This week I wrote an article trying to convince you guys that Christmas season can be one of the best times of the year to visit some cold countries in Europe. After all, it´s Christmas market season! I am suuuuuch a fan of these markets! Therefore, I decided to share here a few dishes I think you guys should look for when you are visiting one. Depending on the city you visit in Germany, the choices can be quite overwhelming. And you do want to aim for the best!
You will hardly find all of the options listed down in one market. Take that as an opportunity to visit more than one while you are here!
. THE FAMOUS SAUSAGE (Käsewurst / Applewurst / Papikrawurst)
You cannot come to Germany and not eat sausage. You just can´t avoid them, even if you tried. Though you can basically find sausage stands everywhere, Christmas Markets are a great place to try the kinds you can´t find that easily off season. Some of them are my ultimate favorite: Cheese sausage, apple sausage and paprika sausage.
The cheese sausage (Käsewurst) is a bratwurst with melted cheese inside. It´s heavenly delicious!! The apple sausage (Apfelwurst) contains minced apple in the meat and is topped with apple chutney. This is seriously the best sausage combination I have ever had! Even my husband, who is German and always chooses the more traditional options, absolutely loved this! The paprika sausage, in its turn, is basically a mildly- spicy sausage. I´m not into hot food so much, but this one is very tasty!
This is a dessert worth of royalty. It is named after Emperor Franz Joseph I who was a fan of this shredded caramelized pancake. It is topped with powdered sugar and served with a side of fruit compote (normally apple or berries). It´s super yummy when you can eat it still hot!
The taste is a lot better than it sounds – this I promise you! Poffertjes are a dutch treat that consist of mini spongy pancakes, served with various toppings. The most common are butter, powdered sugar, syrup, chocolate or strawberry sauce. To me, the combination of these little cuties and strawberries is unbeatable!
This is my husband´s favorite Christmas Market treat! In Hungary, where it comes from, it´s known as Kürtőskalács, and worldwide, as chimney cake. They are basically a golden-brown sweet bread, which roasts in the oven wrapped around an iron stick. It can be topped with chocolate crumbles, coconut, nuts, or poppy seeds, for example. My favorite is still and it will always be the original: sugar with cinnamon. YUM!
Cheese lovers, beware: this one can be highly addictive! Raclette is a Swiss and French dish consisting of scraping off melted cheese of a wheel onto bread. This used to be the medieval peasant food, since cow herders used to melt the cheese next to a campfire in order to eat it with bread after a long working day. God bless them.
This is another Swiss/French dish (how can you not love them?!) that consists of dipping bread inside a pot with a mixture of melted cheese, wine and herbs. Seriously, how could this NOT be good?! By the way, to me this is the perfect food to eat at Christmas´ Markets since it will warm your stomach and it matches the magical romantic atmosphere!
. CARAMELIZED NUTS
You maybe won´t see them right away, but you will smell them as soon as you approach a Christmas Market. Candied almonds, pecans, peanuts, cashews are so connected to this season that you will have no trouble at all finding them. So, why not trying a new flavor every day? The options are endless! My favorite are oreo, raffaello, Bailey´s and cinnamon. But, honestly, you can´t go wrong with any of them!
. CHRISTMAS´ COOKIES
This might be the most traditional treat you will find at a Christmas´ market in Germany. Already in November, people start baking them in order to give them as a gift to family, friends and neighbors. If you are not lucky enough to know a local that can bake cookies for you, no worries: you can buy them yourself at some Christmas Markets, and they taste just as delicious! The choices go from the common cinnamon stars and vanilla crescents to the beautifully decorated Springerle anise cookies and gingerbread biscuits.
I call it a (much) better version of Panettone. Its recipe is also more complex: the Stollen is a sweet bread containing candied/dried fruits inside, as well as nuts and spices. It is finalized with icing sugar on top, which gives it a very Christmassy effect! Its buttery taste will win you over in the first bite! Nowadays, you can find many different versions of it, containing chocolate or marzipan, for example. Still, I prefer the original one, which comes from the city of Dresden (the Dresden Stollen or Striezel), and dates back from the 15th century.
Germany and France share this common dish, which is a much lighter version of pizza. Known as tarte flambée in the Alsace region, the flammkuchen is made from a delicate dough, which becomes crispy and smoky in the oven. There are many topping options, but one of the most common is cheese with pieces of bacon. The flammkuchen is a great option to have at Christmas´ Markets since, differently from pizza, it won´t leave you feeling heavy!
Yes, the good old waffle. Why the heck should you try waffles at a Christmas´ Market when you can eat them all year long? Well, the thing is, off season you won´t find the most Christmassy sauces, as spekulatius (a spiced biscuit) and apple compote with cinnamon. Believe me, they are super yummy! Once you try them, all you will want is to eat waffles during Christmas´ time!