Christmas is one of my favorite seasons to explore and visit Europe and especially the Christmas Markets who are the most fun attractions during this season.
I love markets in general and there’s usually one main reason why I go to the Christmas Markets, and if you are traveling and don’t have a Christmas tree to decorate, food and drinks will be also probably your main reason to visit them.
If you are planning to visit Karlsruhe for the Christmas Markets, you can read more about HERE
They will have some fun activities this year as cutting the biggest “Dambedei” on December 6th!
Food is part of cultural manifestation in every culture, and Germany is no exception to this. People gather around tables or organized meetings in a restaurant, a bar or a house to share with family and friends all year along.
Christmas season is not different related to this topic and food is one of the main attraction in Christmas celebrations and in every Christmas Markets.
What can you find at the German Christmas Markets?
Some of the preparations you will find in Karlsruhe Christmas Markets (and in most of the Christmas Markets in Germany) are:
The kings in every Christmas Market in Germany are Sausages. They come in different sizes, meat and preparations and they are all worth to try and enjoy!
The first time I went to Germany I was vegetarian (I was one for almost 11 years until 2010) and it was not until last year when I went back and finally tried all the sausages, hams and meat offered in the country.
In the Christmas Markets, you usually find two or three different barbequed sausages, you can get them inside a bread with mustard or as a Currywurst with a special sauce and French fries. Don’t miss my favorite: the Bratwurst!.
Schupfnudeln with Sauerkraut
This mix is the perfect match for the cold days. Schupfnudeln is the version of a German gnocchi, potato pasta with Sauerkraut is a very thin sliced fermented cabbage with a very characteristic flavor. You will find it as a sider in many German preparations around the country.
When most of us think about pizzas we immediately have Italy in our minds. But in France they mastered the art of doing a very unique and delicious version of it called “Tarte Flambeé”, in the areas close to the Alsace in Germany this is called Flammkuchen, a thin dough baked usually in a wood-fired oven, mixing ingredients as cream cheese with ham, vegetables and more.
The first time I’ve tried this was in Strasbourg and they also do a version with a baguette that is definitely worth to try!
Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen
Back in 2009 when I was doing my Internship as a Physical Therapist in Luxemburg it was also my first time in a Christmas Market, and after I’ve tried this it became my favorite Christmas food ever!
If you like french fries, this is the upscale version of them. Thin and crunchy it’s served usually in portions of three and you can add your favorite topping, from mashed apples to cream cheese.
When you see a long line of hungry people waiting patiently to buy their food it will be probably the Langos place!
This thin fried dough is originally from Hungary but it has spread not only in Europe and is one of everybody’s favorite (except mine…I’m sorry Germans!!)
As you walk through any market or fair in Germany you will suddenly feel this characteristic smell.
The flavor is delicious although the strong smell around them, and you can add your favorite topping or enjoy them simply as they come.
These egg noodles are usually found in Southern Germany and come alone with cheese in fairs and markets. It’s also found as a side in juicy dishes.
This delicious and way better version of the plastic-flavored Mac and cheese is a real tasty preparation to enjoy with good beer not only in the Christmas Markets but through all the year.
The German version of Italian ravioli is big and delicious!
This traditional dish was created in Swabia in Baden-Wurtemberg area and it was recognized as a regional specialty by the European Union in 2009.
They are usually shaped in squares of 8-12cm and the pasta dough is filled with a mix of minced meat, onions, and herbs. You can find them in almost every restaurant as salad, main dish, in a soup, or fried. Is one of my favorites in this area!
Waffles and Crêpes
This delicious dough is eaten all over the World and having many local variations. You can find Waffles and Crêpes in many markets and fairs you will find them freshly made with a wide range of ingredients as a topping. My favorite? Nutella and strawberries!
In the picture, Middle Age waffles were being cooked in the Medieval Market in Esslingen, one of my favorites!!!
These delicious steamed rolls are found in Germany in the areas of Bavaria and the Palatinate. These soft yeast dough cooked in a sealed pot and it literally means steamed noodles.
They are usually served as a sweet main course in some restaurants or houses, and in the Christmas Markets, you can find them as a sweet dish swimming in vanilla sauce with jam or powdered sugar. They can also be found in a savory version with bechamel sauce.
In Germany, they take baking seriously and they display its best around the end of the year when Christmas cookies are made to perfection. It’s something you don’t usually buy at the supermarket…but you baked them! Perhaps you find some in the bakeries or patisseries, but for sure in almost every home you will find few different shapes and flavors to enjoy during the season.
I used to bake cookies with my mother and sister in Chile but, Christmas cookies for us were butter cookies.
Roasted almonds and other nuts and warm chestnuts.
Not everything at the Christmas Markets is baked or cooked, you can also find a wide variety of sweets, candies, and a usual healthier option in roasted nuts and cooked chestnuts. But everybody’s favorites are the ones covered in sugar, try them when they are still warm!
The Stollen is a traditional raisin cake made with yeast, water, and flour following the Christian doctrine of fasting during the Advent time. This fruitcake is also containing different spices as cinnamon, cardamom, almonds and candied orange and lemon peel.
This traditional German cake is originally from Dresden, where it’s even a pastry makers Stollen Association to preserve the traditional recipe and it can be recognized by a golden seal of quality.
This is the name for a variety of honey cakes, pastries, and cookies made with a unique combination of ingredients dating from the 13th century, invented by monks in Franconia.
In former times, it was used by Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians as a gift and a talisman, believing honey was having healing and magical powers. Lately, it was used in pre-Christian times to eat with the strong beer, thanks to its mix of stomach-friendly spices, such as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, anise, clove, coriander and black pepper. Today’s owner of the traditional recipe is in Nuremberg, being the former location for the passage of the trade routes between Orient and Europe.
They are somehow similar to gingerbread and they can come in different shapes, from a square to circles or hearts, covered with chocolate or glazed, and all definitely delicious!
WHAT TO DRINK AT THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN GERMANY
The most popular drinks at the markets are definitely Glühwein or beer when it’s “too warm” for mulled wine.
Both are the protagonists of the German Christmas Markets, but of course, you’ll find more options:
It’s almost impossible to miss this preparation during Christmas season, it’s not only served in the Christmas Markets, but also in almost every restaurant in the country.
It’s a sweet and warm preparation of mulled wine includes wine (red or white) and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and orange.
Remember to keep in mind there is a deposit for the beautiful cups where you drink your beverages, you can choose to start your own collection or give them back to get your Euros back.
Feuerzangenbowle (mulled wine punch with rum and even more sugar),
If you like Glühwein but you want to drink something a bit stronger, this is exactly the same combination but it includes rum, it literally means “fire punch” and for a good reason!.
Met (honey hot wine)
This is a softer version of the traditional Glühwein which is usually made with red wine. The Met is prepared with white wine and sweetened with honey, giving it a very special and great flavor.
Hot chocolate, hot fruit punches.
As not everyone wants to drink alcoholic beverages in the Christmas Markets you can also find, a good offer of non-alcoholic drinks as hot chocolates or fruit punches.
This alcoholic drink is prepared with brandy, sugar, vanilla….and yes…egg yolks, Most of the people really likes it but, let me be honest, I prefer to drink water than drinking this, the smell and the flavor are…too much for my taste, lol.
What’s your favorite delicacy to eat or drink at the German Christmas Markets?