Merry Christmas

Year after year I look forward to Christmas for months. Sometimes I get teary eyed thinking about it when I’m alone in my car… in September. I’m not kidding – I don’t even know why Christmas has become such an emotional holiday for me in the past couple of years.

Anyways, this december has been quite stressful for me. Filled with university work, my new job, discovering and learning new things about myself and trying to become the kind of person I want to be. It’s been a struggle but also rewarding and beautiful.

For everyone else who’s having a hard time this holiday season, know that you are not alone. I hope you find peace and quiet moments with the people you love and if you ever need to get something off your chest then feel free to write me a message me wherever, whenever.

Christmas is celebrated on the eve of the 24th in Austria and while I wait for my family to come over to stuff ourselves with Raclette and chocolate fondue, let me quickly share the recipe for the aperitif I’m going to serve in a little while.

 

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sparkler

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Ingredients:

1 cup of pomegranate juice
1 cup of cranberry juice (unsweetened if you can)
juice of one big mandarin (or orange)
about 5 tablespoons of mandarin simple sirup

For the mandarin simple sirup:
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
the zest of 1 big mandarin (without the bitter white stuff, so really only super thin layers of the peel!)

How to make the simple sirup:
In a sauce pan put together the sugar, water and mandarin zest. Heat up until it’s boiling and the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely.

How to assemble the drink:
Combine the juices and 5 (or more, depending on how sweet you want the mix to be!) tablespoons of the sirup.
Pour into champagne flutes and top of with champagne.

You can chill the juice mix for hours until you’re ready to serve the drink. For the champagne to not mix with the juice I’d recommend pouring the champagne over the back of a teaspoon that’s pressed to the inside of the champagne flute.
As decoration I’ve used rosemary sticks with fresh cranberries.

Recipe adapted from here.

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Jungweinstrassln

– The yearly wine fest.

The part of Austria where I live is pretty known for its “Heurigen“. I used to explain a Heuriger as a kind of Austrian-style pub, only with wine. Wikipedia says it’s more like a wine tavern though. I think that explanation works well too.
In any case, Heurigen are lovely. It’s a great place to meet friends, have a relaxing night out, eat some yummy, austrian food and drink local wine.
Perchtoldsdorf, a town near to where I live has an event called “Jungweinstrassln” every spring. There, the owners of the local wineries (which are also the owners of the Heurigen) are introducing you this years wine.

In the past years it was held like this: you pay a small fee, then you get a bracelet with which you are free to go to every Heurigen that’s participating and try as many types of their wine as you want. It was always a lot of fun. We’d stroll around the cute little town, drop into a tavern, drink something, eat something – go on to the next Heurigen and so on.

This year however, they changed the procedure and now you could only try one wine per tavern, even though they’d offer you up to five different types of wine.
I was with a group of friends last night and in the end we decided against buying that fee. Instead we just went to one, sat down, bought a bottle of wine (then another and another) some food and had a nice evening.
We went on to a second tavern as well, but the character of the event wasn’t quite the same. However, the way it was organised this year was a bit too stressful for us. I really hope they change the system again next year.

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