Thursday, February 13, 2014

Eating My Way Through A German Christmas

People always talk about traveling to Europe in the summer and I wouldn't have it otherwise. Leave the sweaty awful Mumbai heat and get away to lush mountainous next to perfect weather Europe with green meadows and lakes. The winter on the other hand is brutal and cold and bleak. And such is the weather my younger sister chose to tie the knot with her husband in his hometown Dresden. Of course the very bright side of it all was that we would spend our Christmas with the German family and do as the Germans do. So presenting - Eating my way through a German Christmas.

1. The Christmas Market
The most fun way to keep warm is to get a glass of hot piping Gluhwein at the massive Christmas market held in the main town square. Stick close to the crowd and slowly browse beautiful wooden toys, jewelery, and brightly lit stars. Follow your nose to a bratwurst stand and enjoy a hot freshly grilled brat on freshly baked loaf of bread with the spiciest mustard on top. Our bratwurst on freshly baked roll was no less than 1/2 a meter long. We had some Kreppelchen- sweet dough deep fried, hot out of the frier and straight into the cutest patterned paper cone and Heurekraner- freshly baked bread with bits of bacon, cheese, sour cream and spring onion. Oh and not to forget some German Shish kababs. Can Christmas get any better. The markets open late November and last till 23rd December.

Hot gluhwein, cool paper for hot keppelchens
The German Sheekh
Beautiful dolls- perfect gifts
1/2 meter long bratwurst
Heurekraner- Freshly baked bread with bits of bacon, sour cream and cheese

2. The Thuringer Rostbratwurst
This sausage is one of the most unique sausages that originates from the state of Thuringia. It is very finely minced beef or pork or veal spiced with salt, pepper, caraway seeds and garlic. More than 50% of the ingredients need to come from Thuringia. It was hot, straight off the grill and served with spicy mustard. Cannot complain- a quick, cheap lunch as we walked around.

An outstanding Thuringer rost bratwurst
3. Fruhstuck- The most important meal of the day
I was very glad to learn this word. And boy did I make sure that I woke up bright and early not to miss this spread. Christian's mom made sure she had a spread many hotels around the world would envy. Fresh breads from the baker, pumpkin seed buns, poppy seed buns, sesame seed buns, crusty buns, freshly cut cold cuts, salamis, freshly minced beef and pork to be had raw, cheeses from the neighbouring farms, blue cheese, cheese with pineapple, cheese with walnuts, , yogurts, fruits, spreads, jams, mustards,  juices, coffee, teas. Sigh! Nothing short of spectacular.

Fruhstuck with the family

4. Traditional German meal no. 1
Christmas time is the perfect time to try some of the traditional meals.
We went out to two lovely German restaurants and had very interesting food. The first was on top of the hill called Luisenhof. They are known for their Christmas brunch buffet and the view over the River Elbe. This is a great way to try out many traditional foods. I particularly enjoyed my deer with gravy also known as Rehruken- also known as 'deer- back-roast', potato dumplings, red cabbage sauerkraut. Of the buffet had an array of cold cuts, salads, egg preparations, juices, and not to mention all the desserts.

breads, meat wrapped in bacon, salads and chocolate covered cake
My plate of deer and gravy- bottom right
More dolls and doughnuts

Family portrait- From L to R
Uncle Thias, Ise, dad, mom, Tommy, Gine, Janu, me
Aunty Inge, Rossi, Christian, Ella with Tapanooka
Gorgeous view of Dresden

5. The traditional German meal no. 2
The next day we went for another wonderful meal with Christian's grandparents to one of the most traditional restaurants in Dresden called the Gasthof Weisig. This meal is a family tradition that Opidad and Omidi (grandparents) invite the family to the day after Christmas. We were honored to be invited this year.
I ordered the ganse after a salad of duck carpaccio. The duck was thinly sliced perfectly soft that melted in your mouth with dabs of balsamic vinegar. The leg of ganse or goose was the most delicious bird I have eaten. The skin was crisp and all the fat was drained and the flesh was delightful. This was served with buttery potato dumplings which is basically boiled potatoes, dipped in corn starch and garlic and fried. Sweet and sour red cabbage sauerkraut. Of course I washed this down with a glass of cider + white wine cooked with spices and a glass of cold crisp Paulaner beer.
A Russian salad, and a perfectly crisp beer
duck carpaccio, pork steak, and my favourite- roasted leg of goose
All gone- yes it was that good. 

6. Gebratener Apfel mit Vanillasosse- Baked Apple with Vanilla Sauce
This dessert needs a special mention of its own. Its an entire apple backed with core filled with vanilla sauce and seated on a plate of vanilla sauce. The core sauce thickens and seeps in the apple center while as the sauce on the plate is a perfect consistency to enjoy the baked apple with. Yes, this I had after the ganse.

Baked apple with vanilla sauce

More family portraits. From L- R
Alex, Christian, Opidad, mom, Omidi, dad, Janu, Stefan, Ise
Ella, me, Robbie, Caroline
6. Gluhwein
The saving grace of walking around in cold cold German winter weather. Hold a cup of hot Gluhwein. Forget coffee just drink up this amazing red wine cooked with sugar and spices such as cinnamon, anise, cloves, ginger, honey and oranges. YUM! Keeps you very happy and warm inside.

7. German Beer
Last but not the least German beer. So what if it was below freezing - even better. Keep the beer in the yard and not your fridge. And though the biergaartens were shut, it was only a reminder of why we must visit Germany in warmer weather.  Despite the cold we had a beer almost everyday. Here are Christian's favourite five that we tried

The tantalizing beer shelf
An unfiltered kind- Zwickelbier

Some gorgeous views of the city of Dresden. A remarkable city, bombed twice and risen again. A city that demonstrates so much resilience and yet is so soft spoken, gentle and gracious. It welcomed us with a big heart and made sure we felt more than at home.
The view of Altstadt across the Elbe. The city was bombed twice and rebuilt
With our guide and Christian's father- Stefan

The history of Saxony kings wall - a timeline of portraits made of porcelain tiles
Beautiful Dresden
L to R Mom, Anjum, me, dad
In front of the castle
The Zwinger Palace - in my opinion a must see. There is a 12' Raphael in there!

The world famous Semperoper- Opidad was a conductor there so was Wagner
Beautiful town square at dusk
The gorgeous bride and groom. Congrats Janu & Christian

The piece of music that goes so well with this post is a modern version of German Baroque composer Johann Pechelbel. The very popular Canon in D Major. Mr. Fox once said to me this is what love sounds to him.


  1. Omg such an awesome post. Love the song as backdrop to scrolling through the entire thing. What a fantastic time, I want to go back!

  2. gr8 post! I wish to marry a German too!

  3. I Love Dresden ;-)

  4. Great Blog, great Pictures....great Woman ;-)