Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #12 – Christmas is coming

header image

Our apartment is filled with the delicious smells of roasting turkey, herb stuffing and pumpkin cheesecake, prepared while snowflakes flutter gently down outside the window. In between cooking we sip jasmine tea and eat mandarin oranges. Our friend is visiting so that we can prepare some food together for a Thanksgiving-inspired potluck we’ve been invited to for dinner. Winter has (unofficially) reached Berlin, but that doesn’t mean there are no small pleasures!

I haven’t written anything for Weekly Small Pleasures for a while, but here’s the moments I enjoyed this week:

Our relaxing Saturday cooking for the potluck. A potluck is a party where everyone brings one dish and you enjoy them all together. Although winter only begins officially around the 21st December, winter-style weather has reached Berlin and once the leaves are all gone and it gets dark so early, I consider it winter! These are the perfect days to spend inside a cosy apartment cooking and spending time with friends. The potluck itself was great fun and we had a feast of turkey, goose, pumpkin soup, herb stuffing, vegetables and dip, salad, macaroni cheese, chocolate brownies, pumpkin pie, gluhwein and more.


Basting the turkey now and then


Preparing herb stuffing


The finished turkey


A feast at the potluck dinner


Christmas markets and Christmas decorations have come to Berlin. Today was the first advent, i.e. the first of the four Sundays before Christmas. During the last week, Christmas trees decorated with twinkling lights have started popping up all over Berlin, and the Christmas markets have opened. We visited the Kulturbrauerei market on Friday evening just to walk around, soak up the atmosphere, and look at the stalls with their different foods, Christmas drinks, decorations and gifts. The specialty of the Kulturbrauerei Christmas market is that they have Christmas drinks from Nordic countries such as Sweden, Iceland, Finland and  Norway (amongst other things). So instead of the usual gluhwein we tried an Icelandic drink called “jólaglögg”,  just means “Christmas drink”. The one we tried was a kind of gluhbier”, made from hot beer, rum and spices. It was interesting to try it although I still prefer the wine version.


Kulturbrauerei Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market)


Christmas trees for sale


Kollwitzplatz christmas market

IMG_20151127_204142 IMG_20151129_162853

A quieter working week. The last few weeks were extremely busy at work, so it was good to have a more relaxed pace this week.

Nice surprises from a colleague. I have an officemate from China who has only three weeks left in Berlin. He has a sunny, friendly personality and we will definitely all miss him when he’s gone. In anticipation of his leaving, he gave me and other officemates some lovely gifts from China, which was a complete surprise. I must find some nice Berlin souvenir for him before he leaves!


Wonderfully fragrant jasmine tea from China

Let’s see what surprises the next week brings!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

9 thoughts on “Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #12 – Christmas is coming

  1. We had planned to got to the Christmas markets in Germany this year, but other things have changed our plans, unfortunately. We hadn’t decided on whether we would tour round a few of them or just go to Cologne. Next year, we’ll definitely do one or the other. We have a German-styled one in Lincoln, near to where Iwe live. Unlike most German markets, it’s just on for one weekend – always the first weekend in December. So next weekend, that’s where we’ll be going.
    More great photos, NN. Your turkey meal looks delicious. I didn’t know you celebrated Thanksgiving in Germany, so that was interesting to know. 🙂

    • nn says:

      That’s great, hope you make it next year! I hear the one in Nuremberg is really good too, and Dresden. I hope you enjoy the one in Lincoln next week, will look out for some pics on that! In Germany they don’t actually celebrate Thanksgiving, but a New Zealand friend of ours hosted a party (he invited some American friends and others from various countries).

    • Dieter Mahncke says:

      Actually, Thanksgiving is celebrated in Germany although not as extensively as in the US and it is not an official holiday. It is mainly a church event when the church is decorated with grain, vegetables and fruit. It is also more important in agricultural areas. Called Erntedankfest it was on 4 October this year.

      • nn says:

        I wonder if the US tradition came from Europe in some form as it seems like it’s quite an old tradition then. I did see pumpkins, fruits and other harvest items displayed outside houses in Brandenburg when we were there in October, maybe that’s why 🙂

  2. Such a fun post! That potluck dinner looked delicious. And I have read so much about German Christmas Markets and I’ve always wanted to visit one…but in the meantime, I enjoyed seeing your photos and hearing about your experiences!

    • nn says:

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, we really enjoyed the food and also the cooking. I love Christmas markets and hope to check out some new ones this year 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *