A Food Guide to German Christmas Markets

Categories: Family and Kids, Sightseeing, Cultural and History, Shopping, Dining, Entertainment, General Travel Info

Lebkuchen Hearts
Lebkuchen Hearts

[ source: Wikipedia]

In early December the famous German Christmas markets take over town squares all over the country. From tiny villages to major cities, the Christmas markets are a central meeting point for Christmas shopping, getting a drink or a snack, and enjoying the general merriment of the holiday season. Visiting a German Christmas market offers a great opportunity to sample some of the many delicious holiday food and drink options. Here is a guide to some of the top food items at German Christmas markets:

Stollen

Stollen is a traditional German cake that is made at Christmas. Stollen is one of the oldest culinary traditions in Germany and is quite tasty. It’s also remarkable how long it can sit uncovered without becoming stale. The shape and overall appearance of a Stollen is supposed to remind people of baby Jesus wrapped in a white blanket. The main ingredients include butter, flour, sugar, yeast, raisins, and candied lemon and orange peels. Stollen can have various treats hidden inside, such as nuts, quark (cheese), marzipan, almonds, and poppy seeds.

Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen is a traditional Christmas cookie often packaged in a decorative tin or box. Lebkuchen is a sweet honey or pepper cookie with a slightly nutty taste, like nutmeg or allspice, which will surely remind you of gingerbread. They are either rectangular or round and have a crunch to them. While there are numerous regional variations, the most famous is the Nürnberger Lebkuchen. Nürnberg hosts a massive Christmas market each year, and you’ll be sure to find it there. In fact, Nürnberger Lebkuchen is a protected item and can only be produced in the city of Nürnberg.

A fun version of Lebkuchen that makes a great gift is the Lebkuchen Hearts. These are made from a crunchier, harder version of Lebkuchen and are decorated with colored icing. Messages of endearment are quite common on Lebkuchen hearts, and they can be found at German fairs and festivals all year long, particularly the Oktoberfest. Children can also make houses out of squares and rectangles of Lebkuchen, similar to a gingerbread house.

Bratwurst

No trip to a German Christmas market, or Germany in general, would be complete without sampling a Bratwurst. This market treat is simple and filling. Bratwurst are served on a roll and topped with ketchup and mustard. There is a wide variety of Bratwurst, ranging from Berlin’s famous currywurst (a bratwurst cut into small pieces and served in a tangy curry sauce) to other regional delights. In Bavaria you will often find your bratwurst accompanied by sides like potato salad, horseradish, or sauerkraut.

This is just a sampling of the delicious treats awaiting you at the German Christmas markets. Make sure to arrive hungry!



About this Article

Allison Stendardi-Deptolla

This travel guide has been written by Allison Stendardi-Deptolla.

Allison Stendardi-Deptolla is from the U.S. and has spent much of the past two years traveling the world. She currently lives in Munich and loves it. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and works as a freelance writer and editor.

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