Christkindlesmarkt

If I haven’t mentioned this before, let me admit that my memory is mottled and patchy at best. As a creative type, I am very comfortable filling in with fiction what I can’t remember from reality. So, please, if you are a family member or someone in the know and would like to correct any fictions below, don’t hesitate.

In 1977, my family moved to Fürth, Germany, which is contiguous with Nürnberg. We lived there for three years while my Dad was stationed at the Nürnberg Army Hospital. At Christmas, we would visit the heart of old Nürnberg…

nuremberg-city

There, in the Hauptmarkt (the central square) we would experience the magic of Christkindlesmarkt. I say magic knowing full and well that if I were to go back and see it with adult eyes, it might not shine as brightly. It is magic in my memories and that is all that matters.

nuremberg-square

Christkindlesmarkt is a world-famous Christmas market. And instead of quoting Wikipedia to tell you about it, I have spared no expense to produce this professional quality educational video with a kickin’ accordion soundtrack:

Okay, so I didn’t make the video. Cut me some slack – I’m trying to tell a story here. I have very specific memories of several items that were sold there. And give the Germans credit for adhering to tradition… those same items are still being sold today, 36 years later. Classic Bavarian nutcrackers, gold-foil angels, and Zwetschgenmännle – funny little figurines made of prunes and walnuts…

nuremberg-nutcrackers

nuremberg-angels

nuremberg-prune-people

As powerful as those memories sit in my mind, there are other equally powerful memories that lie dormant in my mouth. That sentence really didn’t work, did it. In fact, it sounds kind of icky. Which is the opposite of what follows. The first delight is the one that sent me online to find a local German baked goods importer…

nuremberg-lebkuchen

Lebkuchen is a traditional spiced gingerbread. Nürnberg has been famous for its lebkuchen since at least 1395. Again, allow me to share with you a video specially directed and translated for this blog post. Really.

Okay. I lied again. I’m a typical unreliable narrator. But did you hear all of the stuff they put into lebkuchen? Oh my god. You don’t have to be a food addict to start salivating over the ingredients. If you’re in a rush, zip to the 3:00 minute mark. I also remember these big old things…

nuremberg-hearts

Lastly, for fans of mulled or spiced wine, book a flight right now to Germany, because you are currently not tasting Glühwein. But wait, there’s more. When mulled wine just isn’t good enough, switch things up with a feuerzangenbowle. My folks used to have a feuerzangenbowle set replete with a supply of sugar cones. They would make it at Christmas and Erik and I would get sips. Here’s a picture of a sugar cone afire with burning rum, melting into the bowl of mulled wine… (the video at bottom will instruct my German speaking readers in how to prepare Glühwein with a feuerzangenbowle)

nuremberg-firebowl

Thanks for strolling with me folks. Oh, and before we part… I believe it was in Germany that my Mom learned her recipe for stollen. I wrote a post about that here.

Merry Christmas, y’all.