Here in the United States, it’s usually accepted in most circles (except in the retail world) to wait for everything Christmas until after Thanksgiving, at the end of November.
Christmas in Europe, however, doesn’t have this rule. In addition, in case you haven’t heard, Christmas in Europe is completely magical. The only thing missing tends to be snow, depending on where you are (my hometown in Montana definitely wins on the snow front!). But, Europe has Christmas markets so…maybe it still wins ;).
I’ve been lucky enough to spend several Christmases in Europe, and very spoiled to visit quite a few markets over those years. Here are a few of my favorites!
I had to give a shout out to my former home, of course! There are markets all over the city, some catered more to tourists, and some catered more to locals.
Cologne, and Germany in general, might be the king of Christmas markets. There are no less than seven markets scattered throughout the city, each with a different theme. My favorite was the gnome-themed market, but the one by the famous Cologne Cathedral is a must-see, too!
Bruges is wonderful any time of year, but Christmas is especially wonderful! The market there is tiny, but the whole city really feels like a Christmas market.
I couldn’t make this list without including Prague, of course! Prague is even more fairy tale-esque at Christmas, if you can imagine. There are a few Christmas markets scattered across the city, but my favorite is the one in Old Town Square, because you just can’t beat that ambiance!
We met our friends last year in Frankfurt and I didn’t have very high hopes for some reason–but the Christmas market we went to there, in the old square, was delightful!
Nuremberg might be one of Germany’s most famous, and while it isn’t my favorite, the city is pretty much taken over by Christmas and it’s so fun to visit!
Brussels also has quite a few markets scattered over the city, but really the best part is the light show in the Grand-Place, if you ask me! And watching with a waffle in hand…even better.
This week was also the final week of the Bake Along Bake Off with Amanda! I used this chance to….make more bread. Surprise! I didn’t have a really good bread bake this year, although this week was okay, and the signature challenge for the final week was three different types of rolls.
I’m going to play the pregnancy card (again) and let you know that I only made one type of roll. I mean, I’m nine months pregnant here!
The rolls I did make, though, using this recipe, Braided Brioche Rolls, were amazing!
And absolutely, totally informal, as Mary Berry would say.
I think it was cold in our house because they didn’t rise very much–until they exploded in the oven that is!
One (out of six…) of the rolls turned out fairly neatly, and became the star of the show. Still, the rest were equally delicious!
I can’t believe it’s my last bake for this year! And that this is my second year in a row participating. Some of my best bakes over the past two years: these cream puffs, this pizza, these tiny chocolate cakes, my first spun sugar, this amazing bread, and my pumpkin cake!
The best thing about the baking challenge is getting back in the kitchen–baking is so relaxing and creative. Also, it’s been my major form of nesting–our freezer is stuffed with baked goods for after baby ;).
Here’s to more baking the rest of this year, and next year!