A dark and stormy night
Well, it had been a pretty miserable day all round as far as the weather was concerned. So much so, that we felt we’d earned a fish and chip lunch, which we ate sitting in the car up on the common. I don’t know what it is, but haddock and chips never tastes better than when eaten in such circumstances!
A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a German language blog which mentioned Feuerzangenbowle, a seasonal tradition we’d come across whilst enjoying Christmas celebrations in Germany. On one such occasion, our friends gave us each an individual “Traumfeuer” set, so we could make it at home. For many years we did exactly that, but as is the way of these things, the mugs were packed away and we forgot about it - until that blog post sent me in search of it all!
It also prompted me to invite our sweet neighbours to join us for a little Gemütlichkeit on what turned out to be one of the darkest, wettest and windiest nights of the year, so I lit candles and turned down the lights in the hope of shutting out the horrible weather outside.
We’d all had dinner already, so could dive straight into the sweets
and the Feuerzangenbowle, of course! It proved to be the perfect antidote to a rainy December night and we were so glad to rediscover this old favourite that I think it might just become our new favourite again.
Here’s what we did - because we found we had only four of the special Traumfeuer mug sets and we were going to be a party of seven. But nothing but resourceful, we found a way!
Only the highest proof rum will burn, so my Hero went in search of the strong stuff. We poured an inch or so into a small cup for each of us and set out sugar cubes and citrus slices for everyone. I’d heated the gluhwein in the kitchen, filling each mug to about the two-thirds level.
Without the “real thing”, a little improvisation was needed, so short metal skewers provided the “bridge” on which to place the citrus slices and a small cup and teaspoon was perfect for the rum.
Having soaked the sugarcubes with an initial teaspoonful of rum, the flame from a nearby candle could be used to set fire to the next spoonful…and the next….always being aware of the occasional afterburn underneath, in the cup itself or indeed, the whole little cup of rum creating a total flareup! (But who says we don’t have fun, eh?)
Eventually - sadly - all rum is used and the sugarcubes reduced to a little smouldering heap of sweetness, ready to be dunked into the mulled wine underneath.
At this point, feel pleased you filled the mug to just two-thirds (or be prepared for an overflow!) and sit back and enjoy the warmth, not only of the mulled wine and rum-soaked citrus slices but of friendship and the spirit of the season.