A couple of years ago we were fortunate enough to spend the holidays with some family in Germany. While there we visited many Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets). This was our first experience with a European Christmas market and we were instantly in love. The aromas, the scenery and good cheer everywhere was addictive. They are open all day, every day, during the Christmas season so you get friends meeting there for lunch or after work, passersby or groups of twenty or more, regardless of the weather. People of all ages from tiny babies to the elderly. Like the old song goes, for “kids from 1 to 92”. It really felt quite magical. Nothing more enjoyable than grabbing a bratwurst or delicious mushrooms from a giant skillet served with crème fraîche. All this enjoyed with a delicious Glühwein, that has an unforgettable aroma. To us, it is now one of the staple smells of Christmas. Here is a recipe that we often use in our house to bring us back to those strolls amongst the wooden stalls of the many Weihnachtsmärkte we experienced in Deutschland. A yummy holiday drink sure to warm the belly For an extra kick serve “mit schuss” (a shot of schnapps or brandy).
Happy holidays and many blessings to you and your family and loved ones!
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 bottle (750ml) dry red wine
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 star anise
1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and star anise. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
2. Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
3. Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses may break.)