German Christmas Markets

Starting just after American Thanksgiving, German villages and large cities play host to Christkindlmarkts…the traditional seasonal markets featuring handcrafted goods, fresh baked goods and  live music. We were able to visit several of the top markets this year: Dresden–the oldest market in Germany; Stuttgart–the largest market in Germany; Esslingen–a medieval market featuring pirates, wenches and lots of street performers; Nuremberg–voted “the best” market; and Regensberg–a collection of 4 markets in one city.  Each has their specialty but all have one draw in common: gluhwein, a hot mulled wine served in commemorative market coffee mugs.  You pay a deposit for the cup allowing visitors to choose which cups they want to collect. (most cost between 2-3 euro)  A spin on the gluhwein drink is “feuerzangenbowle” literally translated “fire tongs punch”.  This drink is mulled wine with a sugar cube doused in alcohol and then lit on fire.  Not only is it tasty on a cold winter’s night but adding the flame on top makes it irresistible.