16 delicious German dishes to try at a Christmas market
From beautifully decorated firs to festive nutcrackers, and gingerbread houses topped with gumballs to red and white striped candy canes, we can thank the Alpine region of southern Germany for most of the traditions. Christmas decorations adopted across Europe and North America today. While there is debate as to whether Germany or Austria boasts of having created the Christmas market, the open-air festive markets known as Weihnachtsmarkt Where Christkindlmarkt have spread widely since their introduction in the Middle Ages.
Whether you are visiting the best Christmas markets in Germany or these Bavarian-style Christmas markets in the United States, these are the delicious German food, desserts and drinks you won’t want to miss!
Although there are over 1,500 types of sausage (sausages) in Germany, you won’t have to browse such a long list at a German Christmas market. Served grilled in a brötchen (a hard German roll) and topped with senf (spicy German mustard), one of the most popular German sausages at a Christmas market is bratwurst. And if you visit a Christmas market in Bavaria, you will probably find weisswurst, a white sausage made from ground veal, bacon and parsley which is a local specialty.
While most sausage are served in what I call ‘hot dog style’, inserted into a sliced roll, the currywurst is cut into discs and topped with sweet curry ketchup and a dusting of curry powder.
Pro tip: Savor delicious German food any time of the year with these Bavarian dishes.
You probably know schnitzel, a finely ground pork cutlet which is breaded and pan-fried. But at German-style Christmas markets, this classic entree is often sold on a stick or as a sandwich to make a portable dish that allows you to stand and browse vendor stalls.
Pro tip: If you plan to take advantage Wiener schnitzel, named after the Austrian capital, these are the best Christmas markets and holiday experiences in Vienna.
Made from grated potatoes mixed with diced onion, eggs and spices, kartoffelpuffer are German potato pancakes that are pan-fried until crispy and golden. They are often garnished with a spoonful of sour cream (similar to sour cream) or topped with fresh applesauce.
Although it hails from Alsace, a part of eastern France just across the Rhine from Germany, this delicious German cuisine is popular at Christmas markets. Resembling a flatbread pizza, flammkuchen is traditionally topped by sour cream, sliced onions and bacon (diced pork fat similar to diced bacon).
But just as pizza toppings have evolved over the years (pineapples, right?), flammkuchen the flavours. So don’t be surprised if you find pesto, mozzarella and tomato, prosciutto and arugula, and vegetarians and vegans. flammkuchen options at a German Christmas market.
Known as the pretzel in the English-speaking world, these doughy twists are as German as beer and bratwurst, so look for them at German-style Christmas markets across Europe and from coast to coast. in the USA. While Americans might dip pieces of pretzels in nacho cheese sauce, Germans are more likely to enjoy their brezel with senf or a soft cheese dip filled with onions and spices known as obatzda.
For a pretzel alternative filled with garlic and carbohydrates, try buttonlauchbrot. While garlic bread doesn’t seem so exotic (again, neither do pretzels), the German version is usually pan-fried in butter or deep-fried and then covered with sour cream or sour cream.
8. Gebrante Mandeln
These sugar-spiced roasted nuts are a staple at German Christmas markets, whether you’re celebrating the holidays in Europe or the United States. Traditionally made by caramelizing almonds in a cast iron skillet and then topping them with cinnamon and vanilla sugar, you can also find roasted candied pecans, cashews, or other nuts for sale.
Pro tip: From Munich to Monschau, here’s how to plan a road trip to the Christmas market in Europe.
Marzipan (a sweet marzipan) that has been molded and decorated is another German almond-based dish that is popular at Christmas markets. Most often, it is shaped into miniature but lifelike pears, strawberries and other fruits. But you’ll also find adorable pig-shaped red-headed mushrooms and other marzipan treats.
Fun fact: While “to have a cow” means to have a crisis in English, schwein gehabt (or literally “to have a pig”) means to be lucky in German. So be sure to grab one of these pig-inspired treats for luck as the New Year approaches.
While fruitcake gets a bad rap in the United States, this German variety is a buttery, lightly sweet yeast bread stuffed with dried fruit and candied lemon zest, dusted with powdered sugar. Its delicious taste helps it rise above the jokes that forever anchor the American version of comedian Johnny Carson. Its other saving advantage is that it often has a marzipan center. Yum!
The German version of gingerbread, lebkuchen, is done by baking a spicy cake batter on a white disc similar to a communion pancake. Once the dessert has cooled, it is dipped in dark chocolate or light sugar frosting.
But the most visible gingerbread treats on a German Christmas market are lebkuchenherzen, or gingerbread hearts. Displayed suspended from ribbons, they are richly decorated with sweet, centrally written phrases like “Ich liebe Dich” (I love you) and “Frohe Weihnachten” (Merry Christmas).
Particularly popular at the Christmas markets in and around the charming German town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, schneeballen are loosely woven shortbread strips shaped into “snowballs” and fried. To look for schneeballen in a variety of flavors ranging from expected (like fruit and chocolate) to surprising (like cheese and garlic). And true to their name, schneeballen are not little powdered sweet treats like Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes. Instead, they’re the size of your fist, just like a hand-wrapped missile ready for a snowball fight!
Pro tip: Schneeballen keep for up to eight weeks, so you can buy a dozen at a Christmas market and take them to a New Years Eve party!
Known as chimney cake in English, baumstriezel looks a bit like what you would have left if you carefully slid the hot dog out of a bagel dog. It is made by wrapping long strips of slightly sweet yeast dough around a thick skewer. After the buttercream is fully cooked, the chimney cake is sprinkled with toppings like cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips, and crushed nuts.
Fun fact: Chimney cakes are popular beyond the borders of Germany. In Hungary, they are called kürtőskalács.
For me, nothing cries out: “Hooray, we are in a German Christmas market!” quite like a steaming cup of gluhwein. This very hot red wine spiced with cloves, cinnamon, orange and lemon zest is usually served in a special souvenir mug unique to the Christmas market each year. Visitors are usually charged a deposit for the cup, usually around $ 5. If you return the mug, the money will be refunded to you, but you can also keep it for the deposit amount.
Pro tip: If you are a wine lover, chances are you will want to sip gluhwein to stay warm this winter even after Christmas decorations have been put away. Use this recipe to make it at home, and I highly recommend that you follow the directions for making mulled wine in your slow cooker.
Some people call this egg punch German eggnog, but I think they’re quite different. First, eggnog is almost always sipped cold while eierpunsch is served lukewarm. Eggnog is made by stirring a combination of milk, egg yolks and cream enhanced with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg over low heat until it thickens. It can be served as a non-alcoholic holiday drink or with a glass of rum or other liquor. In comparison, eierpunsch is a drink always watered with white wine and egg liqueur enhanced with vanilla extract and cinnamon.
16. Heisse Schokolade
Sobers and children alike can stay warm while browsing vendor stalls at a German-style Christmas market with a mug of hot chocolate topped with fresh whipped cream. Many Christmas markets offer schokolade heisse with a little pinch for adults, and whether you order your own leaded or unleaded, you can often get it in the same cute collector’s mug as the gluhwein and eierpunsch.
Whether you want to stock up on sausage and cutlets, satisfy your sweet tooth, or just sip adult hot drinks while browsing vendor stalls, these are the most delicious German food to try at a Christmas market.
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