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Food & Drink ADVENT-ure: Christmas Market Ideas to try at home

Europe is famous for their Christmas Markets – cities large and small celebrate the season with lights, trees, decorations, rides, traditional handicraft booths, and of course, food!



While a last-minute trip would be the ideal way to celebrate, that isn’t always possible. So, what is the next best thing? A Christmas Market-inspired dinner party at home! Put up the tree and invite your friends, family, and neighbors over for a holiday open house and serve up some goodies from the famous markets around the continent.



Here are some buffet menu ideas to get you started:

  • Throw some Bratwürst on the grill and serve it with some mustard and/or sauerkraut on a pretzel roll for a taste of Germany.

  • Feeling more Czech? Klobása with some hearty bread will do the trick.



  • Wood plank grilled salmon lightly sprinkled with salt, pepper, and lemon is a favorite in Finland, France, and Switzerland.

  • No matter where you visit, Potato Fritters are on the menu. While the exact recipe varies from locale to locale, fried potatoes served on small plates with apple sauce or garlic sauce are always a hit.



  • Flammkuchen, a favorite in France, is a thin flatbread smothered in tasty toppings, from the classic crème fraiche, onions, and bacon to bolder options like figs, walnuts, and even chickpeas.

  • Crepes can be either sweet or savory, but either way they will bring the taste of France to your party table.

  • Bring on the cheese! Originally found in Switzerland, but now pretty much everywhere, is Raclette - a delicious cheese that is melted over potatoes and eaten with a toothpick. Or you could serve Smažený sýr – a Czech version of grilled cheese where the cheese is melted until gooey and scaped onto a hearty white bread.



  • If noodles are more your thing, a good Schupfnudeln (noodles made with sauerkraut and pork) or Käsespätzle (bite-sized egg noodles covered in Emmentaler cheese and fried onions as a topping) are both great side dishes.



  • Can’t forget the desserts – gingerbread, apple or jam-filled doughnuts, sugared almonds, Linzeraugen (jam filled cookies), Chimney Cake, Marzipan, Christstollen (German fruit bread), and Schaumkuss (chocolate covered marshmallows with a light biscuit base) are all great ideas.

  • And to wash it all down – mulled wine of course!



Speaking of wine, here is a simple Glühwein recipe your guests will love, courtesy of AllRecipes:


Ingredients

  • ¾ cup water

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick

  • 2 medium oranges, divided

  • 10 whole cloves

  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine, such as Chianti or cabernet sauvignon.


Directions

  1. Combine water, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

  2. Cut one orange in half; squeeze orange halves over the sugar mixture to release their juice. Push 5 cloves into the outside of each orange peel and place peels into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer over the lowest heat until thick and syrupy, 20 to 30 minutes.

  3. While the mixture is simmering, slice remaining orange and set aside for serving.

  4. When the mixture is finished simmering, stir in wine and heat until steaming but not simmering, 3 to 5 minutes. Discard orange peels and cinnamon stick.

  5. Ladle into stoneware mugs and garnish with orange slices.



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