It only takes a few days in Germany for the ‘blogging bug’ to bite. Shortly after arriving in Deutschland, I could already smell mulled wine and gingerbread floating about the brisk December air.
I had no choice but to visit a Christmas market, or Weinachtsmarkt, to satisfy my cravings. The picturesque town of Rüdesheim, perfectly nestled among vineyards along the Rhine River, surpassed my expectations.
Although a bit smaller than Christmas markets in larger cities (like Mannheim), Rüdesheim’s Weinachtsmarkt boasts a rustic charm unmatched by its cosmopolitan neighbors.
Kiosks lining the cobblestone streets and traditional German homes sold staples like bratwurst mit brötchen (sausage in a bun), kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) and the ever-addictive glühwein (mulled wine).
Of course, glühwein reigns as my favorite ‘attraction’ at Christmas markets. Where else can you pour a hint of brandy, rum or amaretto into your cup of cheer? In case you enjoy a cup too much of the fragrant burgundy beverage, you’ll at least have a mug to help you remember the occasion.
In addition to selling food, kiosks sell a variety of items that make perfect gifts – such as wooden toys, handmade jewelry and the finest furs. What’s better than shopping for everyone on your list with glühwein at your side?
Better yet, Rüdesheim is famous for its brandy. Asbach has been produced in the town since 1892, making it the spirit of choice among locals and tourists alike. I can’t count how many times I saw bottles of Asbach in store windows, or customers enjoying the indulgent Asbach Coffee (brandy, sugar cubes dissolved with fire, and coffee topped with whipped cream) in delicate ivory and pink porcelain cups.
Next time you’re in southwestern Germany, make sure to include Rüdesheim in your itinerary. It’s particularly popular in the summertime, when the Rhine River radiates with a lovely shimmer along rows and rows of verdant vineyards.
‘Til next time,