10 Nov 2016
These days Christmas Markets are everywhere – from Glasgow to Bath, Winchester to York, with thousands of us flocking to get our fill of Bratwurst and Gluhwein, with stalls setting up shop in major cities across the UK from mid-November onwards. The markets are great places to buy unusual gifts, but they also make for a fantastic day out, with lots of edible delights to partake of.
Here are our Top 10 eats and treats, in reverse order of deliciousness:
With the words ‘cinnamon’, ‘sugar’ and ‘candied’ in the title, these nutty nibbles sell themselves. As you walk among the various stalls, the aroma of what can only be described as ‘Christmas’ wafts through the air, leading you in a Pied-Piper-style trance towards the sweet treats. They’re warm, they’re tasty and they’re plentiful, which means you can share a bag of these with your friends – after all, ‘tis the season of giving!
Everyone knows that to stay on Santa’s ‘nice list’, you have to leave him cookies on Christmas Eve. Leave him a plate filled with Lebkuchen, a traditional German gingerbread biscuit, and he’ll set you up with pressies for life! Make sure you get him the best ones by sampling a few first. We’d recommend the dark chocolate ones...or the ones that have a thin layer of smooth icing...or the ones coated with icing AND sprinkles... Well, you get the idea – they’re all fantastic and will most definitely keep you in the main man’s good books.
The drink that launched a million Christmas markets, Gluhwein is a must-try if you want to do the markets properly. A heady mix of red wine, spices and a strong spirit (often brandy), this boozy beverage is usually served warm in souvenir mug. You can, of course, return the mug and claim back your deposit...or keep it as a memento!
We’re not talking about those tiny, salty, hard snacks that are never quite as nice as a bag of crisps. No, we’re talking about soft and warm, chewy and doughy, giant knots of sheer Heaven. With their handy grab holes, they’re the perfect on-the-go snack and they’re the ideal companion to the aforementioned Gluhwein.
Most of the Christmas markets we see in the UK have strong Germanic ties and what’s more German than the bratwurst? At the markets you can’t move for Bratwurst stands, tasty sausages traditionally served with onions, sauerkraut and mustard. One of the most popular toppings is curry sauce, turning the humble ‘brat’ into a currywurst. So, if you’re heading to the markets, make sure you try one of Germany’s most famous offerings. Really, what the wurst that could happen?!
While it’s all about personal preference, we unashamedly rank Apfelwein higher on this list than its more traditional cousin, Gluhwein. The warm, apple cider isn’t as heavily spiced as Gluhwein, meaning it’s easier to indulge in several mugs of it as you peruse the stalls, choosing just the right gift for crazy Aunt Peggy. Plus, it’s made with apples so it’s practically a health drink!
Essentially the German words for 'sausage' and ‘potato’, the Bratkartoffeln served at the Christmas Markets is genius in its simplicity. It’s entirely possible that, after consuming this snack of fried potatoes, smoked meat and a very healthy dollop of garlic sauce, you may lose all of your friends. For Bratkartoffeln this good, it’s a risk we’re willing to take. On the plus side, vampires will give you a wide berth, too!
So we’ve given you plenty of options for drinks and snacks – what about dessert? There are loads of options at the Christmas markets to choose from, and we can’t pick a favourite between waffles and crepes! Whichever you choose, ensure to smother them in Nutella…
We’ve saved the best for last and, while it may seem that Germany dominates when it comes to festive food, it’s their over-the-border pals, Switzerland, who take the foodie crown. Picture it...a huge wheel of cheese, melted and then scraped in all its ooey-gooey gloriousness onto either potatoes or bread. It’s that unbeatable combination of carbs and cheese and, because it’s Christmas, it’s totally acceptable. So, go forth and indulge in Raclette – it’s your duty as a Christmas Market attendee!
Make the most of the food and drink on offer this festive season - ditch the car and take the bus to your nearest Christmas market. Plan your journey now.