For me, Christmas Markets are all about the food and alcohol. I know, I know. There’s way more to them than that. But no matter how many Christmas Markets I go to, I always end up at the same places – the food and alcohol stands. And this is where it’s nice not just to have a husband who’s also a total foodie, but a German husband who knows which things one should eat and drink to fully enjoy the German Christmas Market experience.
This past weekend, we started off the Christmas Market season with my husband’s all-time favorite, Trier.
What to Eat & Drink
My husband and I seem to have an unofficial order in which we always eat things. So, everything below is listed in that same order.
Wurst im Brötchen
I recently read a blog post from an American woman who went to the Christmas Market in Trier and hated it. “What?! How could this be?!,” I thought to myself. And that’s when I saw it – her recap of the food. She ate french fries from an imbiss (so not a Christmas Market stall, but a permanent fast food shop) and donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts. From the actual Christmas Market stalls, she just ate churros and sliced potatoes. No wonder she hated it!
You can’t skip the wurst. Go for whichever type you like the best, but get a wurst in a brötchen. (If you’re not sure which meat you like, you might want to check out this earlier post I wrote where I explained some of the more common ones.) If you don’t like them dry, they always have mustard or ketchup that you can put on yourself. My husband usually gets one of the white sausages with mustard; I always get one of the red sausages with ketchup. Go figure.
Where to find it: There are basically three locations in the Füßgängerzone where the Christmas Market stalls are. You can find this stall in the Hauptmarkt area (where the fountain is) – actually inside the stall area.
Glühwein or Feuerzangenbowle
We always go straight for the meat first, even before getting something to drink. Usually, that’s because we’ve basically starved ourselves throughout the day so that we can be good and hungry by the time we get to the Christmas Market. But the next stop is always Glühwein or Feuerzangenbowle – because happy tummies deserve a little treat, right?!
Now, I’m a Moscato girl. I love white wine and have never found a red wine that I liked. That being said, I do like Glühwein. But, I still prefer the white Glühwein. You can’t always find that, though, or if you do, it might not be the best. Because of that, I tend to flip flop between Glühwein and Feuerzangenbowle. This year, in Trier, my husband had the Glühwein, and I had the Feuerzangenbowle.
A note for those of you who may be a little lost here. Glühwein is hot mulled wine. Most of the time it’s made with red wine, but white versions absolutely do exist. Everybody makes it differently, though, so no two Glühweins are ever exactly the same. The spices most often used are cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom – and possibly with orange juice, vanilla, and sugar. Feuerzangenbowle is a bit more extreme. It’s also a hot drink made from red wine and Christmas spices, but it also includes rum and star anise. But again, everybody makes it differently, so Feuerzangenbowle doesn’t always taste the same either.
Where to find it: There is way more than just one place to find Glühwein, but we only found one place selling Feuerzangenbowle. They also sold Glühwein, too, but only with red wine. It’s in a walkway that connects the Hauptmarkt to the Trierer Dom. It was not in a stall, though. They were selling it through a window (kind of like a take-out window) of one of the buildings. I forget the name, but it was right next to a restaurant.
We’ve made Reibekuchen at home a few times, but it’s one of those things that just tastes better when you eat it on the street. They’re especially good after you’ve had a bit of alcohol, too, because they’re so greasy that they just soak it all up.
They always come in threes, and, yes, you are supposed to eat them with your hands. That’s part of the fun of it, after all! In English, they get translated to Potatoe Pancakes, but they’re more like hash browns than pancakes. The edges are super crunchy, and the middles are gooey. Everything is greasy, and it’s heavenly. You can eat them dry or with applesauce on top. I’ve had it both ways. I prefer them dry, but that’s just me.
Where to find it: This year, we only saw the one Reibekuchen stall, and it was in the Hauptmarkt area (where the fountain is). Unlike where we got the wurst, though, this stall was more on the outer edges of the area.
At the end of the night, we always finish the food tour off with a crepe. My favorite is always the Nutella crepe (with or without the banana). But no matter where you are, the crepe stands usually offer at least 10 different variations – cinnamon, sugar, peanut butter (rare, but I have seen it), cheese – there’s really no limits.
Most places top them off with powdered sugar, and they are TO DIE FOR. It’s so cold standing out there, but then you have this piping hot crepe in your hands and the smell is just intoxicating.
Where to find it: There is one stall in the Hauptmarkt area (where the fountain is). Now, we’ve eaten there before, and their crepes are wonderful. But, there is another crepe stall, with equally delicious crepes, that fewer people seem to know about, so it always has a shorter line. And that’s the one in the third part of the Christmas Market in front of the Bitburger Wirsthaus. This is also where the ice skating rink is set up.
Hot Chocolate with Bailey’s Irish Creme
There’s no better way to warm yourself up after standing out in the cold for several hours than with a mug of hot chocolate – unless it’s hot chocolate with Bailey’s in it. This isn’t something that my husband orders; although, he always steals a few sips from my cup. But it has become one of my favorite things to enjoy at Christmas Markets.
You don’t have to get the Bailey’s if you don’t want it. You can have it without any alcohol at all, or you can add Amaretto instead.
Where to find it: The same stall by the ice skating rink with the crepes.
Bonus: Trier Specific Drinks 2017
You know, every town or city has its own flair, and often you’ll find certain things that only exist at particular Christmas Markets. This year, we came across two drinks that seem to be Trier specific.
My husband and I were standing in the area by the ice skating rink, and we were talking about one of the Christmas mugs people were drinking out of. We were trying to figure out what was on them, and we found ourselves standing very close to two German ladies. They saw us looking at their glasses, and then proceeded to explain to us that the mugs were designed by a cartoonist from Trier, and that the wording was from the Trier dialect. The ladies also explained the meaning to us. They then asked us if we were going to order drinks from this stand that had the mugs, and we said we might later. They told us to order a drink called “Santa.” They said it was delicious and that we would not be sorry.
So, we did. And it was amazing. It’s a hot drink, made from a combination of red wine, Christmas spices, and Licor 43. I’m fully aware that this post makes me sound like a total lush, but I swear, I’m not a fan of hard liquor. However, these drinks all tasted so freaking good, and even for someone like me (who basically only drinks wine once in a blue moon), the alcohol taste was crazy mild. I mean, that’s probably what makes them so dangerous, too, though.
Where to find it: Santa is sold at the drink stall next to the ice skating rink, in front of the Bitburger Wirsthaus.
I actually didn’t get a chance to try one of these, but I definitely will the next time we go. Especially because this was the first time I ever saw a drink stall dedicated to Hugo at a Christmas Market.
If you’re not familiar with Hugo, it’s a mix of champagne, elderberry, and mint. It’s a really refreshing drink, but definitely on the sweet side. You can always try it first by buying a bottle from the grocery store. The general rule with Hugo is that the cheaper it is, the better it is. All of the Germans I know who drink Hugo swear that the Aldi brand (with the green label) is the best.
Hugo is another one of those drinks that everybody kind of makes differently, so I’m always curious to try it from different places. Considering this stall was advertising them as Hugo Aperol, I’m assuming they mixed the two together, which sounds kind of amazing.
Where to find it: Their stall is directly in front of the Trierer Dom, across from the music stage.
Have any other favorite Christmas Market foods you’d add to the list?