Since it's almost Christmas, I thought I'd share a few photos from a recent visit to Cologne where I checked out the Christmas Market.
For anyone who has never been to a proper German Christmas market, I'll try to describe one.
A typical Christmas market is made up of various booths that either sell little Christmas presents or festive decoration, offer great typical German/Swiss/Austrian food or they are one of the most frequently visited, a "Glühwein" booth.
But what is "Glühwein"?
Basically Glühwein is a form of red wine that is heated up "glühen" (engl. to glow, to burn).
It is drunk by thousands and thousands of people each year. I wonder what Christmas markets would be like, if there wasn't any Glühwein around.
I guess someone would come up with a different alcoholic beverage...
Quite oddly the cups tend to shrink a tiny bit and somehow at the same time the price tends to increase every year. (Who would have thought?!)
Only this year I had my first ever Glühwein, but I must say that I just enjoy the "Kinderpunsch" a lot more. Kinderpunsch is non-alcoholic and tastes a bit like a mixture between warm apple juice and grape juice improved with several Christmas spices. Highly recommended!
However you can also try many of the various food options that are offered at each market. For example I can't look around the Christmas market of Cologne without having a "Germknödel".
The online dictionary PONS says a Germknödel is a "yeast dumpling filled with plum jam and poppy seeds sprinkled on top" - and I promise you it is delicious.
It does not look very attractive, but oh the taste.. everyone should try this at least once in their life.
Whilst being on a christmas market, you should also try edible chestnuts. These are probably more familiar to others, as they are often used for turkey stuffing.
Chestnuts have to be roasted for at least half an hour until their skin starts to crack. You then have to take off the shell and enjoy. They can also be easily made at home. Just use your oven instead and let them heat up for 30 minutes at 200° Celsius.
Last but not least Christmas markets offer various and numerous kinds of decoration or souvenirs. When I was little my Mama bought wooden breakfast boards at a Christmas market for my sister and me with animals and our names engraved on it. Another souvenir I really like are candles that smell like honey.
Many things you can find there are mostly handmade and authentic.
Whenever I visit one of these markets I'm instantly put in a Christmassy mood.
Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you can spend this time of the year with all your loved ones in a place where you feel at home.
Greetings from Steph