During Advent, the darkest days of winter are also the brightest. In Germany it is especially festive with street markets bringing people outside even in frigid, inhospitable weather. This tradition has been an annual event since the Middle Ages in many towns and villages of Germany, the Alsace region in France and Tyrol in Italy. Today Christmas Markets are a regular feature across much of the European continent and have been adopted in Canada, the United States and as far off as Singapore and Japan.
Above: The Bavarian Christmas tree is 30 meters tall
Above: Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies)
With a few hours to spare in Frankfurt before my Sunday evening flight, I wanted to go to the best party in town. There is no need for an invitation and or even a specific address- stretching across the heart of the old city, it is impossible to miss. With the aptly named St Nicholas Church residing over the square, Frankfurt’s Christmas market is one of the oldest and largest in Germany. There are over 200 colorfully decorated stalls offering everything from tasty treats, gifts, Christmas ornaments and the usual festival knickknacks.
Hours since our breakfast croissant in Ribeauville, we were lured by the street food vendors. First, crisp, steaming kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) washed down by a mug of glühwein (mulled wine) to subdue our hunger. When we passed a display of schokokuss in every conceivable flavor (Israelis recognize them as crembo, Americans as Mallomars) I naturally had to stop there too. And how could I leave Frankfurt without trying their bratwursts? Just as I wiped the last of the mustard off my face I discovered poffertjes, adorable mini pancakes from Holland. “Do you want them plain or stuffed with nutella or cherries?” Hmm, the difficult decisions one has to make. On our way out, I spied a booth selling frankfurters and sauerkraut. Since I didn’t know when I would be back in Frankfurt, I ordered a plate as my husband looked on, incredulous “how are you going to eat all that?!” I did, along with generous glugs of apfelwein (apple wine).
Above: Kartoffelpuffer or potato pancakes
Above: Schokokusse which I tried in orange, almond and mint
Above: A variety of sausages
Above: Poffertjes, little pancakes, in this case stuffed with cherries
Above: Gluhwein, mulled wine
Above: The market Christmas tree and St Nicholas Church
Later, struggling against a food coma, a flight attendant rolled by with her trolley and asked innocently “Would you like some dinner?”
More on the Frankfurt Christmas Market:
A big thanks to my twitter friends for the recommendations!