One of my favourite Christmas memories as a child is going to the Christingle Service at our local church on Christmas Eve. Making Christingles was a big part of the run up to Christmas, mainly because it involved dolly mixtures! A Christingle is a Christmas decoration made by sticking lots of sweeties on cocktail sticks and then placing those sticks in large oranges along with a small candle and lots of tinsel or other festive coloured ribbons. The lit Christingles are then used to provide the light to sing Christmas carols by the Church. Once the candle was lit, the trick was always trying to prevent your tinsel catching fire during the carol singing (and surreptitious eating of sweeties of course!)
As we grew up, Christingles were still part of a traditional Christmas Eve sing a long but are now usually accompanied by a glass (or more) of Mulled Wine and traditionally made mincemeat pies (or just mince pies as they are known in Scotland) The grocery stores in the UK start selling these tasty pastry treats from roughly mid-September so if buttery pastry and spiced vine fruits are your thing, then there are definitely opportunities to ‘compare brands’ well before the festive season begins in earnest.
Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the holidays because there is that sense of excitement of what is to come. In an ideal world all the preparation is done and there is time to sit and just enjoy the Night Before Christmas…..Sitting in a warm house with mulled wine, mince pies, sparkly lights, excited children and Christmas carols playing is one of my favourite holiday traditions, and one I hope you get to share with those near and dear to you this Holiday Season.
Christmas Mulled Wine Recipe
This is one of my favourite mulled wine recipes – it comes from the team at the Mountain Café in Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands and is based on Glogi which is a Finnish mulled wine. The original includes the addition of brandy, but I prefer to leave that out and add a small drop of spiced rum at the end of the mulling for an extra festive treat!
You really don’t need expensive red wine to make good mulled wine (there is a lot of sugar and tasty spices to go in there that lift the flavour, but I would recommend a full bodied option rather than a lighter red – mulled wine is designed to be a richly satisfying, warming and nurturing drink so choose a tasty red as your base.
Ingredients: (makes about 1 litre)
750 ml red wine
100ml orange juice
100ml diluting Ribena or other blackcurrant juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 whole cloves
2 star anise
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
Place everything in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes.
Reduce to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Taste and add extra sugar or orange juice as you like. The longer you leave the wine to ‘mull’ the better the flavours mix.
Traditionally we serve our mulled wine in large mugs or glasses with handles and very often with a cinnamon stick to stir.
Wendy is Nutrition Consultant at our at Burnaby Crest location!