Each Christmas, I take home a selection of seasonal pastries and crafts from the local markets. My mother’s side of the family is German, my father’s is British, so I end up making stops on both sides of the Channel for traditional fare.
The Aachen Christmas Market, just across the border from Maastricht, is a good one. It surrounds the church and city hall in the center of town, filled with booths selling ornaments, carvings, pastries, and, well, frites.
I visit to pick up a fruit breakfast bread with powdered suger, stollen, that my grandfather used to serve. They weigh between one and two kilos (that’s nearly five pounds for a US-football-sized one), and are delightful, even if they challenge the Ryanair weight limits.
I’m also charmed by the lebkuchen, sort of a soft, lightly frosted spiced gingerbread cookie, a nice gift for friends.
But my bookkeeper and business partners get handmade chocolates: I have a bit of a holiday hierarchy going on here, I confess.
A raging snowstorm moved in on the Market as I was shopping, blurring the cathedral spires and frosting the food pavilions. I looked like a snowman in minutes, drifts on each shoulder and a soft white mound on my normally birch-bark blond hair.
I didn’t really notice though: since I was trying to get a picture of the best creepy-Santa so far this year, along with several of his helpers…