Christkindlmarket means Christ Child Market. Weihnachtsmarkt means Christmas Night Market. Whatever title you choose, they all mean bright lights, Glühwein, wurst, potatoes, and lots of little thingies to stick on and under your Christmas tree.
What is Glühwein anyway? In English speaking countries we call it mulled wine. In German, glüh means glow and you only need a sip to understand the name. Usually made with red wine and served hot and redolent with spices, you can get it with or without a shot of schnapps or rum. Either way, the glow translates with ease and on a chilly, red-nose-day, there’s nothing like it.
The recipe is simple and here’s a site for a good one: http://www.food.com/recipe/gluhwein-81041
Almost every German town, from the smallest to the teeming metropolises has a Christmas market. Depending on the location, they run from late November to late December and sometimes even into early January. The tradition goes way, way back. Matter of fact, the one in Vienna dates to the 13th Century.
If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all, right? Not quite. Different parts of Germany and Austria have different food specialties and the vendors differ everywhere you go. Woodcarvers come out of the woodwork to sell their wares. Fanciful Christmas lights wait for you to take them home. Steam comes off the grills as a chef rakes at the roasting potatoes and grilled meats.
Personally, I like the big markets in the big cities. They’re spread out and aglow with never ending lights. Besides the lighted booths, you see gigantic ornaments the size of houses. In the bigger markets, the stores stay open at night. Sometimes an ice rink beckons.
A Christmas market is a happy place, as well it should be this time of year. Once you start, you won’t want to go to just one!
|Pork steak with bacon and onion potatoes|