Christmas Season us upon us!!! Back home in Canada, Christmas is fun and exciting when you see all the malls and stores decorated. Christmas music gets you in the holiday season. Santa Clause’s in malls gets kids excited to tell Santa what they want.
Europe – totally different feel of Christmas. Christmas to me out here, starts at the markets. God how I love the markets! The lights are magical. Lights literally hanging everywhere. In some places they don’t even need street lights, the lights hanging overhead and lights from each booth is enough. The booths – Christmas ornaments everywhere! Any ornament you may be looking for, you WILL find at a market.
Markets are big on food as well. You can have your entire lunch or supper at a market. John’s favorite are called Kartoffelpuffer – potato pancakes. Potatoes mixed in a batter of egg and onion, deep fried, and served with applesauce. We were told about these last year and I thought “how weird that must taste” – nope, they are delicious! Kids have a favorite too – theirs is called Chips on A Stick – no idea of the actual name for it! I have found these mostly in The Netherlands markets. It’s a potato cut into thin strips, on a stick, and deep fried. It’s pretty much chips, but on a stick – same crunchiness, any flavour you want – just that it’s deep fried on a stick. Gotta admit, they are delicious too!
I have literally been waiting MONTHS to see when I could start collecting my mugs again. Each market (okay, not all, but most) has a specialized mug with the city name and year on it, along with a Christmas type of picture when you buy a drink. My drink of choice is always Gluhwein – you really can’t go wrong. Hot red (or white) wine mixed with mulling spices. I’ve only seen the white Gluhwein twice, and only in the big city markets. Most of the time red wine is used. First time I tasted Gluhwein, it was a bit of a shock, not something I’d ever tasted before, but I surely got used to it quickly! So when you buy a glass of Gluhwein at the market, you pay usually between 3-5€, including a deposit on the mug; if you bring the mug back, you get between 2-3€ back – I’m not sure I have brought back a mug yet… John, if he sees a different type of mug usually buys a hot chocolate; but even the hot chocolate here is different than back home. They literally melt dark chocolate and use that – very rich in taste. The kids usually share with Daddy. John has tried the Gluhwein just to say he’s tried it, but didn’t like it plain. He also tried a glass where they add a shot of Jack Daniels to it, and didn’t like that either. Oh well, I got a different mug out of it for my collection!
Most markets run from the weekend before the first weekend of Advent until Christmas Eve. Some finish the 23rd, and very few stay open after Christmas until New Year’s, but there are some! I made a list this year of all new ones I’d like to make it to. There are probably about 20 markets on my list – most likely won’t make it to them all this year. One a weekend (possibly two) will make me a happy lady! The ones that stay open after Christmas are the ones I am saving for when my parents get here (woohooo)! I told them all about the markets and Gluhwein last year, so this year they made a point of coming during Christmas season – cannot wait! No matter how big or small, markets are never a disappointment!
Stay tuned – reviews of markets are coming up too!!!! ❤