Monday, December 10, 2012

The Gluhwein Gang

On Saturday, six of us took the two hour train trip from Belgium to Cologne. 
There the Gluhwein Gang became eight and was complete.

Four Canadians, two Texans, a Scot and TE.
Can't you just hear the accents?

The Gluhwein Gang, otherwise known as (in no particular order)
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (not pictured)

(Names have been changed to protect the reindeer.)
It was now time to hit the markets.

I have a few posts from our weekend, but I thought I'd just start off
with the most important reason to visit the Christmas Markets...
besides the wonderful company.

The food and drink.
It was all about the food and drink!
 And our first stop was for some Gluhwein.

Gluhwein is mulled wine and perfect for warming you up inside and out.
Each market has their own mugs.  You pay a deposit with each one.
 That way you have the option of returning it or keeping it to take home.
We brought a few of them home.

It's typically made with red wine, but most places offered a white wine option.  
There are some other fun options like kirsch (cherry) and apfel (apple cider).

This version is called a Feuerzangenbowle
It includes a flaming kicker of a sugar cone soaked in rum or brandy. 

Of course, there were quite a few German beers enjoyed throughout the weekend.  

And this special treat was quite yummy.
It's called Eirpunsch and is also served warm.  It's similar to eggnog and packs quite a punch.  

With the drinks all settled, it was time to turn our thoughts to food!
Holy.  Cat.  So.  Much.  Food.

Take a half a wedge of cheese and set it under a burner. 
As it melts, scrape up the gooey goodness and slather it on a wedge of lovely bread. 
Eat.  Repeat. 
And I challenge you not to make funny, yummy food noises. 

TE was in food heaven!

Right.  So we have alcohol, bread and cheese, what comes next?

Next, it's all about the meat.  

Everything we tried was fantastic. 
Whether from a booth at one of the markets or when we sat down in a local restaurant
for a festive dinner.  Currywurst, schnitzel, pork steak... it was so good. 

I don't think they are going to run out of mustard.  
And we mustn't forget the potatoes.
Reibekuchen mit apfelmus are deep fried, crunchy potato fritters served with applesauce.  Again with the yummy noises.  It was wonderful!.

With all of the walking we did, there was plenty of room for dessert.
We came upon these little beauties one night in Cologne.
(Thankfully, Dancer took some great pictures since I was without my camera.)

These are called Trdelnik, a Slovak pastry made from rolled dough
that is wrapped around a stick and then grilled.
Once done they are rolled in toppings, like brown sugar, spices and nuts. 


And that was just a taste of all of the lovely food and drinks
that we experienced at the Christmas Markets.

We also had roasted candied nuts, chocolate covered everything, 
chicken on a stick, frites, pretzels... and on and on.

This was the most Christmas-y thing I've ever experienced. 
If you go, forget about your diet and just enjoy.
You will love every minute of it!

More pics to come of the various markets we visited. 

What do you think so far?
What is your favorite food or drink at the markets?


Thanks to my fellow Texan, Sarah, for coming up with the name the Gluhwein Gang and for introducing us to such a great group of people!  And thanks to the gang for sharing their pics with me.  If I've made any mistakes with the names and details of all of these wonderful treats, please let me know.  


  1. Ooh, blissful!
    I spent 4 months working in Cologne (unfortunately not at Christmas-time) so you awakened some happy memories here. Would love to try the "Reibekuchen mit apfelmus" - mit Wurst on the side, of course!

  2. Looks like you had a blast! I've been searching high and low for a mulled wine recipe for my book club gathering. If you have one from your travels, I would love to try it!

  3. Those sugared dough things were in Budapest's markets as well- they're called Kürtőskalács there, and I ate three over as many days. AMAZING. They were each longer than my arm, so I think longer than the ones you've pictured!
    This looks so wonderful! We didn't get to Germany or the markets, but WE WILL. And I will happily go home 10 lbs heavier!!

  4. That looks like the perfect place to visit!!! And the food! Yummmm!!

  5. That looks so good! Made me super hungry now...
    I loved mulled wine at the markets!!

  6. What lovely colourful photos. Next best thing to being there. I can almost smell the meat - I hope there was there a vegetarian option?!

  7. This looks so fun, Selena! I remember visiting the markets in Munich and loving the gluhwein and potato fritters with applesauce - you have me drooling now!

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