From hanging a decorative stocking to expecting Santa to fill it, Christmas traditions are full of exciting surprises. Some of which revolve around deliciously baked Christmas brownies and plum cakes. These desserts consumed with a glass of warm spicy wine is what completes the holiday season filled with traditions. While there’s no official record of why we bake brownies for Christmas or simmer Mulled wine, the most believable explanation is that we read in the British or American folklore diaries. If you thought brownies were Jesus’s favourite food, you are wrong. You will be surprised that once upon a time, Brownies were the domestic tutelary spirits from British, as well as, ancient Roman origins. The Scottish household spirit by the name Brownie was said to come at night and perform various farming tasks for the asleep farmers.
To appease the Brownies, farmers left a bowl of milk or cream by the hearth. If not served well, Brownies would leave the homes, forever! Characterised as notorious and brown-skinned, Brownies were also capable of turning invisible whenever they wanted. Brownies became popular in the late nineteenth century in works of children’s literature and modern fantasy. Soon after the success of the children’s tales, Christmas Brownies became a holiday tradition. For the most authentic experience, these brownies are baked in a Gingerbread man shape to symbolise the original Elf brownies. Besides, Brownies take just minutes to put together and decorate with gingerbread spice and lots of sprinkles. So next time, you eat a Christmas brownie, remember you will be paying your respect to the domestic Elf and also, welcoming them into your lives.
The history of Christmas Plum Cakes is just as exciting, except this one hails from the English tradition that initially began as plum porridge. In earlier times, most people ate Plum porridge on Christmas Eve, to support their digestive system after a day of fasting. Shortly, the dish was enhanced when people started adding spices, dried fruits, and honey to it. This further, turned the porridge, into a Christmas pudding! However, it was only, in the early sixteenth century that the original-recipe was revived, by replacing oatmeal with wheat flour, butter, and eggs. Together, the ingredients held the mixture well thus resulting in a plum cake. Although back then only affluent who had ovens could prepare this Christmas cake. All thanks to the exotic eastern spices, that turned this recipe into a Christmas cake.
Mulled wine was created by the Romans in the 2nd-century who would warm up wine to defend their bodies against the shuddering cold winter. With Roman reign across Europe, the beloved mulled wine spread across and became a winter favourite. With the ever growing popularity of mulled wine, Europeans began to add spices, herbs, and flowers to the wine while heating it. This was done to enhance the wine’s taste, promote health and guard oneself against winter sickness. Mulled wine is one of the tastiest wines we have cherished so far. Sweden prepares the best lot, so, if you are visiting during winter, you must give Swedish Mulled Wine a shot. A similar recipe is that of a Cognac-Glögg, another popular-drink consumed in the coldest parts of the world.
Either way, Mulled Wine became a part of Christmas when the tradition was uprooted, by distributing the alcoholic drink in unique-bottles depicting Santa Claus. Whether, mulled wine is Santa’s favourite, or not, it sure has become a global phenomenon over a period, of time. Next time, you come across a warm spicy wine, during Christmas, you know what tradition it’s associated with and that you ought to try it.