I hope everyone had a wonderful December and Merry Christmas. Sorry to post this afterwards, but as you can imagine, things got pretty busy around here. Unfortunately, our laptop needed servicing, so I was unable to post for about two weeks time.
So what is Christmas like across the pond??? It’s absolutely magical or as the Irish might say, stunning (pronounced with a double o sound stooning). Europe is all about Christmas markets which are basically like a jubilee. There are ferris wheels, ice skating rinks, circuses, light shows, etc. Each market has many stalls that sell various homemade, artisan style foods…think gourmet cheeses, jams, mustards, sausages, and the like.
Here is a link to see a large Christmas market in Dublin http://www.christmaswonderland.ie/main-category/
We managed to have some delicious, homemade Spanish churros covered in real chocolate and are in the process of taking the kids ice skating next week.
The Christmas market has its origin in Germany, but lucky for us has spread over all of Europe with each city having its own take on the tradition. I plan on doing an Irish market as well as another European market each Christmas we are here. This year we were to go to Cork to see there fairy Christmas village, Great Gatsby themed light displays, and fabulous year round English Market. There are also a few beautiful cathedrals for us to visit/photograph as well as the famous Blarney Castle finished off by a kiss of the Blarney stone and a scenic drive around the coast of Cork county. Here the Irish say county Cork.
Unfortunately, the weather turned windy, rainy, and cold, so we were forced to cancel our Cork Christmas trip 😦 But not to worry we will go next year for Christmas! In the meantime, check out this link to see Glow-A Cork County Christmas http://corkchristmascelebration.ie/
Food is as much of a holiday staple here as it was back in the States, but as you can imagine it’s slightly different food. Enter Christmas pudding and fruit cake! Christmas pudding is not a pudding at all but rather a ball shaped cake
I found a nice site that summarizes some traditional Irish Christmas fare
The only thing I tried this year was mince pies, which I thought might have meat inside. Wrong! They have orange flavored fruit like raisins inside of a pastry like pie crust. I wasn’t their biggest fan, but then again I don’t exactly love pie :p
We decided on black bean soup for Christmas and that’s were we ran into some trouble. Black beans are virtually impossible to find here with our’s being from a gourmet store at 2.60 euro for a tiny bag, which means more like $4 for a tiny bag. I think next year I will plan on ordering some in advance (actually I will be ordering some now because this family loves black bean soup). The second obstacle was finding Andouille sausage ( I substitued some Irish sausage that was tasty, but not exactly right for the soup).
Our turkey turned out not so tasty and our ham was pretty salty. The cuts of meat here are interesting to say the least, and not quite what we are used to back home. As a result, we spend a good deal of time googling how to prepare said meats. It is our opinion that things here taste rather “gamey” but are mostly still good when prepared properly.
I absolutely love all the cheese selections here! We engorged ourselves on cheese and crackers and wine for the adults since our main entrees sort of sucked. Kids stuffed their faces on homemade cookies and other off limits snacks. All in all we had a very nice Christmas and look forward to celebrating next year with some better planning.
Merry Christmas everyone from Dublin,