BERLIN, Germany – It’s that time of year when Christmas markets are set up all over Europe. But no other country takes them as seriously as Germany. There’s one in almost every borough of the capital, and around the rest of the country you’ll find some of Europe’s best.
While the ones in Dresden and Nuremberg are always worth a visit, we’re focusing on just Berlin today and some of the things we loved in four of the markets in this city. We went to the ones in Kurfürstendamm, Gendarmenmarkt, Königliche Gartenakademie, and the one in front of Schloss Charlottenburg to see what’s available.
Warm, mulled wine is definitely on top of our list. It’s sweet with a little bit of spice. It warms you right up in the middle of all your Christmas shopping.
Normally, stalls in bigger Christmas Markets have a special mug for the Glühwein and ask you for a deposit which you can get back after you’ve returned it. However, lots of people just take them home. Usually those who collect these mugs, and keep them as souvenirs.
Germany is known for their sweets and Christmas Markets are a haven for them. There’s Lebkuchen which are usually heart-shaped gingerbread cookies and the ever-famous German version of a fruitcake called Stollen.
A Schneeball literally translates to the word “snowball”. What it really is, however, is a ball of shortcrust pastry that is then fried and coated in sugar, other flavours, or dipped in chocolate. We got one that was champagne-flavoured and it was love at first bite.
The ball tends to get pretty hard, though, so get ready for some major exercise in pulling it apart before getting to have some.
With the cold air, you’d probably want some food to warm you up as well. While you can’t get any more German than the wurst (sausage), we’d recommend something else.
The mushrooms with garlic sauce and onions is such a treat. Served with bread, you’d find yourself finishing off the sauce with it once all the mushrooms are gone. Just don’t buy this if you’re on a date as ‘dragon breath’ is inevitable with the strong garlic and onion combo.
The Christmas markets in Berlin are perfect in finding unique, handmade decor for the holidays. And with German craftsmanship involved, you just know they will last you for years.
Holiday Cheeses, Anyone?
Christmas markets usually have a stall or two (or three) that sell cheese. While you have your usual suspects like Brie, Camembert, and Raclette, you’ll find other interesting combinations that are perfect for the season.
Some of the combinations we love are Erdbeer und Chili (Strawberry and Chili) and anything laced with plum!
Around the World, We Go
And lastly, Christmas markets are also a great place to shop for those seeking crafts from other countries.
Won’t these make the perfect gift for your friend who loves to travel?
Giant Christmas Pyramids
The predecessor of the Christmas tree has come a long way. Starting from Germany’s Ore Mountain region to its Christmas markets, the custom is now internationally popular.
The wooden ‘pyramid’, has three (or more) levels. Each of them carries some candle holders and statues depicting the birth of Jesus. The middle area on each level is a carousel that lets the scene rotate. The pyramid is not limited to Christmas, though. In the summer, it features flowers and garlands for the summer solstice.
What are your favourite things to see, eat, or do at Christmas Markets? Let us know in the comments section below! – The Binge