As you read this, I’m en route to Nérac to spend the holidays in France with Neil and my mum. One of the things I love about Christmas in Europe is the, well, Christmas-y feel of things. Even though it’s rare that you get a white Christmas in most parts of France, it just somehow feels much more like the holidays than it does at home.
Last Christmas one of my favourite memories from our time in Nérac was our local Christmas “market” (and I use the term loosely there!) where the town hall offered free vin chaud to everyone on the Sunday before Christmas. It was literally a few tables set up outside the Mairie with a mish mash of pots and saucepans filled with vin chaud made from someone’s grandma’s recipe. We sipped this out of plastic cups as we wandered around the little local square listening to Christmas music and checking out a handful of little stalls selling “Christmas wares”. It was quite delightful.
Mulled wine is something we serve at our own annual holiday party in Toronto (and now, in Nérac, where we host neighbours and friends) and generally it’s a case of Neil and I making it up as we go along 😉 This year, however, I wanted to make sure we had a record of what we did so I wrote everything down as we went. I used Jamie Oliver’s method of making a syrup with a little of the wine, the sugar and some of the fruits, juices and spices before adding the rest of the wine and other alcohols. What resulted was the best mulled wine we’ve made in over 14 years of hosting holiday parties! Not too sweet, not too alcoholic. And even the leftovers were amazing the next day gently reheated!
What about you? What’s your favourite holiday tipple?
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