There’s an awful lot of honey (Honig) to be found at German Christmas markets, and not just as an ingredient in baked Advent treats. Amongst stands offering Glühwein, grilled sausages and little wooden (or tacky plastic) souvenirs, you’ll often find a wooden hut selling products made by our good friends the bees. These usually include not just candles and standard pots of honey but Christmas decorations, beauty products and all manner of flavoured honeys, too.
At smaller markets, such products will often have been made by local beekeepers; at the larger ones, they’re pretty much guaranteed to have come from outside Germany, so be sure to check the labels if you’re keen to carry home something very German.
H is also for…
Honigwein: more commonly known as Met, “honey wine” is a popular choice at medieval Christmas markets in Germany, where it’s sold in appropriately medieval-looking bottles. Mixed with cherry juice, honey wine is known as Viking’s Blood (Wikingerblut).
Heisser Apfelwein / Heißer Äppler: traditional to the Frankfurt area, though now available in homes and Christmas markets further afield, mulled cider is made with tart, flat cider usually heated through with cinnamon, cloves, lemon and sugar.
Heiligabend / Heiliger Abend: Christmas Eve on 24 December is when tree-decorating and present-exchanging generally takes places here. Every family seems to have their own traditional Christmas Eve meal, but dinner is often light, to account for the fact that many people – historically Catholics – will later in the evening attend midnight mass.