I’m dreaming of a white Christmas again, that’s true. It’s been a full 11 years since I experienced snow for the first time in Europe — specifically at the Vaalserberg, also known as the Dreiländereck (or Three-Country Border) shared by Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Now I can only dream about going back there. Good thing, the people over at the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines organized an event that brings Europe closer to Manila. For an entire week, the Ice Skating Rink at the SM Mall of Asia is transformed into a Christkindlmarket, imitating the street markets of European cities during the 4 weeks of Advent. The Germanophile in me wanted to be there on opening day — December 3.
Entrance fee to the event costs P200, but that’s fine because they really made the place reminiscent of a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market), as I used to call it. The stalls made me nostalgic about the tiny “villages” in Germany that sold traditional Christmas food items, drinks and other souvenirs in the midst of the winter.
A small portion of the Ice Skating Rink is retained for those who want to ice-skate against the backdrop of a Christmas market. Pretty cool.
Exhibitors include homegrown enterprises, multinational companies, importers and service providers. And of course, what’s a Christmas market without Glühwein? A typical, seasonal drink during the winter months, Glühwein is basically a Christmas beverage made with red wine and a variety of spices, served steaming hot. I’ve tried it before and, because I never drink alcoholic beverages, I didn’t like it one bit. But lots of people like it, and I guess it’s really all about tradition.
What I really looked forward to was getting my German sausage fix. Wurst (pronounced as voorst) or sausage is a huge part of German cuisine, so a visit to this European market won’t be complete without gobbling up this German specialty.
I wanted to eat Currywurst, but the vendor was not able to prepare the curry sauce for it so I just settled for good old wurst on bread, topped with ketchup, mustard and the quintessential sauerkraut. Oh, yum. It’s fascinating how one bite can conjure up wonderful memories of my stay in Deutschland. Just like that, I felt as though I was in the middle of the busy town square, enjoying my sausage despite the biting cold.
If you feel like getting a taste of European Christmas, you might want to visit the Christkindlmarket from December 3 to 9, 2012 at the SM Mall of Asia. Aside from a little shopping and dining, you may also enjoy the scheduled cooking demonstrations, interactive story-telling sessions, laser light shows, puppet theater, choral competitions and even a ballet show. For more information, visit http://www.christkindlmarket.com.ph/.
Have a very merry Christmas!