O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!

A cluster of fairy-lit wooden huts in town can only mean one thing: the German Christmas Market is here! They are fast becoming the festive centre piece of town squares across the country and if you are lucky enough to have one near you, a visit is a must.

The first ever Weihnachtsmarkt was held in Germanyin the late Middle Ages and is now a tradition that graces the streets during the Advent period in countries all overEurope. Part of the charm of the market is the alluring glow of the lights and the delicious scent of German festive treats. I’ve visited Christmas markets in Prague and Germany and always remember fondly wandering round the stalls with friends, rosy-cheeked and a cup of Glühwein (mulled wine)  warming my hand. If I got peckish, I would buy a paper bag of freshly cooked Gebrannte Mandeln (toasted almonds) and nibble on those whilst listening to the carol singing and wondering how many pieces of Stollen I could buy and fit into my handbag. I find that many Christmas markets are excellent opportunities for Christmas shopping too, as traditional woodwork, tree decorations and ornaments are in abundance.

However, if you don’t happen to have a Christmas market coming to you, why not create the magic at home with this fantastic Lebkuchen recipe from browneyedbaker.com? Essentially, it is very similar to gingerbread. You can shape the dough into a heart, and like the traditional Lebkuchenherzen, thread some string through the cookie and customise with an iced message for the lucky receiver! Some very original messages could include ‘Ich liebe Dich’ (“I love you”), Du bist mein sußes Herzchen  (“You’re my sweetheart”) or Fröhliche Weichnachten! (Merry Christmas!). Happy baking!

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