It was the first day of the Monschauer Christmas market, so a friend and I headed down there for a day. Monschau is only an hour away, but it’s in the Eiffel forest region, so the weather is dramatically different. Our snow has been gone for days, but these fields are completely covered. The bit left in the valley just made the picturesque town just that much more beautiful.
Monschau is small so it doesn’t have the best Christmas market out there in terms of stuff to buy, but it is one of the more picturesque. It just feels good to walk down the narrow cobbled streets between crooked old half timbered houses that have been there for centuries. Each house is slightly different. Some almost look twisted leaning in not one, but two directions. Everyone has decorations out and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a whiff of fresh printen wafting out of a bakery window. Delicious!
One of the stands had a few traditional German wooden decorations, so I got a few little things for a Christmas party coming up and stopped in the year round Christmas store for a few small decorations. It’s hard to find things that are special here without paying a fortune though. So many things are either imported from other places (they love Dept 56 stuff) or made in China. Even many traditional German things are made in China now, so it’s hard to know what you’re getting. And if it says “Made in Germany,” then the price is quadrupled.
Monschau is good for food… I enjoyed tasting a venison sausage, some elderberry liqueur, several different licorice bonbons, a printen cookie, and several other liqueurs including hot plum and champagne truffle. All delicious. The air was a lot colder than I was prepared for, but a mug of hot chocolate with amaretto kept me warm while I shopped.
We ran into a bus load of Canadians from England who were on a Christmas market tour and a German man from Monschau with a near perfect British accent. Talked to a lot of people and did some people watching as well. My favorites were the two chefs with the brightly colored mini-aprons chatting and smoking in front of their booth and the lady with 60’s style glasses working at the roasted chestnut stand.
Though Monschau is beautiful during the Christmas season, it offers beauty, hiking, and culinary adventures all year with a huge senf (mustard) mill creating delicious variations on the loved condiment and another little shop that makes delicious cream (sahn) liqueurs.