Growing up in Australia there was always something quite romantic about a northern hemisphere Christmas as it was shown on TV and depicted on the Christmas cards we received.
The landscape covered in snow, making snowmen, sitting by a log fire – it all seemed simply magical.
In an attempt to experience a white Christmas my best friend and I decided, a few years back, to spend it in Denmark. It’s in the northern hemisphere, close to those countries where in the winter the sun barely comes up, I mean it’s pretty close to the north pole isn’t it?! In hindsight we probably should have done a little more research. As it turns out it rarely snows in Copenhagen over Christmas! It was wet and cold.
Not to be deterred, we headed further north to Oslo and found that beautiful picture from the Christmas cards. Time for me to build snowmen, do a bit of sledding and have a snowball fight. Functioning in snow is another matter. After arriving by train and heading out of the train station with backpacks on, I hit the pavement and next thing was flat on my back like a turtle. I actually couldn’t understand what had happened. A kind local helping me back onto my feet advised that it was ice. I never did get the hang of walking on it.
Snow, I also discovered is cold and wet. Making soft and fluffy making snowmen is really hard work and they never turn out like the ones in the movies and snowballs can hurt! A white Christmas was not everything I had dreamed and I discovered that I am far more suited to the sunshine.
All was not lost – I was introduced to a winter warmer by some friends in Norway – Mulled Wine or Gløgg as the Norweigans call it (pronounced glurgg) and traditionally drunk at Christmas. Historically, this was made from off red wine. Waste not want not! Our climate does not really lend itself to Gløgg on Christmas day so I have found a nice little twist to this lovely spicy homely gem – Mulled Wine Syrup. It can be served with poached pears, if you are a little time short like me even some canned fruit with ice cream or simply drizzle over vanilla ice cream.
Merry Christmas to all our fabulous ladies, and wishing you and your families a safe and Happy New Year.
Mulled Wine Syrup
- 1 bottle (750ml) red wine – no need to use an expensive bottle
- 1 – 1 ½ cups sugar, to taste
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Place ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes or until liquid is syrupy. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Note: Feel free to use different spices depending your tastes – orange peel, nutmeg or star anise to name a few. If you are channeling your inner Martha Stewart, considering giving these as gifts!