It was a shock to arrive a few days before Christmas in Austria and see green. There was almost no snow in sight, and we may as well have given up hope for a white Christmas for Shane’s parents and Z+Y.
With only a few days until Christmas, we went tree shopping and picked the best tree of the few left over, and came home to decorate it. Then with a few massive food shops under our belt, we began a three day long cooking spree where there were way too many cooks in the kitchen and way too many famous Jackie Fallon desserts ready to be eaten.
My mum’s birthday is Christmas Eve, and in Austria tradition the main celebration for Christmas falls on the same day. She always shares her special day, so we made sure we all chipped in to keep her out of the kitchen – harder work than you’d expect! The menu was a culmination of our favourite things, in honour of mum of course – aperol spritz for pre-dinner drinks, caprese salad entree, baked gnocchi with roasted cauliflower, sage and chorizo, with pecorino cheese main, with a side salad, and Shane’s favourite fresh strawberry mousse for dessert.
Shane woke up bright and early to prepare the meal – a slow roast pulled pork with roast vegetables. There were twice cooked potatoes, and roasted apples. Jackie had made an epic pea and ham soup to start, and dessert was an assortment of pavlovas, profiteroles and a traditional yule log. We had three tables full with five different families – a mix of people as usual – and enjoyed a long and delicious lunch. Where would be be without the Fallons in the kitchen though?
During Christmas lunch the clouds came into the valley and by late afternoon we had our first snow flakes. It became a white Christmas we didn’t even dare dream was possible. This was the first time everyone had seen it snow, so there were lots of fun and beautiful moments. Zeke at one point walked onto the front drive full of snow with only socks on, to get about two steps out before jumping in shock back inside. Hilarious.
By the evening, the first (slightly odd looking) snowman was built and snowballs thrown. With full bellies from lunch and energy from the fresh snow fall, we walked (and slid) down into the town below for a gluhwein and Austria Pinecone Schnapps, made fresh by the local bar during the summer. Delicious.
The snow continued to fall for days, so naturally everyone got put to work on the driveway.
Jackie was determined to improve her snowman skills, so she quickly started to sculpt the second snowman. He was significantly rounder and much more proportional. Other than the creepy eyes he almost looked cute. Mother and son, out the front of our house.
We spent a few snowy days in Austria before heading to Italy, so even though none of our friends were snowboarding or skiing we made sure they caught the lift to 2100m to the top of our local mountain. John’s not a fan of heights but made it up the top and back down to tell the tale – we were really glad he got to experience the view and the atmosphere from up there.
John + Jackie at Kreuzjoch, Schlick 2000 – with all the skiers, and drop offs either side. We ate mountain food (unjustified without the exercise! Who eats a plate of chips and ball of dough with custard for lunch??) and watched the paragliders jump off the edge.
The mountains of the Stubai are epic, even when half covered with clouds.