A foodie’s affair with a German Christmas Market. 

As the third Christmas advent candle flickers away (you don’t have to be religious to get into the spirit of advent candles), and only one more remains to be lit next Sunday, now is the time to get yourself to a local Christmas market—you can find them even in the not so snowy and cold countries.

Image: British Airways

The tradition of the Christmas market—Christkindlemarkt—started in Nuremberg, Germany, back in the mid-16th century. In it’s early years, the Market was a place to buy spices and handmade Christmas gifts; nowadays, Christmas markets are also a place to discover traditional German treats, have your photo snapped with Santa, stock up on decorations for your home, or find some unique gift ideas.

For anyone who has never experienced a Christmas market, there are few goodies—mainly German—you’re sure to come across that you must try.

1/ GLUWEIN

In Europe, locals can be seen drinking Gluwein from when the markets open until when they close. Time of day does not discriminate. For those living in the colder countries, it warms the hands and the bones, as well as making you a little more festive—depending how many you have…

Traditional Gluwein is made from red wine, but there are also white wine variations.

Each stall within the market may also have their own unique blend, so be sure to try a few instead of going back to the same stand.

Also, they will charge you a few extra Euros when you first purchase a Gluwein, and if you like the cup it’s served in(each year they have a different design) you can keep it. If not, return the cup for a refund. This means you can venture away from the stall while you enjoy your drink.

2/ HANBROT

Deliciousness in one word.

Freshly backed bread filled with cheese and—traditionally—ham, then topped with a large dollop of  sour cream.

They fillings are not only limited to cheese and ham, mushrooms and herbs are often used, as well as creative creations such as curried chicken!

Sorry hips…

3/ ALMONDS

Warning: If you have problems with your teeth, you should give these a miss!

Burnt sugar, or caramelised almonds as they are also called, can be served fresh off the pan or cooled. They are often served in a small paper cone, which makes for easy snacking as you scroll through the markets.

4/ CREPE

Nutella, chocolate, cheese, banana…the options are endless.

Cleverly, they turn the corners of the crepe in on itself to make it into a hand-held feast. Be careful not to bite into the middle, or you may get a big squirt of warm sauce all over yourself.

5/ HOT CHOCOLATE

If you’re not a fan of Gluwein, but fancy something warming and slightly alcoholic, then try one of their hot chocolates spiked with a spirit or liqueur such as Baileys. Be warned, they are usually topped with whipped cream and extra chocolate!

6/ BRATWURST

A traditional ‘sausage-in-a-bun’ is one of the highlights on the Christmas market food trail. Just like Gluwein, you should sample Bratwurt from different stalls (if you plan on visiting the market more than once).

If you only have one Bratwurst-eating opportunity, try to find a stall that grills the sausage over an open fire for an extra smoky, charred flavour.

7/ HOT CHESTNUTS

Don’t worry about looking too hard to find the stand selling hot, roasted chestnuts. Your nose will lead you there. There is something extremely intoxicating about the smell of roasted chestnuts, and the taste is equally delicious.

Served in a small paper carry bag or cone, they are another easy snack to keep you fuelled as you meander through the crowds.

Image: The Hungarian Girl

What’s your favourite treat at the Christmas Market?

Which Christmas Market have you been to that you would recommend to others?