Delicious Christmas Treats from Germany with Love…
by Noah Patton
Christmas in Germany has a variety of traditions, Krampus Nacht (Krampus Night), Sankt Nikolaus Tag (St. Nicholas Day), Adventskranz (Advent Wreaths) and the magical Weihnactsmärktes (Christmas Markets). All these traditions are made even more special by delicious, traditional German Christmas foods.
Glühwein, or Mulled Wine, is the essential German Christmas beverage. In the winters of Germany, a mug of Glühwein is the perfect cure for the cold. Glühwein is a spiced, hot mulled red wine, sometimes accompanied by a shot of brandy. A lemon is cut into quarters, and cloves are then stuck into the rind of one quarter, while the rest are sliced into thing strips. Red wine is then heated in a pan, a cinnamon stick, sugar and the lemon pieces are all mixed into the wine. The wine is brought to the start of a simmer, and usually removed from the heat and allowed to absorb more of the flavour for a few more minutes. It is than served hot, in a mug or cup. In the German Christmas Markets when you order Glühwein, it is served in a mug which you pay a deposit for. Like Bavarian beer steins, you can either return the mug to get your deposit back, or you can keep the mug as a souvenir.
Glühwein is relatively quick and easy to make at home, if you have some wine and basic mulling spices you have everything you need. For some excellent recipes, each with a slightly different take on the drink, following the links below.
If you like Glühwein and want to try something new, try Feuerzangenbowle. It’s like Glühwein but includes adding rum and sugar loaf or cone. Use any of the recipes above, but in the place of the port or brandy instead add a high proof brown rum. Feuerzangenbowle translates roughly to “Fire Punch”, and the drink is made in an extraordinary way. A sugar loaf is placed on a metal rack above the pot contained Glühwein, this sugar loaf is then soaked with the rum. The alcohol on the loaf is lit, and the sugar will melt and drip down into the wine. Rum is added to the loaf until it is finished, then the mixture is stirred and served. This is significantly more challenging to create than Glühwein and we highly recommend that you watch some videos and be careful as you are handling alcohol and hot flames.
In the Christmas Markets of Germany, the desserts are king. Their style of Christmas cookies, Weihnachtsplätzchen, come in many different shapes and sizes. The most popular is the Lebkuchen, a heart-shaped gingerbread cookie. The face of the cookie is decorated with a heavy icing that sets hard. In the markets you will find hundreds of different designs, many with heart-warming messages.
Another German Christmas favourite is Stollen, a dense and delicious fruitcake. Many consider Stollen to be the greatest Christmas pastry in the world. There are many kinds of Stollen, categorised by what they are made with. Mandelstollen is made with almonds, Mohnstollen with poppy seeds, Nuss-stollen has many different types of nuts, Butterstollen uses more butter than the others, Marzipanstollen has a marzipan centre and most famously the Dresdner Christstollen (found in stores all across Germany). Christstollen is the Christmas version of stollen and incorporates a little bit of everything. All stollen is shaped with tapered edges, but Christstollen has a ridge in the centre. This ridge symbolises baby Jesus being swaddled. If you’d like to try and make Stollen, check out some of the recipes below.