One of the first signs of fall in Germany are the open air market stalls serving hot spiced wine. For an American, it’s a bit shocking to see alcohol sold on the street and drunk openly! Glühwein is particularly popular at a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market). The markets open in the end of November, usually on the 1st Advent Sunday and then go on till Christmas Eve and sell ornaments, advent calendars, springerle molds and other Christmas items. Every city and town has a Weihnachtsmarkt; the Nurnberg Kristikindl Markt is one of the world known Weihnachtsmarkt or the one in Wuerzburg is close to home.
Each town no matter how big or how small usually has a Weihnachtsmarkt and it is so much fun to walk through the Weihnachstmarkt on a Sunday afternoon… Oh the memories… it’s hard to describe you just have to go one time.
Here is a bit of my German tradition for you…
Gluehwein Recipe:Ingredients: Makes around 8 servings
• 1 bottle of red wine. Use an inexpensive full bodied fruity wine ( red Zinfandel) • 2 – Cinnamon sticks – Cinnamon is very traditional. Break the sticks into pieces 1 – 2 inches each • 16 Whole Cloves – again a traditional ingredient • 1 Orange • 2 Tablespoons runny honey • 1 heaped teaspoon mixed ground Christmas cake spices – or equivalent amount of any of ground allspice, nutmeg, coriander mixed together • Water – wineglass full How to make the Glühwein 1. Put water in large pan and place over medium heat.
2. Add cinnamon honey and spices.
3. While honey is dissolving cut the orange into quarter length ways, then cut them in half so you have eight pieces. Push two of the cloves into the skin of each piece and add to the pan.
4. Pour in all the wine.
5. Bring the heat up. It should not boil so as when bubbles start rising turn the heat off.
6. As soon as it is cool enough to taste, test it for sweetness. If it is not sweet enough add sugar to taste and stir to dissolve.
7. Let the pan stand for an hour or longer so the flavors develop.
8. Warm gently before serving and spoon out into a heatproof glass, leaving the oranges and cinnamon behind. Optionally garnish with slice of lemon or fresh stick of cinnamon. Enjoy…..