Good food and Gluhwein in the Frankfurt Christmas Market

Starting off the Christmas special with a highlight from last year’s holiday season.  This was first posted in December 2013 right after a weekend trip to Frankfurt.  Hope you’re not too hungry because these food photos will make you want to eat!

Having spent all of December last year in Toronto for our civil wedding, I missed out on all the “Christmas-y” things that Europe has to offer—including and most especially the magical Christmas markets.  We visited the Köln Weihnachtsmarkt (Cologne Christmas Market) in 2011 and the sight of twinkling lights, the intoxicating aroma of glühwein (mulled wine), and the sound of throngs of people in festive spirits are seared into my memory.  So this year, we decided to go back to Germany and visit the Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt—one of the oldest in Europe.  Every year for the past 600 years, there has been a Christmas market in Frankfurt.  On the weekend before Christmas, we decided to take part in the festivities.

The Frankfurt Christmas Market is located in Römerberg square which is about a 15-minute walk from the Central Station (Frankfurt Main Hauptbahnhof) and a lot of hotels.  We followed the crowds and before long, we were in the middle of Frankfurt’s Alstadt (Old Town) surrounded by market stalls, half-timbre houses, and a sea of merry-makers.

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In my opinion (as a self-confessed Christmas fanatic who starts decorating late November), Römerberg Square is a life-size Chrstimas village figurine set.  The half-timbre houses and small gothic church with the pastel-coloured bell tower look perfect with twinkling lights and Christmas wreaths that it’s hard to imagine them without holiday décor.  In fact, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting for a Christmas market.

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There are Christmas village sets that sell for hundreds of dollars that look exactly like Römerberg Square.

There are over 200 stalls in the Frankfurt Christmas Market and you will easily find the Christmas market ‘classics’.  The most popular stalls are those that offer grilled meat dishes and German sausages catering for the meat-lovers…

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Some market stalls have sausages for curtains.

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Left: The German currywurst; Right: A giant swinging grill for all kinds of meat.

…There are stalls that sell Germknödels (steamed dough sweet dumpling), kürtőskalács or chimney cakes, crepes, and other popular desserts and sweet pastries in this region of Europe…

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…You’ll find all kinds of Christmas ornaments especially those carved or made out of wood which German craftsmakers are best known for…

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…and of course, there are bottomless cups of glühwein that are sure to keep you warm as you stroll across the market sampling delicious baked goods, cueing for grilled meat, and browsing through holiday ornaments, or shopping for winter accessories.

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What I particularly loved about the Frankfurt Christmas Market that Cologne didn’t have is the diverse options for visitors who are looking for food options other than the usual German sausages and grilled meat.  Pescatarians will find a lot of delicious fish and shrimp options…

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…and you can also make a bee-line to several stalls that offer cheese fondue—and park yourself there for the rest of the evening…

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Vegetarians can enjoy endless potato snacks—grilled, baked, fried, mashed.  And last but not the least, the absolute crowd favourite:  bowls and bowls of the most scrumptious champignons (mushrooms) with tzatziki sauce that I recommend to everyone whether you’re vegetarian or not.

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Should you ever feel inspired to visit the Frankfurt Christmas Market or any other Christmas market in Europe, and whatever your motivation is—whether it’s the adorable ornaments, the mouthwatering food, the delicious glühwein, or all of the above, I hope you get to share it with friends and loved ones.  After all, Christmas is best experienced with those most dear to us.  Happy Christmas, everyone!

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