By Megan Nicholls
Despite being a lover of German culture, I am admittedly not the biggest fan of the quintessential foundations of German cuisine; bread, beer and Bratwurst! If you find yourself in a similar situation, it definitely doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy plenty of food and drink at traditional German Christmas markets, here in Birmingham or further afield. Read on for some alternative Christmas market delicacies and seasonal inspiration.
Potato pancakes – deep fried crushed potatoes, which are similar to crispy hash browns. They are accompanied by a garlic and herb sauce, or an apple compote – best eaten fresh and hot from the fryer!
Schnitzel – An Austrian favourite, which is a breaded pork or chicken escalope, served in a bread roll or with potatoes.
Pretzels – A classic knot of dough best eaten warm. They can be filled with a variety of sweet and savoury toppings or simply sprinkled with salt.
Raclette– A must-try item for any cheese lover! Although the warm cheese dish originated from Switzerland in France, it is now popular at many Christmas market stalls and is sure to warm you up. Choose from potatoes, onions, bacon and other accompaniments.
Fries- A fast food classic, that cannot be left from this list. A great snack for keeping energy levels high, as you walk around markets in the cold evenings. Germans often sprinkle their fries with paprika and eat with both ketchup and mayonnaise.
Gingerbread hearts – These sweet shapes make a lovely gift, or a great excuse to treat yourself! The gingerbread is iced with endearing messages and decorations, and the dough is harder than an English recipe, so will stay edible for longer.
Caramelised nuts – A signature scent of a Christmas market, as nuts are freshly toasted and covered in sweet syrups. Traditionally almonds are used and sold in cute paper bags, but nowadays they tend to offer a wide variety.
Chocolate covered fruit – A marginally healthy option among many calorie-rich choices! Choose your favourite fruit combination on a skewer and blanketed in white, milk or dark chocolate. Toffee and chocolate covered apples are also popular at many market stalls.
Marshmallow kisses – Fluffy and light marshmallows covered in different flavoured chocolate, there’s definitely one for everyone! I recommend the zebra-striped or honey vanilla varieties. Best of all, you can buy the marshmallows singularly or in a box, so you can enjoy them later at home.
Pancakes – Most markets have crêpe stalls with thin and traditional French pancakes, as well as their smaller and thicker Dutch Poffertjes counterpart. Whichever you opt for, you can drench pancakes in chocolate, fruit, caramel or even a rather alcoholic sauce.
Tipsy hot chocolate – my personal favourite winter drink… hot chocolate with an added shot of Baileys – other liquor and shots are available. Normally served in a souvenir mug that you can keep as a lasting memory of each market you visit.
Punch drink – A non-alcoholic option, which is still packed full of fruity, spiced flavours. Usually advertised as the perfect choice for the designated driver!
Apple wine – An alternative to the much-loved Glühwein, which is especially loved by locals in Frankfurt in Germany. Similar to cider, although it can be served warm or cold.
This is a non-exhaustive list, and I’m sure there are many more tasty treats and tipples waiting to be discovered. Just another excuse to get in the festive spirit!!