Monday, December 23, 2013

Advent and the Christmas Markets: Part 2

Candles, poinsettias and a glass of wine are part of Christmas.  My favourite every day wine is Weissherbst, as shown above.  It is rose in colour and has a slightly herb or fruity flavour.  This was at one of my favourite Gasthäuser, the Linde in Wallburg, during Advent. 

I had been to Fischer's Christmas market on 2nd Advent Saturday and now, on that same day, in the afternoon, I was heading to the Dammen Mühle's. I wrote about that Gasthaus on May 8, 2013.

Dammen Mühle's Weihnachtmarkt

The organ-grinder below reminds us of our good friend, Mike Hewes, who also has a barrel-organ (some call it a hurdy-gurdy).  In German it is called a Leierkasten or Dreyorgel.  Mike played it a number of times for us in past years.  As he now lives in Quebec, we haven't heard it for some time, thus on this day it was a special treat.

The Dammen Muehle's Christmas market began on Friday afternoon and ended on Sunday evening.  It was beautifully done, with small tents set up around the main Gasthaus, the brewery Gasthaus and a couple of them beside the small lake.

I heard later from good friends, who had gone in the evening, that there were so many visitors that they could hardly move.  In the afternoon it was certainly busy, but I was able to roam at will.  Parking, though difficult, was also easier then.  In the evening it would have been dark with lighted candles laid on the ground along the many paths.  Magical, pehaps; however, I am glad I went during the day.

The Christmas market was full of atmosphere, with everything being made by those selling.  The following pictures show some of that Gemütlichkeit.

On the left, wax candles; on the right, homemade Linzer Torte, bread and Schnaps.

On the left, handcarvings; on the right, an old wagon filled with wrapped presents.

What would a Christmas market be without something to drink?

At left, two men selling beer; on the right, a multitude of Schnaps.

Food is always offered at any market or fest. Below, two women setting up a large piece of raclette cheese.


I wrote two blog posts about cheese: raclette on Nov. 24, 2011; fondue on Dec. 13, 2011.  

In my latest post about Fischer's Christmas market I mentioned that we would be celebrating 4th Advent later that day, which was a Sunday.  We had raclette for supper after enjoying a good wine and Stollen in the late afternoon.  Raclette or cheese fondue makes for a relaxing evening at the table.

Bread is a huge staple here in Deutschland, with every town having its own bakery.  Münchweier, our closest town, has two.  The Dammen Mühle makes its own.   

The bake house on the left

On the right, the baker getting the outdoor oven hot enough for
baking the bread.

The finished product below!

A hut with a heater outside; the trees were carved by the man shown at right, who is in the process of carving a small one.

At left, handmade boxes inside a tent; at right, a booth with a wicker cart filled with food items and Schnaps.

At left, a view of the area near the Gasthaus; at right, a few people enjoying a bite to eat.

A closer view of the wicker cart
A colourful display of a variety of things
I hope you enjoyed the tour of both Fischer's and the Dammen Mühle's Christmas markets.  Most pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

We had a good wine with Christmas baking and Stollen on Sunday afternoon, 4th Advent.

Later, for supper, we had Raclette.
Those special days of Christmas are now just a couple of days away.
Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Frohe Weihnachten to you all!

Advent and the Christmas Markets: Part 1

As I write about the Christmas markets I visited on 2nd Advent weekend, it is now 4th Advent Sunday.  We shall celebrate it later this afternoon with a good bottle of wine and some Christmas baking.  Last Sunday we celebrated 3rd Advent.  Whitey, the small black and white cat who found her way into our house last December--shortly before Christmas 2012--was mesmerized by the candles.

I do love the Christmas markets even though I only visited two this year.  Too many other things were going on as well.  Many of the markets in the cities go on until December 23rd.  The ones I went to, though, are just weekend affairs and they are favourites of mine.  Those favourites always happen on the same weekend, which includes Munchweier's, the small town just a kilometer from us.  I didn't make it to theirs this year, but I did get there in 2012 and most other years.

Second Advent and enjoying a nice glass of white wine

Fischer's Weihnachtmarkt

The first market I visited was on Saturday morning, 2nd Advent weekend, at Fischer's in Schweighausen.  The market began on Friday and ended on Saturday evening.  It is traditional, gemütlich, friendly and everything is made by those who are selling there from the countryside nearby. I bought homemade cookies and spruce boughs, which we buy there each year.  At one time we got our own boughs; now we leave that for others to find and to cut for us.

Fischer's is renowned for their Trachten dress:  typical German traditional clothing, ones that are worn on special occasions and that have been worn for hundreds of years.  In earlier years that was nearly always the dress on Sundays and religious holidays; in some parts of Germany, Bayern in particular, the Bavarians still do.  I have one such outfit myself, and even though I am not German by birth, I have lived here for many years now.  I wear it, for example, during Oktoberfest time.  Many others do as well.  Hans wears trachten-style jackets and shirts all the time.

Three views of the store above and right.

My Trachten on the left is with the apron and, of course, it is pulled in tightly there.  The one on the right is the same dress but without the apron and not pulled in at all.  Below, is the traditional type of scarf worn at the neck.  On my dress, the top, above the sleeves and just below the shoulders, remains bare.  Not all are.

Fischer's store and the local people  had spent a lot of time getting ready for this year's market, but then, they always do.  It reminds me of the Christmas church bazaars in Canada, many of which I went to in earlier days.  they were always welcoming and Christmasy, although the atmosphere wasn't quite the same.  The ones here are outdoors; the ones in Canada are generally indoors due to weather conditions.

A view of a couple of the booths underneath tenting at left.  The gentleman below has been singing Christmas songs and carrols there for several years now.

 The following pictures show some of the items being offered at the market.  To see any of them in a larger format, just click on them.

Natural soaps on the left; Schnaps on the right.

Cookies and baked loaves on the left; wooden houses on the right.

Woman selling wine and children's punch on the left; booths and mistletoe on the right.

Sausages and bread for sale

The young girl below sold me some of her mother's cookies and was excited having sold them.
As always, food was offered.  One of my favourites is curry wurst. It is made from Bratwurst that are fried, cut into even-sized pieces and covered with a rich curry and tomato sauce.  It is then accompanied by a fresh Brötchen (hard crusted roll, soft on the inside).  I, however, always like it with pommes frites.  You can make it yourself simply by mixing a good ketchup (I use Heinz) and curry powder together and adding any extra spicing you would like.  Kids love it!  I love it!  It is often found on the Kinder menu card at a Gasthaus.

Flammenkuchen, a specialty in our area, was also offered.  I wrote about it in a blog post of April 11, 2010.  It will tell you almost all you need to know.  The following three pictures show it in the process of being made right at the market.

On the right, the Schinken (bacon) has been added.  On the left, the finished product and ready to eat.

On this Saturday morning, the roads were clear, although it was cold.  Fischer's is quite high, so often you will find snow there in December.  It is almost at the top of the Geisberg (a fairly high mountain), about 15 to 20 minutes east of us.  This particular day, there was a scattering of snow along the road and in the hills.  The wind felt cold.  It was milder where we live, with no snow, and with only a short distance between the two areas. 

The thermometer below shows it was the 7th of December and just below freezing at -1C.  I walked along the snowy pathway shown on the right.  It runs along the main road in front of the store.

Above, the hillside above and behind Fischer's store.

After the market I returned home to warm my hands and then to get ready to head to my next market.  It was 2nd Advent.