Whether it’s sipping mulled wine to keep the body and soul warm, strolling past the stalls to find trinkets, or being among merry shoppers and passerby’s, Christmas markets are one of my favourite things about a winter Christmas in Europe.
The Christmas markets that Kevin and I have visited around Europe have all had similar themes and styles but still, each of them evoke a different feel, and have different delicacies to try. In Dresden last year I remember becoming mildly obsessed with Stollen (Dresden’s famous Christmas bread) and here in the Czech Republic, I can never get enough of well, many things –
- My first indulgence at the markets this year which isn’t only found at Christmas markets, was langoše. It could be said they’re the equivalent to the hot dogs of America and the mince and cheese pies of New Zealand and I’m hooked on them. It’s a deep fried flat bread, topped with your choice of cheese, garlic, tomato sauce or bacon (to name a few). They also come in a sweet version but I haven’t tried these yet. YET.
- Second up was the honey wine (or medovina). I hadn’t tried this before and it had an unexpected bitter taste which I think came from the slice of grapefruit inside. It is said that honey wine creates more of a mellowing, calming affect rather than a depressed or stimulant affect like other alcohol. It slips down rather easily, warming the stomach and soul.
- It’s hard to miss Trdelnik with there being at least 10 stalls selling it at the markets this year. This is a must try sweet bread that is very popular around Europe and can always be found at special events such as Christmas markets or festivals in Brno. Trdelnik is made from a sweet dough which is rolled then wrapped around a stick and grilled over hot coal. It is traditionally topped with a cinnamon and sugar mix but my favorite is when served with a warm chocolate or vanilla filling.
- I find it hard to walk past the giant woks full of heart warming food. Halušky in particular is a favourite of mine and is also a very traditional Czech dish. It comes in in a few different varieties, but it’s usually a mixture of small dumplings, ham and sauerkraut – no matter how I write that it doesn’t sound appealing, but believe me, it’s super tasty.
- Cookies, cookies and more cookies! Czech’s love their Christmas cookies and there are nearly 30 different types of cookies that many Czech families get busy baking for the season. One of my Czech baking students told me that her mother insisted she take the day off work to make the cookies for this year – clearly it’s a serious job and one that I would expect takes more than one working day. Just look at all those cookies!
There are various stalls that sell these cookies as well as stalls that sell a large variety of cookie cutters to choose from so that you can make your own at home. Should you ever be invited to a Czech’s house over the Christmas season, expect to be served an array of these delicious home-make cookies.
- Once I’ve filled my tummy with food, I like to stroll around the ‘non-food stalls’ which have unique and hand-made Christmas gifts. From pottery to hand-made Christmas decorations, they seem to have it all.
We’re off to London for Christmas this year which is a first for us, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the Christmas markets offer there. Crossing our fingers for snow but it is London after all…
For a full schedule of the Brno Christmas markets as well as more information on the markets, click here.
Merry Christmas to you!!