Stuttgart Weihnachtsmarkt: The food of a traditional Christmas Market

One thing I have learned while living here is that Germans love their festivals. Fests happen all throughout the year and are usually centered around two things: food and alcohol. During this cold and dark time of year (really, I haven’t seen any sun in over a week, just white/grey skies) the twinkling lights of a traditional Weihnachtsmarkt (pronounced “vai-knocks-mark-t) are a welcome distraction. It’s amazing to me how much you forget about the cold weather while strolling around these outdoor markets for hours. One thing moving to Europe has opened my eyes to is walking–we walk everywhere in all kinds of weather, it’s just what you do here and it really isn’t that bad in the cold.

Thomas and I have visited two local markets so far–the Esslingen market (which features a medieval village) and the Stuttgart market, which also happens to be the largest Christmas market in Europe.  We plan to visit more, of course, and I am still on the hunt for Reibekuchen –the German potato pancake that I’m told is served at these markets.  So far, I have missed them.

Here are some pictures I snapped at the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt

A shot I took of a general food stand (notice the crowd!) to show how they serve condiments-- see those 3 bottles hanging from the roof?  They are essentially swinging udders of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise--and, yes, you do have to "milk" them to get the goods.

A shot I took of a general food stand (notice the crowd!) to show how they serve condiments– see those 3 bottles hanging from the roof? They are essentially swinging udders of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise–and, yes, you do have to “milk” them to get the goods.

A booth of kitchen goods.  To the right of this was a wall of traditional metal cookie cutters, but it was so crowded that the only picture I could get was essentially the backs of people's heads.

A booth of kitchen goods. To the right of this was a wall of traditional metal cookie cutters, but it was so crowded that the only picture I could get was essentially the backs of people’s heads.

Christmas markets, for some reason that I could probably figure out if I researched it, all have at least one stall that sells handmade brushes of various styles of sizes.  They are a good place hang out to retreat from the crowds

Christmas markets, for some reason that I could probably figure out if I researched it, all have at least one stall that sells handmade brushes of various styles of sizes. They are a good place hang out to retreat from the crowds

Salmon cooked over an open fire is a popular dish.  It is flaked and served on a roll.

Salmon cooked over an open fire is a popular dish. It is flaked and served on a roll.

Just some pizza.  Missing from the picture is the "thumbs up" the vendor game me when he saw I was taking a picture.  Pizza is really good here-- it pays to be close to Italy.

Just some pizza. Missing from the picture is the “thumbs up” the vendor game me when he saw I was taking a picture. Pizza is really good here– it pays to be close to Italy.

A bit of home-- we passed a booth that advertised "pulled pork from the smoker!" The smoker was sitting next to it, clearly unused, to let people know what a smoker was.  It was surrounded my a semi-circle of German men with appreciative looks on their faces

A bit of home– we passed a booth that advertised “pulled pork from the smoker!” The smoker was sitting next to it, clearly unused, to let people know what a smoker was. It was surrounded my a semi-circle of German men with appreciative looks on their faces

Two examples of stollen bread-- a popular Christmas cake that usually has dried fruits, nuts and spices added

Two examples of stollen bread– a popular Christmas cake that usually has dried fruits, nuts and spices added

An array of savory breads-- Bread is to Germany like cheese is to France

An array of savory breads– Bread is to Germany like cheese is to France

An example of some of the handmade wooden Christmas decorations you can purchase

An example of some of the handmade wooden Christmas decorations you can purchase

Part one of my lunch: roasted potatoes with spices and sautéed mushrooms.  Smothered in way too much sauce, as is the German way.  It was very tasty, but I left 90% of the garlic sauce

Part one of my lunch: roasted potatoes with spices and sautéed mushrooms. Smothered in way too much sauce, as is the German way. It was very tasty, but I left 90% of the garlic sauce

Thomas enjoying one of his favorite fest foods: crepes!  This one is ham and cheese

Thomas enjoying one of his favorite fest foods: crepes! This one is ham and cheese

I had to get the pulled pork to report back to my NC relatives!  Verdict: surprisingly good! Nice smoke, pretty good BBQ sauce and a nice bun.  It does not, however, hold a candle to the BBQ my father-in-law makes.

I had to get the pulled pork to report back to my NC relatives! Verdict: surprisingly good! Nice smoke, pretty good BBQ sauce and a nice bun. It does not, however, hold a candle to the BBQ my father-in-law makes.

The small ice skating rink at the festival

The small ice skating rink at the festival

The entrance, complete with random stranger posing in front of it.

The entrance, complete with random stranger posing in front of it.

The drink of choice: Gluhwein.  A mulled wine served in a mug.  Red wine is the standard and it can be spiked with liquor, most commonly Kirschwasser.  At the Stuttgart market, there is a unique Apfelgluhwein (Apple Gluhwein) stand that spikes it with Calvados.  I highly recommend that version.

The drink of choice: Gluhwein. A mulled wine served in a mug. Red wine is the standard and it can be spiked with liquor, most commonly Kirschwasser. At the Stuttgart market, there is a unique Apfelgluhwein mit Calvados (Apple Gluhwein with Calvados) stand. I highly recommend that version.

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Categories: Event, Foodie Products and Events

Author:apointgourmet

A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.

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