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Crèche, or Nativity

Nativity scenes, or crèches, play a significant role in Europe. In some countries, like France and Italy, the crèche is the focus of the Christmas celebration. In addition to the Holy Family, traditional village folk characters such as doctors and bakers frequently populate the stable. The first crèche was staged on December 24, 1223 as […]

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Lebkuchen

‘Tis the season for Lebkuchen! This gingerbread-ish, cookie-ish sweet was invented by medieval monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century. The earliest known bakers were in Ulm and Nürnberger. Nürnberger won the arms race and quickly became the undisputed Lebkuchen capital of the world. Germany’s tradition spread throughout Europe. Lebkuchen quickly morphed into spiced […]

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Luxembourg Christmas Market

There was finally a break in the rain, so I headed out to the small Luxembourg Christmas market. I’m sad to report that neither the food nor the shopping approached the quality of Strasbourg or Trier. The latkes were too thick and unflavorful, perhaps because they were preformed and sitting in industrial-sized stacks for who-knows-how-long. […]

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Strasbourg Markets

Strasbourg deems itself the Capital of Christmas, and I’d have to agree. The main market in place de la Cathédrale has been going strong since 1570. But wait, there’s more! • Three Christmas markets: place de la Cathédrale, place du Château and place du Corbeau; • The Bredle Village (small cakes prepared during the advent […]

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Trier Market

The first Christmas market we checked out was in Trier. Trier is the oldest town in Germany and located in the picturesque Moselle region near the Luxembourg-Germany border. Previously, I had only been to Trier to purchase essentials in its enormous furniture stores, so I was delighted to see what else it had to offer. […]

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Eierpunsch

Europeans love hot alcohol and I’m not complaining. The latest hot drink I tried was Eierpunsch, which is an eggnog-like beverage, only not as rich and topped with whipped cream. Ingredients include egg yolks, white wine, vanilla and sugar. Mmm. I can’t say it went down as easily as eggnog, but it definitely contained about […]

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European Christmas Markets

‘Tis the season for holiday markets! I always love to support local businesses and there’s no better place to do it than in the quaint Christmas markets (yes, that’s right – these are all Christian, all the time) that pop up all over Europe. Grab a glühwein or nog and wander the aisles for unique […]

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Glühwein

I first tasted glühwein years ago in Vienna. I wouldn’t say I was immediately smitten. What is more accurate to say is that when you’re standing in overcast winter weather, hot wine is the most genius idea. Ever the red wine lover, I figured (in my atrophied, frostbitten mind) that flavor was overrated anyway. Bottoms […]

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