By Kristi Alexandra
Carousel rides, mulled wine, live trees, hand-crafted ornaments, and one-of-a-kind gifts can all be found at the Vancouver Christmas Market. Modelled after the European “Christkindlmarkts” of the old world, this Vancouver tradition draws hordes of locals to its home at the Jack Poole Plaza every holiday season. And those who frequent the market come for the biggest attraction: the food.
Housed in huts that recall a true Bavarian experience, here are a few treats to try, from traditional German fare to modern Vancouver flare.
Pretzel from Mr Pretzels
No trip to a German Christmas Market (or anything German-themed, that is) is complete without a big, doughy pretzel. Twisted, braided, salted: whatever you choose, this wheat-filled treat goes best with spiced mustard and washes down well with a beer.
Hurricane Potatoes from Das Kartoffelhaus
Known sometimes as “tornado potatoes” or “hurricane fries,” this food originated on the streets of South Korea and may recall more of a summer night market than a European winter fete, but it just wouldn’t be Vancouver without them.
Gluhwein and Kinderpunsch in Collector Boots
Sip on this sweet, warm mulled wine (gluhwein) or the kid-friendly alternative while you browse wares in the marketplace from an ever-so-cute and collectable German boot mug. Prost!
Schnitzel from Das Schnitzel Haus
Schweinshaxe from Haxen Haus
It’s not a visit to the Christmas Market without trying the Schweinshaxe! The mouth-watering scent will lead the way to Haxen Haus, where large Bavarian-style pork shanks roast on a special rotisserie until they’re golden-brown and crispy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside.
Poffertjes and Aebleskivers from Two Sweet Elves
Two Sweet Elves is serving up poffertjes (Dutch mini cakes) and aebleskivers (Danish pancake balls). These tasty treats are often sold by street vendors and are popular at open-air events. Traditionally served in threes these puffy fried cakes are perfect for those with an appetite for dessert.
Gulasch, Spaetzle, Turkey Legs and Waffles
If you refuse to miss out on the real culture of the Christkindlmarkts, then you won’t leave without grabbing a bite of the most traditional fare. Fill up on warm, gooey gulasch, dig into a plate of spaetzle covered in Emmentaler cheese and caramelized onions, savour the tenderness of juicy smoked turkey leg or munch on a light and crispy waffle served with ‘British Columbia Birch Syrup’. Guten Appetit!
Transylvanian Chimney Cakes
Chimney cakes are a festive sweet hailing from the birthplace of Dracula, but you won’t find him around this haunt. This spiral of sweet, flaky dough is coated with sugar while roasting on a spit and is perfectly pairs with your market stroll.
Vancouver Christmas Market
Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place
Open daily from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm