Dec 22, 2018
I’m writing this almost a week after we arrived in Nuremberg. We did so on the Friday morning and Ches and I elected to repeat the city walking tour rather than the WW2 tour. This begins with the drive in from the river and then a circuit of around 2/3rds of the walls. I don’t know how much of these walls survived WW2 bombing and how much are modern reconstructions. Either way, the walls are among the most impressive town walls anywhere. Towers linked by roofed parapets abound. Which prompted Ches to exclaim some days later, when walking the path around half the wall (a couple of kilometers), “Why do you have to photography every tower and wall, they are all the same.” This prompted Jenny to look down from above and also exclaim “Bloody hell Gavin, it’s Burgundy all over again, you have to be taking a photograph every 30 seconds”.
So, Nuremberg. That first day, we revisited the castle and with rain and driving wind, it wasn’t as scenically beautiful as last time. We were the only ones to take our Uniword umbrella to town and were grateful as it kept showering on and off all morning. Once the guide had led us to the Hauptmarkt (the main square), where the main part of the Christmas Markets are set up, we were left to our own devices. At around 11.57 am, we found ourselves in the center of the Hauptmarkt with the Schöner Brunnen (Beautiful fountain) behind us and Frauenkirche (The Church of our Lady) in front. All around us, children had phones out waving them around. What was this all about? At noon, the clock on the church began to chime and then for 5 minutes or more, figures around the clock blew trumpets, rang bells and marched around. As this is the city where the pocket watch was invented and clock making was a major industry, it was only fitting that there be a grand performance at noon every day.
We revisited the shop that sells beautiful tins of ginger biscuits, that don’t have any ginger in them.
While searching for a recipe that best replicates the authentic Nürnberger Elisenlebkuchen (German Lebkuchen), I came across a site with a video of it being made and accompanied by Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and that reminded me of something our guide had mentioned. He said that he believed that Pachelbel (A Nuremberg composer) had been dumped by a Cellist and that in revenge, he had composed the Canon.
“Ah, Pachelbel’s Canon in D. It’s a staple at weddings. It’s almost always found on “relaxing classical music” playlists. It can even be heard during the holidays both in its original form and as incorporated into Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon.
It is perhaps one of the most famous baroque pieces that almost anyone – classical music fan or not – can hum without help. And yet, it is also one of the most hated by musicians themselves, particularly cellists. But why?
Pachelbel’s Canon, as it is commonly known, is one part of his Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo. In simple terms, a canon is similar to a round – like Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Typically, one instrument or voice starts the melody and other parts then join in. Unlike a round, however, the parts in a canon don’t have to be exactly identical.
Pachelbel uses the techniques of the canon with 3 voices engaged in the “round”. He adds a basso continuo (bass line) which is independent – making the piece more of a chaconne than a canon. This bass line is the cello part. The same 8 notes that repeat throughout the entire piece with no variation. This is why cellists cannot stand playing this piece. As everyone else in the room enjoys the lovely sounds of the canon, the variations of the melody that travel through the violins and viola, the cello is stuck playing the same two-bar line – one that is so simple it can be played by beginning students. Musically speaking, this is definitely not challenging or fun for cellists.”
Authentic Nürnberger Elisenlebkuchen (German Lebkuchen) Prep Time20 mins Cook Time25 mins Total Time45 mins Servings: 35 lebkuchen Ingredients
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon quality pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups almond meal
- 2 cups hazelnut meal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons Homemade Lebkuchengewürz
2.5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground cloves
0.5 teaspoon ground allspice
0.5 teaspoon ground coriander
0.5 teaspoon ground green cardamom
0.5 teaspoon ground ginger
0.5 teaspoon ground star anise
0.25 teaspoon ground mace
0.25 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 ounces candied lemon peel
- 4 ounces candied orange peel or Homemade Lemon and Orange Peel
- Backoblaten either 70mm or 90mm
- Blanched whole almonds cut in half lengthwise
- For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 3 ounces quality dark or milk chocolate
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or oil of choice – do not use butter
- Directions: Place chocolate and oil in a small bowl and microwave stirring occasionally, until melted. Use immediately. If glaze becomes firm, reheat in the microwave.
- For the Sugar Glaze:
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- Directions: Place sugar and water in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Toss the candied lemon and orange peel with about 1/4 of all-purpose flour to keep it from sticking together and then pulse in a food processor until finely minced. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar, honey and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Add the ground almonds and hazelnuts, salt, baking powder, Lebkuchengewürz, and candied lemon and orange peels and stir vigorously until thoroughly combined. (You can use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes). The mixture will be wet but if it is too thin to scoop onto the oblaten add some more almond or hazelnut meal.
Scoop the mixture onto the Backoblaten, smoothing down the top and leaving just a slight space around the edges. Set them on a lined cookie sheet.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25-28 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled, place a wire rack over a cookie sheet (to catch the drippings). Dip half the Lebkuchen in the chocolate glaze and half in the sugar glaze, letting the excess drip back into the bowl and then place the Lebkuchen on the wire rack. Arrange 3 almonds on each Lebkuchen while the glaze is still wet. Let the Lebkuchen dry completely until the glaze is hardened.
Keep stored in an airtight container. Will keep for several weeks and the flavor improves with time.
Makes about 35 if using 70mm Backoblaten and about 25 if using 90mm Backoblaten.
So, notwithstanding your efforts to get past this lengthy diversion about Pachelbel and Lebkuchen, an hour and a half at the markets was long enough to buy some tins of Lebkuchen and eat some local sausages, meat loaf and flat local donuts. All in drizzling rain and hands encased in fingerless gloves, which left said gloves and beard reeking of BBQ.
We returned to the ship for an afternoon nap and the final dinner. As we were staying in Nuremberg the following day (Saturday), we knew we had time for exploring the town in more detail, so less guilty about not spending more time that day. Most others revisited the Christmas Markets that afternoon and evening.
As it eventuated, we were able to book into our Hotel in Nuremberg by 10.00am, and that gave us most of the day for exploring the town in better weather. We walked the outside of the walls as described above, and on entering through the gates beside the river which runs under the walls below the castle, I noticed some interesting building in a narrow side street. While there were only three or four small groups of people walking this street, some were stopping to take 30 or more selfies and photographs of each other. Ches didn’t appreciate it when I asked what’s the difference between me taking 30 photos of the walls in a 2km stretch and tourists taking 30 photos of each other in a 20m stretch.
Every house in the street was stunning. Why didn’t our guide take us here and why weren’t there more people here with us now? Maybe the locals want to keep it a secret. I researched later and found that it is Weissgerbergasse “The largest ensemble of old artisan houses in Nuremberg, predominantly half-timbered, historic town houses, often with their own wells and a garden, testify to the affluence that could be attributed to the art of leather making.”
I took maybe 20 or so photos.
How appropriate was it that without any knowledge of the leather making history of Nuremberg, Ches bought a new handbag at the Christmas Market. Initially looking at a cow leather bag a similar colour to her current bag which she bought in Rome 11 years ago, she then saw a darker brown bag (buffalo) that had been tooled with a floral design.
Here’s and idea, all those feral buffalo in the Northern Territory to produce leather goods with indigenous patterns.
It had turned into a relatively fine day with glimpses of blue sky as the day progressed. Despite being fine outside, the long walk had lead to Ches needing to sit for a while. We entered a modern Italian café/bar on the main square and had hot chocolate and pastries.
As we had decided that we just had to attend the market at night, we took time out at the hotel for a nap and returned at 6.00. WOW! The city center was heaving. All the way from the gates near the central railway station, down to the central market square was packed with people mashed in between the stands.
What were we there for? “to eat”, when do we want to eat ? “now” and “now” and “now”. What else do you do at a German Christmas Market when you have bought all the Christmas Tree decorations etc. that you need. First up were roasted chestnuts. We had them once before in Dijon and weren’t exactly taken by them. This time, stunning and helped by the atmosphere, as we stood against the stone wall of the bridge, looking down the river to medieval buildings decorated with Christmas lights.
A choir were gathered in the middle of the street entertaining.
Into the main square where we returned to our favourite BBQ stand. Ches had the meatloaf (Pork and Beef mince patty) and I a grilled Pork steak cooked with onion and gravy. Both in crisp small bread rolls. STUNNING! That was dinner.
Nuremberg, loved it and would be happy to visit again.
While on a roll, how about if I also cover our day in transit from Nuremberg to Southampton? Naaaa! Enoughs enough.