Day 6: Festive Treats Found at Christmas Markets.
I have always believed that one of the most beautiful things about educational travel is that not only do you get to see and learn about historic places and meet new people, but that you get to experience different cultures through their food. During the holiday season, yummy and festive treats seem to be all around us especially at Christmas markets. If you’d like to learn more about the intriguing history of the beloved European Christmas market, please click here. I briefly mentioned in that post just some of the glorious food options you’ll encounter, and today I’d like to share more with you about those treats that you too can enjoy on your next Christmas market visit.
Christmas markets have long been a central gathering place for friends, loved ones, neighbors, and travelers. Here they can meet and enjoy each other’s company over delicious food and piping hot beverages as they meander through the stalls perusing the fine handicrafts and other gifts. From sweet treats to savory sausage dogs and warming drinks, Christmas markets are full of wonderful aromas and a feast for the eyes.
The hardest decision is what to try first?
One of the most popular items and one of my favorites is sipping on a comforting mug of Gluhwein. This favored drink is a warm blend of red wine, oranges, and an assortment of spices. Similar to Glogg and Mulled wine, Gluhwein is the perfect blend of Christmas in a cup for those blustery winter days. Sure to warm the cockles of your heart! It’s simply THE drink to have! Often times you can even purchase the collectible souvenir mug from the vendor with the markets name and date. An excellent gift that is sure to remind you of your travels every time you use it.
Next up are a classic Christmas treat, roasted chestnuts! Mmm be sure to pick up a bag of these when you spot them and enjoy that tantalizing aroma and flavor. Warm, soft, and very fragrant, they are sure to bring that famous Nat King Cole song to mind. There’s nothing quite like it, and they will always be symbolic to me of Christmas in Europe. Perfect for a cold winter’s night!
What’s Christmas without gingerbread?! Various places around the world have their own version of this simple but holiday necessity. Full of warming spices and the perfect snap, what’s not to love?
One popular biscuit that is similar to gingerbread is German Lebkuchen. Sure to be found at all German Christmas markets, Lebkuchen is a honey-sweetened cookie or bar cookie. It has been a part of Germany’s Christmas traditions for many years. So good…
Another well known German treat at Christmas time is the stollen. Eaten during the festive season in Germany, Stollen is a rich and dense fruit bread packed with dried or candied fruit, nuts, spices and topped with either powdered sugar or icing sugar. Some even include a center of marzipan! The rich decadence of stollen makes it a perfect treat to give to family and friends.
Linzer cookies are also a special holiday cookie that you’re sure to see. A soft, sugar cookie, Linzers have a thin layer of jam in the middle and a fun cutout shape often attributed to the holidays.
Lastly, if you’re in the mood for something a little more savory, I suggest trying the ever popular sausage. The crown jewel of any market, sausages can readily be found in all Christmas markets across Europe. They are a go to staple that will never disappoint. Served piping hot in a bun layered your choice of ketchup, mustard, or other toppings sausages or Bratwurst, are both delicious and filling. With various styles, meats, spiciness, and toppings, sausages are worth a try! They are so delicious you might even go back for another one! I won’t tell anybody though…
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I have only really just begun to scratch the surface of all the amazing treats that can be found in Christmas markets. Perhaps a smell grabs your attention or you see a yummy treat a few stalls down, whatever the case the food at Christmas markets plays a huge role in the experience and is definitely a highlight for any student tour. I mean is there really a better way to kick off or end your educational student tour than a visit to one of these popular European markets during the festive period all while eating your heart out?!
Each Christmas market showcases a unique side to their country and regions so you’ll have no shortage of things to sample. With a wide assortment of the most enticing food selections it’s like a walking buffet for the senses. You simply must try everything so be sure to bring an appetite!
You are on vacation after all…