In early December I was invited by Ulrich and Jenn to a 'Feuerzangenbowle'
party - a tradition in Germany. You take some cheap wine, add some
spices and fruit, and then carmelize a cone of sugar in a spectacular
way by soaking it with rum and then burning the rum-soaked sugar. It
produces 'Gluwein.' Here I watch as Ulli shows me how to prepare the
sugar cone, which is resting on a support over the wine.
As a part of the festivities we watched an old German movie about a
group of men who reminisce while drinking the Gluwein. The movie was
made in 1944 but interestingly has no hints of National Socialism.
Estonia has its own version of the drink called hoogvein, but they do
not have the tradition of carmelizing the sugar.
Some of us look on as we start the process of burning the rum and sugar.
When you add more rum the flames are impressive!
I got to take a turn adding more rum onto the sugarcone to make sure it
all carmelized into the wine mixture below.
The Gluwein complete, the group relaxes. Most the of people in
attendance were graduate students and faculty, many of them German
studying or teaching here in Tartu.
Ulli scraping off the last bits of the sugar into the Gluwein. You can
see the orange slices floating in the mixture. Because you burn the rum,
the alcohol content is not as high as it might otherwise be - and it
tastes great on a cold day since it is served warm.
I finish with a quick photo of the thermometer outside my flat window -
this was the high temperature for the day.
A late afternoon (!) picture of the main university building. Tartu is
adorned with lights all around the city.