A coin for prosperity, health and happiness

The "English Trades" in Berlin-Neukolln presents a Traditional Christmas Pudding.

Photo: Sergej Glanze / FUNKE Photo Services

In England, Christmas pudding is as much a part of Christmas as presents, which are not presented until the 25th. lie under the tree.

Berlin. The historical carousel horses gallop into the shop window at the first Advent. Not earlier. Christmas at Christmastime, John Masters and wife Nicole agree. Otherwise, according to the operator of the small store "English Traders" in Neukolln, the anticipation would run out of steam well before Christmas.

However, the native Englishman must make an exception. "They traditionally put the Christmas pudding on the last weekend before the first of Advent, Stir-up Sunday," the 58-year-old says of his home country’s Christmas customs. Showing it after that is actually not allowed. The pudding, which is cooked and steamed in a cloth and looks more like a napkin dumpling than a German pudding, must be left to mature in peace until Christmas, covered in a cool place.

The Christmas pudding consists of 13 ingredients – for Jesus and the twelve disciples

The origin of the pudding lies in medieval and Roman Catholic England. His 13 ingredients symbolized Jesus and his twelve disciples. The whole family joined in the preparation. Each had to stir, always nicely in turn, from east to west – commemorating the travels of the three wise men from the Orient. This tradition has been kept until today, while stirring especially children should wish for something.

Another tradition: a silver coin is hidden in the dough. Whoever finds it, prosperity, health and happiness await him in the coming year. A hidden and found gold coin is a sign for the walk down the aisle. John’s and Nicole’s Christmas Pudding is very playful and full of blessings. They have provided it with numerous coins, so that it resembles a hedgehog.

The Christmas pudding is flambeed with brandy before serving

However, the external cash blessing will disappear at Christmas. The dessert, almost blackened by the dark sugar, syrup and long boiling, is turned upside down out of the mold before serving, brandy poured over it and flambeed. Only then it is placed on the 25. December brought to the table in the dark and greeted with applause.

Cloths, actually dish towels, in which the British specialty can be prepared, can be found in abundance at the English Traders, which opened almost exactly five years ago. "With us there are useful and beautiful things. We pay attention to fair trade, sustainability and longevity. We don’t have anything that we haven’t tried out ourselves," say the Masters, who have been tired of plastic for years.

They have sold the "Hangbird" only once

John Masters, who comes from Darlington in northern England, recalls that they started with a beech wood "clothes horse" that was hung under the ceiling. An immensely practical invention, space-saving and drying quickly due to the warm air rising upwards. However, Nicole, a native of Spandau, smiles, they have only once sold the "Hangbird," which is extremely popular in England, to a neighbor.

Thus, in the small but abundantly stocked store, the hanging clothes racks serve as a fixture for some of the more than 100 dish towels. The textile works of art, even if the name of the store suggests only English goods, come from England, Germany, Sweden and New Zealand.

The "English Traders" is practically a Christmas-free zone

There is hardly anything Christmassy. Except for a few decorative pieces, a metal Santa Claus next to the old wooden horses, the store is a Christmas-free zone, so to speak. For this you can find a lot of presents, which you can buy on 24. December evening or, if you celebrate a traditional British Christmas, on the 25th. December morning under the Christmas tree could find. And with which one could also prepare Christmas pudding: Wooden spoons, stainless steel mixing bowls, hand mixers, measuring cups, enamel water pitchers, wooden fruit brushes, orange peelers, and knives from France and Germany.

"Atmospheric are jars of solar lamps that are sustainable and completely recyclable, which we source from Soweto," says Nicole Masters, describing a pretty Christmas light. Of course, there would be, the gardens and park-loving home of her husband obliged, garden tools from England, such as garden claws. Even if there are no unpleasant kitchen smells when preparing the Christmas Pudding, one could take precautions for such an eventuality. With "burning paper," which, according to John Masters, has been around since 1885.

On Christmas Day we have turkey at noon

When Masters, who has lived on the Spree since 2008, remembers his childhood in Darlington in northeast England, he thinks of the Christmas Carols singing troupes that went from town to town singing Christmas carols. "In our family the Christmas tree was decorated together. Traditionally, we had turkey with roasted potatoes for lunch on Christmas Day. Pigs in a blanket’ were also on the table," says the Englishman.

This would no longer exist today at the Berlin Christmas. "Instead of turkey, you can make a wonderful vegetarian Christmas dinner. To go with the roasted potatoes and Gravy sauce, we have a delicious nut roast. It’s a little like Christmas pudding, but made with nuts and vegetables," explains wife Nicole.

"From England I knew no Christmas markets"

John Masters, at his first German Christmas eleven years ago, thought it was "weird" that presents were already being delivered on 24. December would be presented. In the meantime, German and English are celebrated. "On Christmas Eve at my parents in Spandau and on Christmas Day at our house. We also invite friends over for this," says Nicole Masters

"I didn’t know any Christmas markets from England, but in the meantime this German tradition has also spilled over the Channel," says John Masters, adding with a smile, mulled wine and 1-meter bratwurst included. A funny custom he has since introduced in Berlin. "We all sit around a big table at Christmas. Everyone gets a pop like you open on New Year’s Eve in this country. There are little paper crowns in our Christmas crackers, and then everyone at the table has to put them on," he says.

"English Traders" has on 24.12. open until 1 pm

On Christmas Eve, Masters will be open for business until 1 p.m. Then would come especially those who still lack gifts shortly before the feast. One customer, for example, Masters says he and his girlfriend promised not to give anything, but then discovered she had gotten something. For this they are very happy to keep the store open.

After Christmas, the horsies and Santa Claus are sent back on vacation for the next eleven months. Then a serious topic comes up, the Brexit. John Masters: "We have many suppliers from England. It’s going to be a lot of paperwork, just like we know it from our suppliers in New Zealand." Wishes for Santa are also global: more environmental protection and a better climate package – these would be great gifts whether they were under the tree on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

English Traders, Weisestr. 58, Neukolln, Mo.-Sbd. 12-19, 24.12. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Tel. 0177/684 23 11

Christmas Pudding – Recipe for ten to twelve people

Preparation time: approx. 80 minutes


110 g beef kidney fat

25 g finely chopped candied orange peel

1 small cored apple

Grate of ½ orange and ½ lemon

75 ml of black beer

50 g sifted flour with a little baking powder and salt

110 g breadcrumbs

1 tsp spice mix of coriander, ginger, cloves, allspice

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

225 g Soft Dark Brown Sugar (ready)

110 g raisins

275 g currants

Brandy or rum to pour over it

Preparation: Clean beef kidney fat from tendons and skins. Put through the meat grinder. Rub with flour. Mix Soft Dark Brown Sugar and breadcrumbs with candied orange peel, raisins, raisins, currants, almonds, spices, orange and lemon zest grated. Peel and grate apple, add schnapps. Whisk eggs with rum, brandy and Schwarzbier and mix well with the flour-fat mixture. Pour the mixture into a greased pudding mold. 3-4 hrs. into the water bath. Cover the finished pudding until 25. December let rest in a cool and dark place.

Dressing: Turn out of the mold, pour slightly warmed rum or brandy over, light and serve flambeed. Serve with a sauce made of butter (250 g) mixed with powdered sugar (150 g), brandy (1 dl) and a little lemon juice.

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