Since 2014 I have found myself travelling to Germany (Hamburg & Berlin specifically) every year for their Christmas Markets. Germany is known for it’s extravagant Christmas Markets just like New York is known for it’s amazing Christmas lights and decorations – it’s a pretty big deal!
You can find a variety of stalls at the Christmas markets selling decorations, souvenirs and clothes – but the most important stalls are the ones selling food and drinks.
Below I’ll be sharing 11 dishes and drinks you HAVE to try at a German Christmas Market
You cannot LEAVE Germany without eating any sausages – I’ve heard that your passport gets revoked if you do (that’s just the rules, I don’t make them). Germany is known for their sausages and I must admit that they sure know how to advertise them at the Christmas Markets. If you see a big swing circular grill hanging from the ceilings of the hut, that’s where you will find your sausages sizzling away at. The sausages are usually 1 metre long and served with a crispy bread-roll. There are 3 common sausages you can find at the Christmas Markets:
- Thüringer Bratwurst – White sausage (the ‘default’ sausage)
- Krakauer – Pink sausage with spices (my new fave!)
- Currywurst – is a choice between the Thüringen Bratwurst or Krakauer sausage served in a curry ketchup sauce with sprinkled curry powder on top
Sparnfenkel is roasted suckling pig – it’s roasted on a rotisserie for hours making it crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. This is served in a crusty bread roll with mustard or ketchup. This will blow your tastebuds off and make you question “Could this possibly be the best thing I’ve tasted?!” The pork is so tender it melts in your mouth, it’s incredible!
3. DRESDNER HANDBROT
Dresdner Handbrot translated to English is Dresden Handbread. The freshly baked hand-bread has a savoury filling of ham and cheese with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chives on top. I’m already drooling…send help
* I have only seen this stall at Hamburg Rathaus ChristmasMarket, but I did come across a similar stall ‘Berliner Handbrot’ at the Christmas Market near Ku-Damm, Berlin.
‘Kartoffel’ translated to English is potato and one thing to take away from this blog post is that Germans love their potatoes just like West Africans love rice. You can find dedicated huts for different potato dishes – fries, freshly made potato crisps (chips if you’re from the U.S), roasted, boiled, potato fritters… you name it!
5. GEBRANNTE MANDELN
Deep-fried dough pieces covered in an unreasonable amount of powdered sugar (or Nutella or another sweet sauce of your choice), eaten with a skewer – you couldn’t ask for anything more!
Pfannkuchen are just crepes, and who doesn’t love a good old crepe aye? The crepe huts offer a variety of fillings, including Nutella, Kinder chocolate, Ham, Cheese and even liqueur. When it comes to Crepes, it’s definitely savoury over sweet fillings (argue with yourself).
8. CHOCOLATE COVERED FRUIT
This was when you wanted your five a day but also covered in chocolate. Couldn’t just have the chocolate on its own could you – I mean where’s the balance in that? This snack was the epitome of my “balanced-diet” (and could be yours too!)
9. HEIßE SCHOKOLADE
Hot chocolate! I mean you can’t go wrong with hot chocolate. I detest hot drinks, but I was pleasantly surprised with the one I tasted at the Christmas market. It was so rich and so creamy and definitely not too sweet! I wouldn’t recommend it for the lactose-intolerant rebels, it’s too risky if you know what I mean
Glühwein is mulled wine, which is concoction of red wine and mulling spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and dried fruit) served hot. You can also add a shot of alcohol to your Glühwein to kick it up a notch! This hot drink definitely comes in handy at the Christmas markets as Germany can be brutally cold in November/December – so treat yourself to one or five (who’s really counting?) Most important thing is that your warm right
11. GLÜHWEIN APFEL-ZIMT
This is the Apple-Cinnamon flavoured Mulled Wine. Hands down my favourite drink at the Markets! The Apple juice makes it sweeter and the cinnamon is not overbearing. If you’re not a fan of the original Mulled Wine, I would recommend getting this!
*Majority of the hot drinks you purchase come in a cute Christmas decorated mug, which you pay a deposit (Pfand) and stall owners will give you a token for it. For example, if the Glühwein costs €3 and Pfand is €3- your total will be €6. You can keep these mugs as a souvenir or you can return it back to the stall with the token and get your deposit (Pfand) back, which is usually no more than €3.