If you’d like to give Christmas in July a go this year, recreating the magic of the European Christmas markets – from the music, to the decorations, the aromas and of course the authentic recipes – is a sure-fire way to get in the festive spirit.
We spoke to Bianca Mazur from Thermomix in Australia, for her tips on how to recreate those authentic experiences at home.
“Christmas in July has always been big for our family because my parents are from Poland, where the Wroclaw Christmas Markets are something people wait for all year. They’re incredible, and one of the best in Europe – the whole Rynek Market Square is lit up and there are dozens of different stalls offering all the traditional food as well as beautiful artisan gifts,” says Bianca.
Light it up
I know it’s cold, but there is something beautiful about having a fire pit or wood-fired oven outside and spending at least a little of your Christmas in July celebrations outside. We get rugged up with hats, scarves and gloves and have a glass or two of mulled wine or “glühwein” and roast chestnuts on the fire pit before we move inside for the main meal. It’s also really lovely to set up some outdoor lights to give your home that extra festive feel and they look lovely all through the winter, not just for Christmas in July.
Take a tour
While my parents are Polish, our Christmas in July is international in terms of what we cook and I love mixing recipes from different cultures, so you get a real smorgasboard of flavours. Our online recipe platform, Cookidoo, has recipes from all over Europe so we pick and choose each year.
Here’s what we’re making this year:
Baked camembert with cranberries and almonds as a grazing starter, with some chorizo cooked on the fire pit. Then we’re going to Italy for the main. It’s actually something Italians would eat on Christmas Eve, as they don’t eat meat on that day – it’s called Lasagne della vigilia di Natale which has a spinach and ricotta layer and a seafood layer.
For dessert, we’re going for a few little things that I enjoy prepping ahead of time with the kids. We’re having homemade fruit mince pies with brandy butter and cream, panforte which is an Italian nut slice, and some Kourabiedes, which are Greek moon biscuits and are delicious to dip in coffee or an after-dinner liquor or dessert wine.
All these recipes are available via www.cookidoo.com.au.
Dress the table
I love making the table feel as festive as possible. I save a box of Christmas crackers every year to pull out for Christmas in July. I also make little edible treats for everyone to take home. This year, I’m making red and green Christmas shortbread – which is a shortbread biscuit with cranberries and pistachios dipped in white chocolate – and I’ll place them in little brown paper bags with a red and green name tag and ribbon and use them as place settings for the table.
We use winter herbs and spices on the table too, to add to the festive feeling. This year I’ll be using some sage, rosemary and cinnamon squills. We’ve got sage and rosemary in the garden, so it’s another activity we can do with the kids.
Set the scene
Of course, there’s the cheesy Christmas music and for me, you can’t get away from that. But I also love to have a batch of mulled wine on the go in the Thermomix to add to the festive aroma of the house and make sure the lighting feels cosy. So, once we come in from outside and we’ve had the fire pit and chestnuts, we’re instantly greeted by those familiar spiced smells of Christmas.
We often also do a secret Santa for little gifts for everyone – it’s not a must but the kids really enjoy going shopping for the gift and wrapping it up. Also, that it’s a secret and no one will ever know who gave what – although inevitably they end up telling!
Do you celebrate Christmas in July? Tell us in the comments below.