Thursday, December 24, 2009

In the Glass: Gluehwein at Frankfurt am Main Christmas Market

Picture: Gluehwein at the Frankfurt am Main Christmas Market with Joelle Earley, Christian Ottesen, Dorothea Schiller, Cornelia Schiller, Christian G.E. Schiller, Benjamin Schiller, December 2009

Glühwein, the popular mulled wine in German-speaking countries and the region of Alsace in Northeastern France, just across the border from Southwest Germany, is the traditional beverage offered and drunk at Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmaerkte), but is also offered in cafés and restaurants during the Advent and Christmas season.

Glühwein is made from red wine that has been heated and spiced with cinnamon, citrus, vanilla pods, cloves and sugar. In Frankfurt am Main, the base wine can be cider.

The German Christmas Markets markets open in early-December and sell ornaments, advent calendars, springerle molds and other Christmas items. Every city and town in Germany has a Weinachtsmarkt.

We had our last Gluehwein this year at the historic market square in Frankfurt, which is a blaze of lights. The air is scented with a Christmassy mixture of roast almonds, gingerbread, hot chestnuts and mulled wine. Large and small visitors gladly let themselves be enchanted by this pre-Christmas atmosphere. On a stroll through Frankfurt Christmas Fair, the stress and hectic pace of everyday life are quickly forgotten.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Cornelia Schiller

Against the imposing back-drop of the over thousand year old Cathedral of Frankfurt am Main and the Roemer, the mayor’s office, showmen and craftsmen offer Christmas specialities and original presents. People saunter leisurely past festively decorated stands, collecting many suggestions for fine Christmas presents in passing. Home-made Advent garlands and straw stars, Christmas tree decorations, wooden toys, carvings, ceramics, candles and much more are on offer.

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