Saturday, December 17, 2011

Der Weihnachtsmarkt

Nothing says advent in Germany like a good old fashioned Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). You may have heard of the Christkindlesmarkt in Nürnberg.

Der Weihnachtsmarkt was one of the things that I loved the most about advent in Germany. We lived in or near Bonn the entire duration of my stay there. Der Weihnachtsmarkt made everyone feel like a child, in my opinion. The sights, the lights, the smells of chestnuts roasting, bratwurst frying, and Glühwein heating up. Ususally the Christmas market would get set up to start on the first Sunday of Advent and would get torn down on the 23rd of December. I you needed to find a personal gift, one that may be homemade or something out of the ordinary, you were sure to find it at the Christmas market.

This was one of my husband's favourite booths, the Blechspielzeug (tin toys). One year, early in our marriage, I bought Sascha one of these:

There were so many things that I never even knew existed before visiting the Bonner Weihnachtsmarkt. I just peeked at their official website and noticed that many of the booths that I had come to know over the years are still there.

I had always wished for one of these. Well, actually I wanted one that said something like "Schatzi, ich liebe dich," or "Hab dich lieb, Mausi." I never got one, but I am ok with that. I couldn't eat a huge gingerbread heart with tons of royal icing without gaining a pound or two or breaking a tooth or two. I know that my Schatzi loves his Mausi.

The smell of roasted almonds is delightful to the senses. You could get almonds in any flavour, colour or texture. Yumm.

This booth sells handmade nativity sets. They are very beautiful and I am sure quite dear. Nonetheless, I love lingering and looking at such beauties when making my rounds.

Other interesting things to see and buy are things like homemade mustard in dozens of flavours.

There is a booth that sells dolls, bears and accessories that are all handmade.

Nothing says Christmas like a Christollen. These Christmas cakes are so yummy and moist, nothing like the dry ones I grew up eating. My favourite was the Butterstollen.

This was one of a few of the booths that offered Reibekucken nach Hausfrauen Art. Sounds all fancy, but at this booth you could buy fried potato pancakes like your mother or grandmother made.

This picture makes my dear husband's heart beat a little faster. With child-like anticipation he would walk up to the counter and order Rievkoche (the Bonner slang word for potato pancakes), and a Currywurst mit Brötchen. I would just order the Currywurst mit Brötchen. Yumm.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we miss the Bonner Weihnachtsmarkt. This will be our fifth Christmas in Canada. I miss Germany, but I love living here. The kids have a much better life here. Homeschooling wouldn't even come into question if we lived in Germany. I don't want my kids being police escorted to school or worse, have them taken away from me because I homeschool. So we live here and have to make the best of things. Our memories can serve us and others. A few weeks ago, the kids, hubby and I were getting all nostalgic on the topic of visiting a Weihnachtsmarkt. We talked about what we missed the most and laughed about the visits we had. We will not miss people screaming at us because we brought a stroller that could be barely navigated between booths and dozens of grouchy citizens. We will not miss the overpriced treats as much if we make some of our own. So we decided then and there to have a Weihnachtsmarkt night in our kitchen, complete with Rievkoche and Glühwein.

The Rievkoche chef. I made the batter, since it is made "nach Hausfrauen Art." I got the recipe from Oma a few weeks ago. This grown boy was so excited to finally be eating his beloved Rievkoche. I have never made them for him before. Now that we see how easy they are to make, I might have to menu plan these from time to time.

These were my desert maker helpers. They helped me make my famous "Chipits-Chewy-Nut Bars" with a twist. We added mint chocolate candy melts to the batter. These will change anybody's mind about eating grain free. People feel sorry for us because we can't eat wheat, well don't.

Me and hubby cuddlin between batches. Der Weihnachtsmarkt is a great place to hold hands and feel lovey-dovey.

The verdict... dad did good. The Rievkoche turned out great. You have to eat them with applesauce, by the way. It's tradition. We'll have to call Oma later to tell her all about it.

There is one more thing we miss about Christmas and that would have to be Oma. I miss spending Christmas Eve at Oma's. Every year, I decorated her tree. She fed me chocolates, sat back and enjoyed not having to decorate the tree herself. Sascha tackled the lights and I did the rest. In later years, the kids helped decorate and were fed chocolate and gummi bears in return. Oma's tree still isn't standing. My in-laws haven't had time to help her out yet. Last year, if I remember correctly, they put up her tree on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. I cried, just ask the kids. Please pray that Oma's tree gets put up before Christmas. Wir lieben und vermissen dich, Oma. Frohe Weihnachten.

Christmas at Oma's in 2005.

God Bless my friends. I appologize for the length of today's post. I hope you have fond Christmas memories and traditions that you try to uphold. Frohe Weihnachten und Alles Liebe von unsere Familie.

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