A winter escapade

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One of the things I miss about Europe at this time of the year are the Christmas Markets, so I was thrilled to find out that this tradition is spreading to our side of the ocean. For the past couple of years, in the Montreal area, there are 3 Christmas Markets taking place, and we visited one yesterday.
The temperature was perfect, just below zero, not too cold. The market we drove to is called “The Marché de Noël et des Traditions de Longueuil”, and only a 30 minute ride away. It’s a collection of about 40 wooden cabins, set up in a square. Local vendors sell everything from hand-made items like decorations, paintings, wood-toys, artisan pieces, knits, to food like cheeses, jams, breads, chocolates, chocolate covered cranberries and even ice-wine.

Two of the stalls sold hand-knit things like sweaters, mitts, scarves and hats, really warm and cozy looking items out f alpaca wool, which is great for our cold Canadian winters. If only I had the time…..I would love to have a little hut like that for my own creations. So many ideas… little time!
We walked around, warmed up with some mulled wine. Tasty stuff! I wrote down the recipe for anyone who is interested, I know I’ll try and make some:
Spiced Wine
4 liters of red wine
1 cup brown sugar
1 lemon and 3 oranges cut into thin slices
The peel and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 star anise
1 pinch nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups water
Mix all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let infuse for an hour.
Serve warm

Santa was there to talk to the kids and gather their letters to him, and A., even though reluctant at first, immediately warmed up to him once the was “bribed” with chocolate and candy-cane. A little train took all the kids for a ride around the market, and it was a hit!
There were a couple of fire-pits with bales of hay arranged around them, where you could sit and relax. It was a really cozy atmosphere and I hope that the market stays popular, because it is a charming tradition to uphold.

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