If you not familiar with the European Christmas Market concept, it’s basically a really fun outdoor experience in which friends get together to sip hot mulled wine while they try to keep warm.
European Christmas Markets traditionally pop up in city squares around the beginning of December. They’re a great place to get local handcrafts as well as backed goods and meats from small businesses that set up shop in little huts.
The coolest handcrafts the Toronto Christmas Market were at Handcrafted Coinart by Cordo & Emily. They take antique coins and turn them into pendants for a necklaces by carving out the images in them so they’re free floating.
The highlight though, at least for me, is the mulled wine. It goes by many names in Europe. For the Austrians it’s Glühwein, the Scandinavians call is Glögg and the variations continue. The base of the drink though is all the same. Hot red wine simmered with various warm spices like cinnamon and some added sugar.
Recently markets in Europe have started experimenting with mixtures adding rum and other flavors but the mulled wine served at the Toronto Christmas Market is closer to the traditional recipe.
If you’re interested in making it yourself it’s a great touch at a Holiday party and there’s a really easy ‘cheat’ to making it. Most people in Europe buy “mulled wine teabags” full of all the right spice that you drop into a pot of simmering red wine on the stove top. Luckily, you can pick up these teabags at the Reithers Fine Food International booth. For a liter of wine you just need to use two bags and you should use a red wine you would actually drink on its own (don’t go too cheap). Once the teabags have steeped for about 15 minutes, add sugar to taste. One cup should be plenty. Too much sugar and you’ll feel it in the morning.
Make sure you checke this Christmas Market out, it’s all over on the 18th December and makes a great change of pace!