The holiday season is a magical time filled with joy, warmth, and delectable treats. One of the most enchanting traditions during this time is visiting German Christmas markets, where the air is filled with the aroma of delicious food and the streets come alive with festive decorations. German Christmas market food is renowned for its rich flavors, traditional recipes, and comforting appeal. In this blog post, we will take a mouthwatering journey through the culinary delights that grace the stalls of German Christmas markets.
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The Irresistible Delights of German Christmas Market Food
After living in Germany for almost 2 years, I’ve attended my fair share of Christmas markets which is why I needed to share some of the best German Christmas market food and drinks you need to try. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when getting Christmas market food in Germany since there are so many things to try.
Although you might be asking what do you eat in Germany for Christmas? Some do involve Christmas market food and some include a big Christmas dinner like duck, potatoes, and a lot of other delicious sides you would eat during Christmas in Germany.
As we explore the diverse array of German Christmas market food, it becomes apparent that many culinary delights have been influenced by the surrounding countries within Europe. The rich tapestry of flavors and traditions interweaves German cuisine with elements from neighboring nations.
From French-inspired Flammkuchen to Hungarian-origin Baumstriezel, German Christmas market food beautifully showcases the fusion of culinary influences. This harmonious blend creates a unique and captivating experience for visitors, allowing them to savor the best of not only German cuisine but also the broader European gastronomic heritage.
Get ready to indulge in mouthwatering German Christmas market food and create unforgettable culinary memories during this magical time of year.
Most Popular German Christmas Market Foods
Flammkuchen or as the French say Tarte Flambée
Flammkuchen, also known as tarte flambée, is a mouthwatering dish that originates from the Alsace region of France but has become a popular staple at German Christmas markets. This thin and crispy flatbread is traditionally made with a simple yeast dough that is rolled out into a thin crust. It is then topped with a layer of crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions, and bacon lardons. The combination of creamy, tangy crème fraîche, savory onions, and smoky bacon creates a delectable medley of flavors.
Flammkuchen is typically baked in a hot oven, resulting in a crisp crust and lightly charred edges. The dish can also be customized with additional toppings like mushrooms, cheese, or herbs, adding extra depth and variety to the flavor profile. It is quite similar to flatbread pizza but much thinner.
Bratwurst and Currywurst
German Christmas market food is not complete without indulging in the traditional dish and quintessential bratwurst or currywurst. Bratwurst, a type of German sausage, is traditionally made with pork, beef, or veal and is often served in a fresh roll or with a side of sauerkraut.
Currywurst, on the other hand, is a variation of bratwurst smothered in a tangy tomato-based or sweet curry ketchup sauce with a hint of curry powder. The combination of the juicy sausage and the flavorful accompaniments makes these dishes an absolute delight for the taste buds.
These are German staples and are typically found every day of the year, but it doesn’t make a German Christmas Market complete without it.
Pretzels and Brezeln
Another staple of German Christmas market food is the beloved pretzel or brezel. These twisted, golden-brown baked treats are often sprinkled with coarse salt and served warm. The dough is soft and chewy on the inside while boasting a slightly crunchy crust. Whether enjoyed on their own or filled with butter, pretzels are a satisfying snack that will keep you coming back for more.
Lángos is a delightful Hungarian street food popular at German Christmas markets, becoming a popular and indulgent treat. This deep-fried flatbread is made from a yeast-based dough that is stretched into a thin, oval shape and then cooked until golden and crispy. Lángos is typically served hot and topped with a variety of savory ingredients. Traditional toppings include garlic, sour cream, grated cheese, and sometimes even chopped bacon or sausages.
Raclette, a popular Swiss dish, has made its way to German Christmas market food, captivating visitors with its enticing aroma and indulgent flavors. Raclette involves melting a specific type of cheese, also known as Raclette cheese, and serving it over various accompaniments. Traditionally, a wheel of Raclette cheese is heated until it becomes molten and gooey. The melted cheese is then scraped onto a plate and enjoyed with boiled potatoes, pickles, onions, and cured meats such as ham or salami. You will even find spätzle – a type of German egg noodle, topped with Raclette cheese.
Käsespätzle, a beloved dish from the Alpine regions of Germany and Austria, is a must-try German Christmas market food. This comforting and hearty dish consists of tender egg noodles called Spätzle, which are cooked until soft and then layered with grated cheese. The cheese used in Käsespätzle is typically a strong and flavorful variety such as Emmental or Gruyère. The layers of Spätzle and cheese are repeated, creating a delicious and melty cheesy delight. The dish is often baked in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, forming a golden crust on top. It’s quite similar to mac and cheese but better!
Gebrannte Mandeln, or roasted almonds, are a popular German Christmas Market Food snack that’s aroma bring you into the market itself. The preparation of Gebrannte Mandeln involves coating whole almonds in a caramelized sugar mixture infused with vanilla or cinnamon. The almonds are then roasted to perfection, resulting in a crunchy and sweet exterior that gives way to a rich, toasty almond at the center. Gebrannte Mandeln is often served in paper cones, allowing market-goers to enjoy them as they stroll through the festive atmosphere. The smell of these really makes you feel like it’s Christmas time.
Kartoffelpuffer, also known as German potato pancakes, are a delicious and comforting treat found in German Christmas market food. Made from grated potatoes mixed with eggs, flour, and seasonings, these pancakes are shallow-fried until golden and crispy. They are typically served with a dollop of sour cream or apple sauce, adding a delightful contrast to the savory flavor of the pancakes. Kartoffelpuffer are a popular choice for those seeking a warm and filling snack during the chilly winter months.
Pommes aka Fries
Pommes also known as fries are literally a staple in German cuisine. Pomme Frites or “french fries” – which are actually not French, originated in Belgium which is a neighbor country to Germany which is no wonder why it’s so popular in every market, every festival, and every concert within Germany. You will always be able to find freshly made fries wherever you go. It’s a staple and basic. Don’t forget to eat it the way many Europeans do, with Mayo. Like the Mandeln, these are typically served in a paper cone as well.
Knoblauchbrot, or garlic bread, is a savory delight that features a warm and crusty bread roll similar to pizza crust, often coated with a generous amount of garlic butter and sprinkled with fresh herbs like parsley. It’s also covered in shredded cheese with a tad of creamy garlic sauce. It honestly tastes quite similar to garlic bread or garlic pizza and it’s absolutely delicious and a must-have German Christmas market food.
Grilled Fish or Eel
Grilled fish or eel is a delectable and unique offering that can be found at German Christmas markets, particularly those located near bodies of water. Grilled fish, such as trout or mackerel, is prepared by seasoning the fish with herbs, spices, and a touch of lemon before being cooked on an open grill. The result is a moist and succulent fish or eel with a delightful smoky flavor. It’s quite delicious if you love seafood.
Champignons, also known as button mushrooms, are a savory delight that adds a flavorful touch to the culinary offerings at German Christmas markets. At German Christmas markets, you’ll find vendors skillfully sautéing champignons in butter with garlic, herbs, and spices, creating a tantalizing aroma that wafts through the air. These tender and succulent mushrooms are then served in different ways, from being tucked into warm and crusty bread rolls to being featured as a topping for hearty bratwursts or served simply on a plate with a cream sauce poured over.
Whether enjoyed as a standalone snack or incorporated into a mouthwatering dish, the presence of champignons at German Christmas markets are a must eat at any German Christmas market. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the goodness of champignons at the festive atmosphere of German Christmas market food. Sometimes they also put these into sandwiches as well which are a must try.
This indulgent treat features a wheel of Camembert cheese that is coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried to perfection. The result is a golden-brown crust that encases a warm and gooey interior of melted cheese. The creamy and slightly tangy flavor of the Camembert pairs wonderfully with the crispy texture of the breadcrumbs. Fried Camembert is often served with a side of cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam, which adds a touch of sweetness and complements the richness of the cheese.
Schupfnudeln, a delicious specialty from southern Germany, are a delightful treat that is a German Christmas market food that can be enjoyed. These elongated, finger-shaped dumplings are made from a dough consisting of potatoes, flour, and eggs. The dough is rolled into thin logs, cut into small pieces, and then shaped into a slightly curved form, similar to a miniature canoe or gnocchi. Schupfnudeln are typically pan-fried until golden and crispy on the outside, while remaining soft and tender on the inside.
Schupfnudeln can be served in various ways, depending on regional preferences and personal taste. They are often enjoyed as a savory dish, accompanied by traditional accompaniments such as sauerkraut, caramelized onions, or bacon.
German Christmas Market Desserts
Besides savory German Christmas Market food, there are many delectable desserts that truly make it feel like Christmas in Germany.
Crepes and Waffles
Crepes and waffles are delicious treats that are often found at German Christmas markets, adding to the culinary delights on offer. These beloved European classics have become staples at these festive gatherings, satisfying both sweet and savory cravings. These are some fan favorites for many festivals not only at German Christmas Markets.
Honestly, I prefer the savory crepes filled with ham and cheese – these are my favorites and must-have. However, they are typically topped with sweet toppings. From classics like Nutella, fresh fruit, or powdered sugar to more indulgent options like whipped cream, caramel, or chocolate sauce, the choices are endless.
Sweet waffles can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings, such as powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruits, or a drizzle of syrup. Sometimes you might find savory waffle options topped with smoked salmon, ham or cheese.
Dampfnudel is a traditional German yeast dumpling. These fluffy and steamed dumplings are made from a yeast-based dough, which is shaped into small rounds and then placed in a covered pot or pan to steam. The process of steaming creates a soft and tender texture, with a slightly crispy bottom. Dampfnudel can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory variations. It like a fluffy bread covered in a sauce and cinnamon.
Baumstriezel or Chimney Cake
Baumstriezel, also known as Chimney Cake, is a delightful pastry that originated in Transylvania and has become a beloved treat at German Christmas markets. This sweet spiral of delight is created by wrapping a yeasted dough around a cylindrical spit and baking it to perfection. The result is a golden-brown, caramelized exterior with a soft and fluffy interior. The Baumstriezel offers a delightful combination of textures and flavors, from the satisfying crunch of the outer layer to the sweetness of the sugar and spice coating.
This delicious treat can be enjoyed plain or adorned with an assortment of toppings, such as powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, nuts, or cocoa. The Baumstriezel’s enchanting appearance, enticing aroma, and delectable taste make it a must-try treat at German Christmas markets and beyond. Whether you’re seeking a special dessert, a comforting snack, or a festive delight to share with loved ones, indulging in a Baumstriezel will transport you to a world of sweetness and joy. These are one of my favorite German Christmas market foods.
Stollen is a traditional German Christmas fruitcake that is an absolute must-try at any Christmas market. This dense and rich bread is made with a yeast dough that is enriched with butter, dried fruits, almonds, and an assortment of warming spices. The loaf is often dusted with powdered sugar, adding a touch of elegance to its rustic appearance. Stollen is a delightful treat that pairs perfectly with a cup of hot glühwein (mulled wine), creating a comforting combination that will leave you feeling cozy and content.
Schmalzkuchen, also known as German doughnuts or fried dough balls, are a heavenly delight that will satisfy any sweet tooth. These small, deep-fried pastries have a crispy exterior and a soft, doughy interior. They are often dusted with powdered sugar and can be enjoyed plain or filled with delectable fillings such as jam or Nutella. The aroma of freshly fried schmalzkuchen wafting through the Christmas market is enough to entice anyone to grab a bag and savor the sugary goodness.
Fruchtspieße and Paradiesäpfel
Fruchtspieße, also known as fruit skewers, and Paradiesäpfel, or candy apples, are delightful sweet treats that can be found at German Christmas markets.
Fruchtspieße consist of skewers loaded with a colorful assortment of fresh fruits. The fruits are often diced or cut into bite-sized pieces and then threaded onto the skewer, creating an enticing display. Common fruits used in Fruchtspieße include strawberries, grapes, pineapple chunks, melon, and kiwi.
Paradiesäpfel, on the other hand, are a classic indulgence that bring back childhood memories. These candy-coated apples are a true delight for the senses. Crisp apples are covered in a glossy, hardened sugar coating, creating a sweet and crunchy shell. The candy coating is often dyed in vibrant colors, adding a festive touch.
Marzipan is a beloved sweet treat that holds a special place at German Christmas markets. This confectionery delight is made from a mixture of ground almonds, sugar, and sometimes a touch of almond extract or rosewater. The resulting paste is then shaped into various forms, such as fruits, animals, or small bite-sized pieces, which are often intricately decorated by skilled artisans. You will find these at many Christmas market stalls.
Lebkuchen, or German gingerbread cookies, is an integral part of the Christmas market experience. These spiced, soft cookies are often shaped into hearts, stars, or other festive designs and decorated with icing or sugar glaze. Lebkuchen is made with a combination of honey, nuts, and aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. The resulting flavor is a harmonious blend of sweetness and warmth that embodies the essence of the holiday season.
Schaumkuss, also known as foam kiss, Mohrenkopfe, or marshmallow treat, is a beloved confectionery delight that can be found at German Christmas markets. This sweet treat consists of a soft and fluffy marshmallow filling enclosed in a thin layer of chocolate or colorful glaze. The name “Schaumkuss” translates to “foam kiss,” which perfectly captures the light and airy texture of the marshmallow filling. If you want, you can head to a grocery store and look for Dickmans where you can grab a box of these to bring home as a souvenir year-round.
Most Popular Drinks You Must Have
Paired perfectly with delicious German foods, these are some must German Christmas Market drinks you should indulge on.
Glühwein, a beloved traditional beverage of hot wine, is a quintessential part of the German Christmas market experience. This hot and spiced mulled wine warms the heart and infuses the air with its delightful aroma. Glühwein is made by gently heating red wine with a blend of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and orange peel. The combination of these aromatic spices creates a fragrant and comforting drink that embodies the essence of the holiday season.
Served piping hot, Glühwein is traditionally enjoyed in a festive Christmas mug, often adorned with Christmas market motifs which many people save as souvenirs. They are often with the years date and market location. Each Christmas market in Germany has a different design. You sometimes have a variety of glühwein with a choice of red wine or white wine.
Glühwein is not just a beverage; it is an experience. The first sip envelops you in a delightful blend of flavors, where the sweetness of the wine is balanced by the warmth of the spices. The aromatic spices impart a cozy and festive feeling, creating a sense of togetherness and merriment.
Kinderpunsch, meaning “children’s punch” in German, is a non-alcoholic beverage that is a perfect treat for younger visitors at German Christmas markets. This sweet and flavorful drink is specially crafted to provide a festive and enjoyable experience for children during the holiday season.
Kinderpunsch is typically made by simmering a combination of fruit juices, such as apple or orange juice, with warming spices like cinnamon and cloves. The result is a deliciously fragrant and comforting drink that captures the spirit of Christmas.
Feuerzangenbowle is a traditional German Christmas drink that is as visually stunning as it is delicious it is an alcoholic drink. The name translates to “fire tongs punch” and refers to the unique preparation method that involves a sugarloaf being soaked in rum and set on fire with an open flame.
To make Feuerzangenbowle, a large bowl of red wine is gently heated with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel. The highlight of this beverage is the “Feuerzange” or fire tongs, which is a metal grate that holds a sugarloaf above the bowl. The sugarloaf is soaked in rum and then set ablaze, allowing the flaming sugar to slowly drip into the bowl, infusing the punch with caramelized sweetness and adding a mesmerizing visual element.
Heiße Schokolade, or hot chocolate, is a beloved beverage that provides a comforting and indulgent treat during the winter season, including at German Christmas markets. This velvety drink is made by melting high-quality chocolate or cocoa powder into warm milk, resulting in a rich and creamy concoction. This is a classic I feel everywhere around the world during Christmas.
Glühbier is a hot drink similar to Glühwein except with beer. Similar to Glühwein, which is mulled wine, Glühbier is beer that has been heated and infused with various spices and flavors, creating a cozy and aromatic beverage. Glühbier offers a comforting and seasonal alternative for beer enthusiasts who want to enjoy a warm beverage during the winter months.
The process of making Glühbier involves gently heating the beer, often a darker or maltier variety, with a combination of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel. Sometimes additional ingredients like honey or brown sugar are added to enhance the sweetness. The warming spices and flavors infuse into the beer, creating a unique and festive taste experience.
Eierpunsch, also known as egg punch or eggnog, is a delightful and creamy beverage that is often enjoyed during the winter season, including at German Christmas markets. This indulgent drink is made with a combination of egg yolks, milk, sugar, and spices.
Jagertee is typically made by combining black tea, rum, red wine, citrus fruits, and a variety of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and star anise. The mixture is gently heated, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a comforting and aromatic drink.
Grog is a classic hot alcoholic beverage that has a long history and is enjoyed during the winter season in many countries, including at German Christmas markets. This comforting and warming drink is made by combining hot water or tea with spirits, typically rum, and is often sweetened with sugar or honey.
German Christmas Market Food Overview
German Christmas market food is a celebration of flavors, traditions, and the joy of the holiday season. From sizzling bratwurst to spicy currywurst, from warm pretzels to indulgent stollen, the array of culinary delights found in German Christmas markets is truly remarkable. These festive treats not only tantalize the taste buds but also create an atmosphere of warmth and togetherness. So, this holiday season, be sure to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of German Christmas market food and experience the magic it brings to your palate.
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