Wednesday 27 December 2017

My First Christmas Market in Frankfurt

Coming from a warm tropical country like India, snow has always seemed mystical and ethereal to me. Add to that the foreground of the beautiful Christmas market stalls, and we have the perfect recipe of a Winterland dream!

Small seasonal festivals which are common across Germany, have always piqued my interest, given the lack of such social gatherings back home. So the biggest festival of the year – Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) has had me excited back since October when autumn took over the landscape. German Christmas markets are famous across Europe and so generally attract a lot of tourists as well. And am sure none are disappointed. The markets transform the whole gloom and grey atmosphere into something out of a Disney movie!

Rows and rows of tents and stalls came up almost overnight promising lots of Christmas and other seasonal goodies. The stalls are decorated very beautifully with reindeers, Christmas trees, wreaths and Santas!

Walking along the various aisles at the Frankfurt Christmas market, I felt like a child who was suddenly given a free pass in Candyland. All around me people were eating, browsing, drinking and chatting merrily – all in all it looked like the Christmas spirit had woven a tangible thread of warmth and blissfulness in everyone’s hearts.

Although most of the market was overflowing with sweet and savoury goodies, one could also find several shops with merchandise like ornaments for the Christmas trees decorations, warm clothing, nativity scene models, lanterns and so forth.

Although we did do some browsing and a little bit of shopping in these, my mouth could not stop drooling for the goodies on display.
The biggest attraction of the markets is the seasonal and absolutely delicious Gluhwine! This wine is only available in the winter (and mostly closer to Christmas) and a total must-try.

It is a wine (red wine is more of a favourite) which has been steeped with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and cardamom along with orange segments and served steaming hot! Sometimes different liquors like rum or liqueurs are also added during the heating process. Now I admit that the concept of a hard wine is slightly weird sounding, but you don’t know what you are missing till you take a sip of this heavenly nectar!

There are also other options available in drinks – like the Eierpunsch (Eggnog), cherry punch, and cocktails etc. which are also very good. I tried the Eierpunsch with cream – and although quite heavy on the alcohol content, I was immediately hooked!

Foodwise also we were spoilt for choices, but we decided to keep it traditional and so indulged in most of the seasonal foods which are generally only available in the Christmas market. We started with “Kartoffelpuffer”, which is something similar to a hash brown potato or a rosti (grated potatoes binded and deep fried) served with Apple sauce. 

My husband then had the wurst with bread and a beef steak with caramelised onions – both apparently totally perfect! Other options available were fresh breads and cheese, several wurst options, roasted flavoured nuts, crepes, chocolate covered fruits (I tried the banana one) and marzipan based Christmas sweets.

Between the two of us, it was impossible to try everything, but I think we did justice to most!
With our stomachs overfull and spirits high we returned, only to pack an enormous amount of anticipation and exhilaration for next year in the back of our hearts!

-Gouri Patwardhan
  For So-Saree


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