No German Christmas market is complete without mulled wine, or Glühwein, ‘glow wine’, as we call it, as it warms you up instantly in usually freezing temperatures. German Christmas markets are amazing – often set against the backdrop of beautiful buildings, they offer food, crafts, gifts and traditional Christmas decorations.
In Stuttgart, my hometown, the Christmas market takes place in between two castles, a church and a palace, which makes an otherwise rather bland city centre look incredibly glamorous. In Aachen, where I studied, the market takes place right between the historic city hall and the impressive Dom – the very cathedral in which Charlemagne was buried in 814 AD. You can’t get much more atmosphere than that! If you can’t get to Germany this winter, you can always recreate that Christmas market feeling by making some mulled wine – it’s incredibly simple but delicious and I promise you that you’ll never buy any of that ready-made stuff again!
Mulled Wine – Glühwein (makes 1 litre)
- juice and peel of 1 unwaxed orange.
- 1 bottle of red wine – not too cheap, to avoid the traditional morning-after-visiting-a-Christmas-market-feeling
- 6 cloves
- 4 star aniseed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 4 tbs sugar
In a medium-sized casserole, warm up the wine with the sugar, the orange juice and the spices. Once it has reached a moderately hot temperature, leave it for around 15 minutes. Simply adjust the sugar to suit your taste and serve. To get the proper Christmas market experience, enjoy it with a few friends standing in a tight corner of your garden, in the freezing cold, with different Christmas songs playing simultaneously and – ideally – a couple of sausages sizzling away on a bbq nearby!