Christmas in Germany3/10/2017 11:56:00 PM
Guten tag! I’ve been super excited to tell you about our Christmas visit to Germany! It was a really wonderful trip – super chill, just spending time with family, playing with Sandra’s gorgeous 1-year old nephew, and celebrating her dad’s 60th birthday. It was freezing as well, so we did spend a lot of time indoors, or well rugged up. However, I was thrilled to see snow. Proper snow!
|Winter in Germany|
We flew in just before Christmas, and were lucky to get to the Mannheim Christmas market on its last day. So pretty! Such fun! (PS in case anyone’s curious, following the Berlin Christmas market attack, there was slightly more police presence than usual but there was still a strong turnout at the Mannheim market, with lots of people enjoying this well-loved tradition).
|Mannheimer Weihnachtsmarkt - The Mannheim Christmas Market|
Feuerzangen Bowle! This is kinda like Glühwein (mulled wine), but extra special. They take a loaf of sugar, soak it in rum, place it above the cauldron of mulled wine and set it alight. As it melts and caramelises, it drips into the hot spiced wine. Super delicious and very cosymaking.
|All the Stollen!|
In addition to Feuerzangebowle, we also got regular Glühwein. So good with the Kartoffelpuffer (fried potato pancakes). But to be fair, everything is good with Kartoffelpuffer.
|Potato pancake, apple sauce, Glühwein|
This stand really caught my eye, selling Lángos. I'd never heard of it before, but I now know that Lángos are a Hungarian speciality of deep-fried bread dough topped with all kinds of goodness. Unfortunately, after three huge Kartoffelpuffer I was way too full to try one. (I have regretted this ever since).
Definitely not too full for a waffle though!
|Mannheim, lit up at night|
I’d gone off German cakes for a while, generally finding them too big and filling, but I got back into German cakes in a big way this time!
|Streuselkuchen (yeasted cake topped with crumble) & Quarkini (quark donut) & Coffee|
|Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake), Bienenstich (Beesting cake - yeasted base, creamy filling, crisp almond top) from Schmitt's Backhaus on Bürstädterstraße|
|Nußkuchen (nut cake) at Cafe Schafheutle in Heidelberg|
|Krokant Torte (crunchy nut cake) & Himbeerkuchen Raspberry cake from Cafe Schmerker (plus a Bailey's cappuccino and a Schokocappuccino)|
|Sandra's dad's birthday cake! A Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) from Bäckerblüm|
|Inside of the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)|
|Frankfurter Kranz (Sponge cake with buttercream and crunchy nuts) and Käsesahne Torte (cream cheese cake) from Schmerker|
One day we went to the Odenwald for lunch at restaurant Zum Schorsch. I had goose with Calvados-cream sauce, dumplings and red cabbage. From memory, the other food here wasn't that great (the sauces had a distinct Maggi flavour), but the atmosphere was good and it was a nice outing.
|Goose drumstick with Calvados cream sauce, dumplings, red cabbage at Zum Schorsch|
New Year Pretzels are a cool tradition in Germany! Specially sold around New Year's time, they're made of a sweeter, richer dough, and are generally much bigger than regular pretzels. This regular sized Neujahrsbrezel was my breakfast on New Year's Day...
And here's a gigantic one, the base of which was basically a huge Zopf/Challah loaf. (The whole family shared this). Delicious.
|Neujahrsbrezel from Schmitt's|
Sandra's sister, Tina, made Weisswurst and Süßer Senf for dinner one night. That's white veal sausages with sweet mustard, served with freshly baked pretzels and beer. Awesome combination!
|Weisswurst & Süßer Senf|
We visited Heidelberg one day, and I tried a local speciality I'd never seen before - a Schneeball (AKA a "snowball"). This sweet treat is made of long strips of shortcrust pastry, formed into a ball and deep fried, then dusted in icing sugar. You can get other flavours, like chocolate, marzipan and more, but I went for the classic. Apparently these are very common souvenirs, and there are Schneeball stalls all around the world. I enjoyed my Schneeball - I mean, crisp buttery biscuits are fab - but don't think I'd make a special trip to go get these again.
|Schneebälle in Heidelberg|
Another day we visited Mainz. I love visiting old timey-towns and admiring the architecture!
|Statue of Johannes Gutenberg|
Because it was winter, and there was heaps of food and sitting around, I tried to do as many little walks as possible. There are a lot of beautiful places in this part of the world. And despite my initial hesitations about what a German winter would be like, it was actually lovely being outdoors as long as we were all rugged up and it wasn't raining. Clear skies, crisp air, no biting cold winds.
|Der Waldnerturm in Hemsbach|
Germany has a significant Turkish population, and has awesome Döner Kebabs. Y'all know I'm super into Halal Snack Packs, and as soon as I realised that the local Döner shops sold "Döner Tüte" (Döner bags), I just had to have one! Unlike HSPs, Döner Tütes aren't really a "thing", they're just a normal snack, so I think the family thought I was weird for getting so excited about them. Either way - chips, meat, sauce. Awwww yeah. Also for your consideration: Döner Teller - meat, chips, sauce, and salad on a plate.
|Döner Tüte and Döner Teller (Döner bag and Döner plate)|
So as I mentioned above, it was Sandra's dad's 60th birthday, and he had a huge party at the local Greek restaurant, Paradies. There was So Much Food! All the mezze, gigantic mains (I had moussaka), and even a bonus plate of chips that the nice waiter brought out for me when he saw me steal a chip from my mother-in-law's plate. Whoops. (Super embarrassing, but I had to eat all the chips out of politeness, you see). Also, much beer, prosecco and cocktails. (Quote from Sandra's dad: "Sarah, why are you ordering water! You know it's more expensive than beer!")
|Dinner at Paradies|
This is the Thermen & Badewelt in Sinsheim, basically a huge bathing, swimming and sauna complex. No photos of the inside, as the are some nudie sections and photos are strictly verboten, but let me assure you it was a super fun place to come on a winter's day. (You can see safe photos of the extensive interior on their website). I skipped the nudie saunas, but swam in an outdoor (heated) pool with snow falling in my hair, did a hot tub, salt bath, calcium-lithium bath, smashed a huge currywurst with chips, did a water aerobics class, took a little steam and had cocktails at a swim up bar!
|Thermen & Badewelt Sinsheim|
Ok, maybe one classic pretzel picture to finish off this post. Yay!
|Pretzel and Coffee|
Previous Germany posts:
- Germany 2006 - My first trip to Germany! Backpacking in Berlin with my friend Clarice during the World Cup.
- Germany 2007 - My first trip to Germany with Sandra! It was winter, it was cold, it was Christmas!
- Germany 2011 - A summer trip: Ice-Creams, Gulaschsuppe, Pig on a Spit, Mushroom Picking in the Lorsch Forest, Oma Resel's Potato Sauce and more
- Germany 2013 - Another fab summer trip: Supermarkets & Snack Foods; Bread, Bakeries, Breakfasts & Bacony Goods; BBQs & Parties and more
- Germany 2015 - Late summer, comprehensive posts: Breakfasts; Lunches at Home; Snacks; Restaurants; Trier & Bernkastel-Kues
- Germany 2016 - Early summer! One big round-up post full of German deliciousness