamwork in a well-run kitchen, and we savour the time we get to have working next to each other.
What are some of your greatest challenges?
Every decision – whether it’s the font on our packaging, the vendor from which to buy peanuts, or where to sell Mountain Bites next – seems to have a near-infinite range of possible options. These all represent challenges. But every challenge is an opportunity, as well. As a young seedling, we’re still exploring what makes some seedlings turn into healthy fruitful plants and what causes wilting and lower yields.
The weight of every decision is real, but we have taken comfort in having faith to allow the path to reveal itself to us.
What is your vision for your company?
To change the world… we won’t limit its reach or try to define it… it’s evolving everyday… the Adventure of life that we seek and we’re savouring every moment.
Why is local food important to you?
Local food and local purchasing will change the world. There are so many positive effects of local suppliers and the reduction of so many harms.
It reduces fuel consumption, as well as packaging.
It keeps fresh seasonal food top of mind and it builds stronger communities.
We live a lifestyle focused on local and want to influence that way of life as much as we can.
If you could deliver a message directly to Co-op members/customers, what would it be?
The Co-op and all its farmers, producers, craftspeople, members, customers – really everyone involved – combine to make a beautiful orchestra, an orchestra which should be cherished and embraced by all who make it possible. We love the opportunity to serve you, and hope to make you happy with our handcrafted offerings.
Check out the Mountain Bites website to learn more, the Living Hygge website to see what else they have to offer, or follow them on their new Instagram account @thewhaleandthebear.