Mulled wine, cookies, gingerbread and the whiff of roasted chestnuts and cinnamon spice drifting from the Christmas markets sets the mood for the festive season!
Zurich is dotted with Christmas markets that our contributor Vantika Singh visited. Here, she briefly highlights the markets and her top 5 favourites at the ‘Weihnachtsdorf’ at Bellevue.
The twinkling lights called ‘Lucy’ adorn Bahnhofstrasse, marking the beginning of this city’s celebration. Small rustic wooden chalets line the streets with traders and artisans who have unique goods for sale that makes Christmas shopping an absolute joy!
The traditional glittering 32 feet tall Swarovski tree at the Christkindlimarkt dominates the interior hall at the Zurich Main Train Station. It is bedecked with 6,000 shimmering Swarovski pieces. The light accents on the tree change form and colours intermittently – making the glitter ever more sparkly.
The ‘Märlitram’ is the highlight for kids. It is a local tradition where Santa and his angels welcome children between the ages of 4 to 10 years on a 20 minute tram ride around the city. Children with special needs can also take a ride if accompanied by an adult and their tickets are marked with a star. This keeps the Santa’s team informed about a special child onboard. The tram meanders through the narrow streets of the old-town next to the river Limmat where you find festivities happening at yet another mini Christmas market.
The ‘Christmas Village’ or the ‘Weihnachtsdorf’ at Bellevue is quite spectacular and the most popular in the city. The huge urban square transforms into a fairy tale-like experience with traditional red huts, glowing Christmas trees, fun-packed rides and an ice rink for all age groups to enjoy. Also, the “Elfendörfli”, the Village of Elves, next to the Opera House offers a wide range of activities for kids.
During my visit to this market I spotted some unique food and goods stalls and here are my top five this season.
1. The Loving Spoon – Maya Chelmis from Brussels makes beautiful silver-plated vintage spoons with lovely handmade engravings. She started this as her hobby, but later, on a friend’s recommendation, she made it her full-time business.
Maya started selling her spoons in Vancouver, Canada, but realized that she had a better market for her products in Switzerland, which seems to have a soft corner for cutlery with engravings, cutlery to-go (includes a set of spoon and fork) with or without engravings, magnetic vases, rings and keychains. She takes customized orders, too. These are refreshingly unique, practical and an adorable gift for your loved ones.
2. Angel keychains – The angels can watch over your loved ones at a very affordable price. These little beauties are available in different colours and are priced at CHF 3 per piece.
3. Mido Made – These are natural handmade skin care products made by Mido Eltahan from Egypt who has worked in this industry for many years to sustainably produce soaps and shampoos from natural raw materials. The showstopper at his stall are the Glühwein Bath Bombs which smell festive and heavenly! All his products are handmade with a lot of care at his atelier in Kilchberg. His products don’t react with any other perfume or fragrance used on the body. A must-visit for anyone who is looking for some top notch self-indulgence.
4. Urban Rasoi – This is the pitstop to try some freshly made Indian ‘Naan in your Hand’ with mouthwatering Paneer topping that you wouldn’t want to miss! Reena and her husband, who hail originally from Gujarat, came here from the UK and have been running Urban Rasoi since 2015. They also have some authentic Paneer Butter Masala or Chole with Jeera Rice on their menu.
5. Sama Sama Ginger Drinks – The culture brand run by Julia Furrer makes some organic drinks with ginger that is sourced from Kerala, India and packaged in Luzern. They have Ginger liqueur, Ginger Tea and Ginger Lemonade for sale, and you can try a tiny portion of any of these drinks. I tried their tea and it was strong enough to keep the cold away.
Also, did you know that Glühwein (mulled wine) in German means ‘the glowing wine’? It has been a popular drink since ages to keep one happy and warm during the cold and dark winter months.
So, put on your Christmas Caps and get ready to order a Glug of Glögg (the Nordic Version of Glühwein) and explore the beauty of the festive season!
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