All of Germany is getting ready for Christmas, and many towns have Christmas Markets: richly decorated stalls setup in town squares and pedestrian zones, strung with lights and selling gifts, ornaments, and hot mulled wine (Gluhwein).
Last weekend we joined some friends from Frankfurt and drove out to Ronneberg, a 13th century castle that is famous for it's medieval events. They have a medieval market this time of year unlike other Christmas markets. It's really more like a small Renaissance Festival, complete with patrons dressed in wool and fur garb, and minstrels playing carols. It was colder than expected, so I was a bit envious of the long wool cloaks with fur collars!
(click any picture to go to Flickr and see the whole set!
We drank gluhwein, ate meat on a stick, and had lovely fried apples for lunch, and bought a bottle of blueberry wine in a funny bottle.
The inside of the castle was also full of vendors, and you could climb up the tower, and also have coffee and cake in one of the main halls.
Old St. Nick!
We also visited the Christmas Markets here in Wiesbaden and in Mainz. The one here in Wiesbaden is large and beautiful, but I think the Mainz one had more interesting vendors, including one that sold spices, and one that sold only marzipan!
Wiesbaden Shooting Star Market
Mainz Christmas Market. I wish they'd had the lights on!
Last night was Joe's company Holiday Party, held in the ballroom of a very fancy local casino.
It was fun to get dressed up, and dinner was wonderful, but it made me miss the Agora Holiday party at the Engineer's Club, and all my amazing Agora
I did win a bottle of local sparkling Riesling in the raffle though!
We got all the Giftmas presents sent off yesterday, and today I'm cleaning the house and made French Onion Soup! It was delicious! Here's the recipe, tweaked from a few online:
Sarah's French Onion Soup
5 medium onions, sliced thin
3 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP flour
1 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 cups ale or other medium-dark beer
3 cans beef broth
2 TBSP brandy (optional)
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 TBSP fresh thyme, or 1/2 dried
1 Tsp Herb de Provence (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 slice rye or pumpernickel bread per bowl,
grated swiss cheese
Melt the butter in a soup pot or dutch oven. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring often, until onions are beginning to brown and are very broken down. Add the sugar halfway through to aid the caramelization process.
Add the flour and stir. Cook one minute.
Add all the liquid ingredients, and the herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into oven-safe crocks or bowls, top with a slice of bread and lots of grated cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly. ENJOY!