Tuesday, 25 December 2007

frankfurt's christmas markets

Frankfurt’s Christmas Markets are believed to be the biggest in Germany in terms of stalls and visitor numbers. The first record of the markets was in 1393 when religious plays were performed outside the Römerberg (town hall).

Goethe’s favourite sweets, Bethmännchen, were sold throughout the markets as well as lebkuchen and magenbrot, all still visble today.

The modern-day Frankfurt Christmas Markets are huge and encompass all of Römerberg and Paulsplatz, sprawling all the way down to the Main River, as well as the famous Zeil shopping street. They are very pretty and definitely worth visiting if you’re in Frankfurt at that time of year (late November and throughout December).

Below is a selection of photos, but for the full set visit my Flickr page.

This glühwein (mulled wine) stand was the perfect post-work drinks venue. People huddled around cocktail tables with steaming mugs of mulled wine, raspberry beer, egg nog and apple wine. I love sweet, warm alcoholic drinks so it was a dream come true for me.

A steaming brew of glühwein, complete in a themed Frankfurt market mug.

Handkäse mit Musik is a traditional local speciality of Frankfurt and translates to the mysterious hand cheese with music. It’s a sour milk cheese which means it uses a non-rennet based curdling technique and has a very short maturation. You can order Handkäse on its own or mit Musik, where it comes with diced onions and caraway seeds. Why the music? So-called for the flatulence that comes after consumption.

Roast goose! For a little Aussie girl nothing seems more luxurious and exotically European than roast goose. Served with a orange tinged gravy and boiled potatoes it tasted good but not too different from duck.

Magenbrot are soft gingerbread from Switzerland and they were sold all over the markets in Germany. Their name translates to stomach bread because they are supposedly made from stomach friendly spices like cinnamon and cocoa.

Pretty gingerbread hearts with icing messages like ich liebe dich hang from a stall.

Spritzkuchen are delicious donut-like cakes which I adore! The patterns make them look almost crispy but they’re very soft to touch and are drenched in a glaze that reminds me of Krispy Kreme donuts. I heard spritzkuchen are most popular in Baden, throughout Austria and the Southern Tyrol region. They were my greatest discovery on this visit to Germany and I ate them almost daily for breakfast.

Hmmm. These delectable morsels are rösti. Who can turn down fried potato?

Here’s a traditional bratwurst, smothered in ketchup and mustard. As my Australian colleague, Damien, pointed out (as both he and I were ear to ear in sauce) the Germans have mastered sausage eating because Simone, our German colleague, finished her sausage without a misplaced drop of sauce.

This is a Schwenkgrill, a very traditional way to cook in Frankfurt. The open fire gives the sausages a smoky flavour and from the long lines it seems to be the preferred way to eat bratwurst.

This was an apricot strudel. I love strudel but I’m not a big cooked apple fan so this was right up my alley.

I adored this dish of puréed, herby potatoes topped with a leg of roast guinea fowl. It was divine and my first ever taste of guinea fowl!

I never knew it, but Germans call these bretzels, not pretzels! Where did the P come from? Here you can see some sweet bretzels smothered in chocolate.

Candy stalls sold boiled sweets with flavours like chilli, apple or glühwein. I bought some glühwein hearts to take home to Jonas and they really do taste like spicy, red wine!

Stalls sold fruits dipped in chocolate. Here you can see the apples but I also tried a skewer of bananas and strawberries.

Apart from chocolate dipped fruit they also had toffee dipped fruit, like these grapes.

This last photo is the gorgeous Frankfurt town hall and the huge Christmas fir tree they bring in every year and decorate.

Well that’s it from the Frankfurt Christmas Markets.

Merry Christmas to everyone out there!!!



  1. We've been to several different German Christmas markets, but not Franfurt's...yet! It look wonderful!
    Isn't the roast goose fabulous? With red cabbage?
    Merry Christmas

  2. the markets look amazing! *sighs* europe's gorgeous huh? :)

  3. Just coming home from a wonderful Christmas trip to New Zealand and reading your wonderful post about German Christmas markets made me realize that I'd like to start the whole Christmas thing allover again (this time with snow, markets, and all which I haven't had three times in a row...)

    PS: I've put in a bid for the food photo shooting at menu for hope, keeping fingers crossed... Thanks so much for telling me about it - being in the middle of last-minute travel preparations, I wouldn't have found out about it in time!


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