by Raffaella Pietropaolo
on December 13, 2017
Weihnachtsmarkt /ˈvaɪ̯naxtsmaʁkt/ or as it is more popular to hear about in the South of Germany Christkindlesmarkt /’kʁistkindlesmaʁkt/ (literally meaning “Christ child market”) is the 100% German tradition of celebrating the four weeks of advent which has won the hearts of all Christmas fans around the globe. So much so that these open-air stalls hosting traditional food, Glühwein /ˈɡlyːvaɪn/ or vin chaud and creative, seasonal or design items have spread far and wide all over Europe.
I decided to make my top ten worthy indulgences found by prowling around the traditional Christmas markets in the South of Germany and in the Alsace region in France.
- Glühwein /ˈɡlyːvaɪn/ . Yes! It is a necessary joy to seep red or white wine heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, citrus, sugar and at times vanilla pods when the air is frozen and your breath gets stuck on your nose! Red alert: pay attention to quality. Many use remnants of wine or already made mixtures full of artificial flavors and unnecessary sugar. My suggestion: trust wine producers and organic stands!
- Christstollen Konfekt. Thank St. Nick it’s the best time of the year! These small treats are the vice you can’t live without during the Christmas holidays. Raisins, marzipan, rum, bitter almond oil and cardamom all at once in a soft bite. Where to find them? At the bakery stand of course in a glass jar guarded by angels!
- Honigwein /honɪçvaɪ̯n/ and Honigschnaps. If you’re a fan of a good dessert wine at the end of a luxurious meal you should try a glass of honey wine or a honey schnapps made in the Black Forest. So good is this bee nectar that the bottle I got didn’t make it to Christmas. Perfect especially in good company!
- Honey candles. Candles cannot be left out of the picture on a properly set Christmas table. Rather than poisoning the air with half wax half plastic, artificially colored candles, I suggest to go for real bee wax. The perfume is incredibly soothing and it will allow your guests to smell the food instead of an aggressive industrial perfume.
- Tea flower balls. Magic does exist but only for those who can see it! Watch these delicate tiny bulbs bloom in your teapot before your eyes. The taste is very soft and natural and it makes an incredible decoration for the house.
- Ceramic & Pottery. Spotted at the Christmas market in Strasbourg, it was definitely love at first sight! There are people who think that a cup is just a cup and those who see a tea mug as a piece of art.
- Lotus Chandelier. Again a flower but of a different kind. The Christmas markets are often a good occasion to find original pieces that add a personal touch to your house plus the bonus of recalling great memories. Here is a modular chandelier. Shoppers can purchase just one lotus or combine them in a colorful chandelier!
- Mini fir tree. If you don’t want a Christmas tree punch in the face opt for this tiny touch of jolliness instead. A decoration for your house or a thoughtful gift, either way a great idea!
9. Hand-painted Alsatian miniatures. Making model towns is a very old craft with timeless charm. If you are a fan of ancient architectural styles you definitely shouldn’t miss the Alsatian town miniatures. They are collectibles!
10. Alternative bags & hats. Fashion never stops seeking new materials. It is therefore likely that you’ve stumbled at times on a tire bag or a hemp hat. Well get use to the style because it’s urban and environmentally friendly, a very popular combo for the tech generation!