THE ZURICH CHRISTMAS
17 December 2016
W E I H N A C H T S D O R F
Z Ü R I C H - B E L L E V U E
Sure thing not every Christmas Fair has a charm. Often its a cold, commercial set up. The Fassade of Christmas Spirit just covering up the motive of monetizing a holiday. Its cold out, and people are longing for this holiday, hard to imagine even a winter without it. Its perhaps the one thing to look forward to for the whole first half of winter. Then its New Year, the resolutions, the fitness, the skiing - and then Springtime has come around again. This is the Swiss Life.
I enjoy Christmas, I extra do not travel during this time because I love the buzz, the lights, the gift shopping, the heavy food and the familytime. I fully indulge in the experience; especially when I find beautiful markets and Events to celebrate it.
Christmas Lights - Zurich lights up beautifully during Christmastime. Especially in the center of town its nice to take turns into new Streets and to discover new arrangements of lights. My favourite of course is right around Bahnhofstrasse - where Lucy lights up the night - and Rennweg, which is equally beautiful. The street crossing them both - Augustinergasse - has even made it into the Buzzfeed List of 17 Places that look like 'Hogsmeade' during Christmas. I also really love the round globe lights in Oetenbachgasse that look like full moons. Its beautiful to stroll around Zurich especially right at the time when it gets dark to see the whole transformation. The most interesting Christmas Light concept is the one at Löwenstrasse though - star lights made from old PET Bottles and assembled by inmates of swiss jails - it makes me think of the less fortunate everytime I walk around there and see them. Piety is an important aspect of celebrating Christmas time for me. The year is coming to an end and its time to be grateful, and to celebrate the act of giving by making gifts to the people you care for.
FONDUE & RACLETTE
Its that time of the year again. Theres nothing nicer than that smell of hot cheese when your entering a room from the freezing cold. Sure, you will smell like that cheese afterwards tip to toe - but thats a part of it. There are many streetside Fondue & Raclette spots in town and at the markets, but my favourite this winter are the 'Pop Up' Fondue & Raclette Locations that make a real 'Chalet' mood with cozy interior, seating and service. I don't like to eat streetside / standing up unless its just a little snack - so for a wholesome cheesy food like Raclette I definitely prefer to be in a seated environment.
My favourite Locations this Winter for the 'Pop Up' Cheesy Experience:
FOREST by Widder Hotel - I didn't recognize the Room that was redecorated with in Forest Mood (and even smells like you are in the middle of a Forest). Run in cooperation with Ruinart you can enjoy Raclette and Champagne a discretion in a lovely friendly environment. Must Try: The 'Ruinart Raclette' with one whole (magnum) bottle of Champagne inside each body of cheese - Santé! https://www.widderhotel.com/essen-trinken/forest/
CHALET AU LAC by the Baur au Lac - This location is gorgeous. Imagine a Hänsel&Grethel kind of hut built up in the midst of the Baur au Lac Garden and illuminated by their Christmas lights. You step on an enchanting wooden walkway before reaching the 'Chalet.' Inside you are served with Fondue Chinoise, Fondue or Raclette a discretion plus a selection of starters and desserts and enjoy the outstanding Baur au Lac service - I loved it! https://www.bauraulac.ch/de/chaletaulac.html
For anyone in mood for a bit of a more casual experience - I haven't visited this year but I have been there last year and I liked it: the Fondue & Raclette Hut at Weihnachtsdorf Bellevue is perfect for a nice evening with friends too.
There's only one in my eyes, and apart from being crazy overflowing full on evenings its a piece of magic. The Weihnachtsdorf 'Christmas Village' at the Sechseläutenplatz in Bellevue. I have the best time there during weekday afternoons when its not too full. Its my togo to place for Glühwein & Churros (my absolute favourite sweet treat at Christmas fairs) and to have a stroll around. Besides just being very beautifully decorated, the ice skating rank and merry go round overlooked by the opera house give the place a special vibe. Besides the Food Huts offering all the yummy wintertime streetfood one could possibly desire you will find many local goods and producers showing their merchandise so you can even do some christmas present shopping there and support local products. I fell in love with these plates by TAUTA-HOME - I think I'm going to need to make space for them on my Christmas Wishlist
After all the fun at the market we got a little appetite for a savoury bite - so the Farmy hut right at the front is where we headed for a delicious fresh oven baked Flammkuchen that I insisted on handling inside the oven myself. Perhaps I burnt it a tad bit because I underestimated the heat of the oven but somehow I just love to participate in making my own food - habitude I guess.
And I realize its just another week to go until Christmas, so not much time left to enjoy the season - but if you haven't been there yet and you do have an afternoon or evening off - I do think you'd enjoy it. I do recommend afternoons to visit, as I did with my beautiful photographer friend Dovile who took all the lovely pictures - check her out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dovilirious/
Wishing you all a Merry Pre Christmas Time & speak to you soon! :)