If you are traveling to Germany during Advent, it won’t take long for you to run into Glühwein. Usually translated as “mulled wine, it is a hot drink of wine (often red, but sometimes white) mixed with things like Cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, anise, and the like. It’s just the thing on a cold day and the spices really do have a Christmas scent that is quite festive.
If you are having more than a cup or two, or you are particular about your wine, it’s best to ask a true local where the best stands are. Sometimes these are overly sweet and often the wine is substandard.
I worked in a booth last winter for a few days, so I really had too much Glühwein and learned to appreciate the good stuff!
When you do purchase one, you’ll also be asked for extra money as a deposit – called Pfand – on the cups. Sometimes the cup is really a nice design and you might want to keep it, but usually you just want to return them and get your deposit back. So, it’s important to bring the cup back to the place you bought it from (although in some markets you can return a cup to any booth). Often there are small tables close by the vendor that you can huddle around with others and warm your hands on the cup as you warm your inside at the same time. I’ve found it really easy to start up a conversation with others in this situation: When you are freezing, talking about the weather is a good ice-breaker.
Working in one of these booths is really a lot of fun – almost as good as just visiting the event. Everyone is in such a good mood and having a great time.
However, on the third night, I’d had enough Glühwein, and just had to have some beer instead. Fortunately, Vonia had the perfect solution – she had purchased a 5 liter mini-keg of Schlenkerla
Rauchbier while she was in Bamberg. Smoked beer was the perfect beer for a cold snowy setting!
On Sunday, Vonia is off with her group to Rothenburg ob der Tauber with dinner planned at Schlenkerla – Stuffed Onion with Smoked Beer – fabelhaft!