Our Annual Holiday Party Menu
Every year, we throw a cozy Feuerzangebowle at our home. My husband's family is from Germany, and this German holiday party is centered around a bowl of mulled wine. A Feuerzangenbowle (pronounced "Foy-err-song-en-bowl-eh," German for "tongs of fire punch") is a traditional fruity and mulled wine finished with flaming rum. A Zuckerhut (sugar cone) is doused in Barcardi 151, and then set ablaze. The carmelized goodness then drips into the heady and seasonal brew. The lighting of the punch serves as a particularly festive kickoff to a cozy little holiday gathering. It's liquid Gemuetlichkeit (cozy kitsch).
In addition to the mulled wine, we also put out a pretty massive spread of food. There's a lot of German and Scandinavian foods: fresh baked rye bread, cold cuts, pungent cheeses, stollen, quark, and gravlax, among other selections. Every year my husband makes the gravlax at least a week in advance, letting it cure in the fridge in its mixture of dill, brown sugar, and salt.
This year I also made quark, and it was so easy I want to make it every week! It's actually good for you — the only ingredient, besides some sea salt (you can also add fresh herbs) is 1% milkfat buttermilk. To make it, you put the buttermilk in a covered pyrex bowl in a 150 degree oven for 9 hours. Then, pull it out, line a colander with cheesecloth, and let the cheese drain its whey into a bowl beneath the colander. Refrigerate, salt, and eat. Yum!