Viking’s Holiday Magic

As we watch summer fade into fall, it’s time to plan to celebrate the holidays in old-world style. Viking River Cruises’s holiday sailings offer the most memorable gift you could imagine: in-depth cultural enrichment in Europe’s best loved river ports. Perfectly planned itineraries abound with Yuletide magic, the ideal way to experience Europe’s picturesque atmosphere and charm. This is the most festive time of year to cruise these waters as glittering lights and finery adorn Europe’s streets. On board your home away from home, the discovery continues with cultural enrichment activities designed to keep you fully immersed in the holiday riches of Europe—delicious regional cuisine, destination performances, festively decorated ships, and onboard lectures. Celebrate the season with Viking, and you’ll also enjoy Viking Inclusive Value. One price includes so much from meals and beverages to shore excursions and Wi-Fi.

Europe’s Christmas Markets with Viking River Cruises
Europe’s Christmas markets are where the romance and spirit of the holidays come alive. It’s not just the markets that have all the magic of the holidays, but Viking ships are adorned with extra shimmer and sparkle as well. Explore some of the fairy tale settings of Europe’s Christmas Markets.

Interested in learning more about our European Christmas markets cruises? Visit us at: Viking River Cruises

Viking for the Holidays: Danube Waltz

Celebrate the holidays with the cultural traditions of Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Enjoy art, architecture, history and charming Christmas markets in European destinations including Passau, Vienna, Salzburg, Bratislava and Budapest.

Viking for the Holidays: Romantic Danube

This popular 8-day holiday cruise lets you discover Danube delights in Hungary, Austria, and Germany. From historic Budapest to beautiful Vienna to medieval Regensburg, experience the holiday season like never before.

Gingerbread and glühwein are traditional treats that are enjoyed during the holiday season.

Traditional Gingerbread with Chef Walter Simon Snr.

Spiced and nutty in flavor, these traditional German Christmas cookies resemble soft gingerbread. Enjoy them at home or give as a gift—either way they fill your home with delightful aromas while baking. Taste these and many other holiday treats on one of our late fall or winter cruises along the Rhine or Danube.

Ingredients:
Cookies:
One-half cup honey
One-half cup molasses
Three-quarters cup brown sugar (packed)
One egg
One tablespoon lemon juice
One teaspoon lemon zest
Two and three-quarters cup flour
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One teaspoon ground cinnamon
One teaspoon ground cloves
One teaspoon ground allspice
One teaspoon ground nutmeg
One-third cup candied citron (diced)
One-third cup hazelnuts (chopped)

Icing:
One cup sugar
One-half cup water or milk
One-quarter teaspoon vanilla extract
One-quarter cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Cookies:
Combine honey and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and all spices. Add the molasses mixture and mix well. Stir in citron and hazelnuts. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. On a floured surface, roll out a small amount of the chilled dough to one-quarter-inch thickness. If dough is sticky, use more flour when rolling. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut round cookies out and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Place baked cookies on a cooling rack and brush icing while still hot. You can decorate with slivers of nuts or candied citron or other dried fruit. Or if you prefer, you can drizzle with melted chocolate. Store in a sealed container with a wedge of apple or orange to retain moistness.

Icing:
Heat sugar and water or milk with vanilla in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar. If icing becomes crystallized, reheat and add water or milk as needed.

Makes 8–10 servings.

GLÜHWEIN (HOT MULLED WINE) GLÜHWEIN (HOT MULLED WINE)
Around the Christmas season, public houses in nearly every European town offer mulled wine as a delicious antidote to the season’s chill. To warm up on a stormy evening or put yourself in a celebratory mood, you can make your own glühwein at home
Ingredients
4 qts dry red wine (e.g., zinfandel, pinot, burgundy)
1 C white sugar (more to taste)
1 pt brandy
12 whole cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp mace
1 qt dry white wine
1 orange
1 lemon

Garnish
6 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, sliced

Directions
Pour red wine into a 3-gal pot (or larger) and begin gentle heating. Add sugar and spices. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add brandy and white wine, slices of 1 orange and the lemon. Steep for 1 hour over low heat. Serve hot and garnish with orange slices or a cinnamon stick.

Cook time: 1 hour

Makes 12-15 servings.

If you are considering a Festive Season river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

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  • River Cruise Recipes

    At this festive time of year, many river cruise lines share the best-loved holiday recipes of their passengers. Here are a few of our favorites.

    From Viking River Cruises:

    VIENNESE HOT CHOCOLATE
    This recipe comes to us from Reiner Marks, who prepared this drink aboard Viking River Cruises ships in Europe many times. Reiner has fond memories of how much our guests enjoyed the drink, which he says “tastes delicious.” Enjoy! Viennese Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients
    3 C of low-fat milk
    7 oz premium dark chocolate, grated
    1 T granulated sugar
    1 C heavy cream, chilled
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 T confectioner’s sugar

    Garnish
    Cocoa powder or chocolate shavings

    Directions
    In a sauce pan, gently heat 1 C of milk with grated chocolate. Simmer over low heat until all chocolate has dissolved. Combine remaining milk and granulated sugar in another saucepan and gently heat, whisking until all sugar has dissolved. Add chocolate mix to sugared milk and continue simmering over low. In a bowl, whisk heavy cream and vanilla together on high slowly adding confectioner’s sugar until peaks form. Remove hot chocolate from heat and divide into cups. Place a generous dollop of whipped cream on top of each. Garnish with a pinch of cocoa powder or sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve.

    Makes 4-6 servings, depending on mug size.

    GLÜHWEIN (HOT MULLED WINE)
    Around the Christmas season, public houses in nearly every European town offer mulled wine as a delicious antidote to the season’s chill. To warm up on a stormy evening or put yourself in a celebratory mood, you can make your own glühwein at home.

    Ingredients
    4 qts dry red wine (e.g., zinfandel, pinot, burgundy)
    1 C white sugar (more to taste)
    1 pt brandy
    12 whole cloves
    1/8 tsp allspice
    1/8 tsp mace
    1 qt dry white wine
    1 orange
    1 lemon

    Garnish
    6 cinnamon sticks
    1 orange, sliced

    Directions
    Pour red wine into a 3-gal pot (or larger) and begin gentle heating. Add sugar and spices. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add brandy and white wine, slices of 1 orange and the lemon. Steep for 1 hour over low heat. Serve hot and garnish with orange slices or a cinnamon stick.

    Gluhwein - Hot Mulled Wine Cook time: 1 hour

    Makes 12-15 servings.
    Continue reading River Cruise Recipes

    Savor The Holidays

    This holiday season, we’ve gathered traditional recipes together from Viking River Cruises for your family to enjoy. Almost every culture has its own festive foods to celebrate the holidays. These treasured favorites are passed from generation to generation.

    LEBKUCHEN

    LEBKUCHEN
    LEBKUCHEN, traditional German Christmas cookies

    Spiced and nutty in flavor, these traditional German Christmas cookies taste like soft gingerbread. The best-known are Nürnberger Lebkuchen, which are often presented in ornately decorated tins or boxes. Sometimes, Lebkuchen are baked and decorated as ornaments.

    INGREDIENTS
    Cookies:
    1/2 C honey
    1/2 C molasses
    3/4 C brown sugar, packed
    1 egg
    1 T lemon juice
    1 tsp lemon zest
    2 3/4 C flour, additional for dusting
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp ground allspice
    1 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/3 C candied citron, diced
    1/3 C hazelnuts, chopped

    Icing:
    1 C sugar
    1/2 C water or milk
    1/4 C confectioner’s sugar

    GARNISH
    Almonds, slivered
    Candied citron
    Melted chocolate

    DIRECTIONS
    Cookies:
    Combine honey and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and all spices. Add the molasses mixture and mix well. Stir in citron and hazelnuts. Cover and chill overnight.

    Preheat oven to 350°F (167°C). Dust flour on a hard surface, roll out a small amount of the chilled dough to 1/4-inch thickness. If dough is sticky, use more flour when rolling. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut round cookies out and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While baking, make icing. Place baked cookies on a cooling rack and brush with icing while still hot. You can decorate with slivers of nuts or candied citron or other dried fruit. Or if you prefer, you can drizzle with melted chocolate. Store in a sealed container with a wedge of apple or orange to retain moistness.

    Icing:
    Heat sugar and water or milk with vanilla in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in confectioner’s sugar. If icing becomes crystallized, reheat and add water or milk as needed.

    Cook time: 10-12 minutes.
    Makes 8-10 servings.

    Continue reading Savor The Holidays

    Rediscover the Magic of the Holidays

    For Uniworld® Boutique River Cruise Collection, Europe is a magical destination during the yuletide season, with grand treasures and hidden wonders just waiting to be discovered. You can experience the joys of an old-fashioned Christmas with Uniworld as they sail onboard luxurious, festively decorated ships to cities and villages rich in timeless holiday traditions. Travelers can enjoy beloved Christmas treats in Basel, browse trendy shops down Paris’ Champs Élysée, and marvel at one-of-a-kind gifts while strolling through legendary Christmas Markets. Uniworld’s holiday season cruises are perfectly designed to provide a hassle-free journey, so instead of worrying about holiday stress, travelers can focus on rediscovering holiday magic.

    Paris Shop Decorated For Christmas
    Paris Shop Decorated For Christmas

    Smell the inviting aroma of roasted chestnuts and gingerbread in the air as you visit the famous Christmas Markets of Europe. A vacation to Europe during this most unique time of the year is best experienced on a luxurious river cruise ship as you unpack only once while you are taken from one exciting destination to the next in style. Culinary pleasures abound as Uniworld’s talented chefs create tantalizing holiday menus, featuring regional European specialties and traditional favorites. Expect eggnog on Christmas morning and champagne on New Year’s Eve. Plus, gingerbread and hot-mulled wine can be enjoyed all along the way.

    Continue reading Rediscover the Magic of the Holidays