The holiday season brings many great traditions—like the Christmas markets of Europe. And within market stalls, you’ll find all kinds of wonders from crafts to gifts to food. Make your winter trip more memorable by trying some of these European market treats.
Nestled along the France-Germany border along the banks of the Rhine, Strasbourg has become well-known for its Christmas market. The tradition began over five hundred years ago and it’s now one of Europe’s top Christmastime destinations. The city’s location has given its foods both French and German influences and you can get a taste of both culinary cultures at Strasbourg’s Christmas market.
While you stroll along, be sure to find a sausage vendor and get some grilled sausages to warm you up for the cold evening. Enjoy it with a pint of Alsatian beer since the region is also known as France’s top beer producer.
As tempting as mulled wine might be for its warmth and Christmasy flavor, skip the spiced drink and seek out some Alsatian wines in the market. The region is known for its white wines such as Riesling and Pinot Gris.
Before you leave the market, pick up a kugelhopf for a sweeter taste of Christmas. The regional variety of this cake often features almonds and raisins and is a staple dessert for the holidays.
Enjoy one of Italy’s best Christmas markets in the coastal city of Trieste. Its location by the sea and near the border of Italy has provided Trieste with an incredible mix of cultures that can be seen in its food. And for those who manage to visit during the winter holidays, these influences can be tasted at the Christmas market.
Ward off the cold with spoonfuls of la jota, a sauerkraut-and-beans soup that reflects Trieste’s non-Italian influences. It will keep you warm as you explore the market and give you a true taste of the region. Get another taste of Italian Christmas tradition with muset e brovada, a dish made of sausages and turnips which originated from the need to preserve turnips in the winter.
The great thing about Christmas markets is the chance to pick up some food to bring home with you to share with loved ones. At Trieste, look for local cheese vendors who will offer up samples for you to try before you have to decide what to get. Or make your own Christmas meat and cheese board by purchasing local cold cuts and creating your own combination for the holiday.
Finish your food tour of Trieste’s Christmas market with a slice of gubana, a cake filled with nuts, spices, and chocolate that’s a favorite to eat during the season.
The people of Estonia really know how to celebrate the holiday. The capital of the country turns into a fairy-tale wonderland for the winter and welcomes locals and visitors alike with beautiful crafts and delectable foods to entice the senses—no wonder Tallinn been hailed as 2019’s best Christmas Market!.
While you browse stalls for gifts and souvenirs, let the smell of roasting meat and fried potatoes tempt your appetite. Order a plate of Estonia’s traditional blood sausages for a filling meal. If you’re not in the mood for sausages, have a taste of roast lamb or pork chops instead.
Lighter options are also available through the various tasty samples and snacks you can find around the market. Have a few bites of goat cheese from a vendor or purchase sweet Estonian pastries like piparkoogid and the spiced Estonian kringle to curb your hunger.
As you end the night watching performers on the market stage, keep warm and wash the food down with a glass of glögi, Estonia’s own variety of mulled wine.
When you travel during the Christmas season, consider exploring what specialties and drinks make up the local holiday tradition. It’s another way to create lasting memories with friends and family.
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*Featured image via Jõuluturg on Facebook