It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Chicago: Daley Plaza has once again turned into a winter wonderland filled with German goodies thanks to Christkindlmarket. For 2018, the market has brought back a bunch of the staples (what would Christkindlmarket be without potato pancakes?) but also added a lineup of new food and drink like sandwiches smothered with gooey raclette and even a white wine-based glühwein for the non-red drinkers. Here are the most magical eats at Christkindlmarket 2022, which started on November 18 and lasts through December 24.
Red or White Glühwein in souvenir mugs
The first stop for anyone headed to Christkindlmarket should be the alcohol tent for a mug of Original Sternthaler Glühwein from Nuremberg, Germany. It’s toasty and spicy: just the right drink to warm up for some shopping. The market also has an apple cinnamon white-wine based glühwein too, to add a little variation to the mix, as well as an alcohol-free Kinderpunsch. All three come in the annual souvenir mug, which this year is a blue mug featuring the market itself with the iconic Chicago skyline in the background.
If you’re looking for an easy snack to enjoy that’s both tasty and filling, look no further than the pretzel booth. This year, market-goers can choose between six distinct styles ranging from the classic Bavarian style to more outlandish iterations, including pizza- and cheesecake-style pretzels. No matter which you choose, they’re all easy to enjoy as you meander around the market. Don’t forget to ask for spicy, savory German-style mustard for dipping, either.
The Sweet Castle is the perfect place to tuck in and warm up your hands while taking stock of all sorts of imported candies. Schulte wafers, Milka chocolate bars, Ritter Sport chocolates, and Kinder “Happy Hippo” cream-filled hippos abound, but the real treats are upfront at the counter. There, you can peruse the extensive selection of alcohol-filled truffles, in addition to roasted pecans, roasted cashews, cinnamon-roasted almonds, flavored popcorn, and more.
A quintessential central European dessert, strudel is believed to have originated in Austria. Luckily, Chicagoans don’t have to venture that far to try sticky-sweet fillings of cherry, apple, and apricot and almond tucked into a flaky pastry dough. Biting into one of these hefty handheld desserts is sure to be a spectacular mess of buttery flakes cascading down your overcoat, but it’s one best embraced with seasonal cheer.
For the heartiest and most delicious option at Christkindlmarket, head to the southeast corner of Daley Plaza and follow the smell of the stinkiest cheese. Hop in line for some gooey raclette sandwiches, from a traditional raclette on crunchy French bread with spring onions, baby gherkins, and dijon mustard that’s vegetarian to boot, to the Alpine, which is just like the traditional but with a brat in the middle. Don’t be dissuaded by the smell of the cheese — it’s amazingly mild on the sandwich.
Doughnuts, Brownies, and Other Treats
If you have a soft spot for chocolate, don’t miss the dessert booth filled with chocolate-covered doughnuts, brownies, cookies, and all sorts of chocolate confections. Easy to carry throughout the market or take home as stocking stuffers, these treats are made with care and make every bite more delicious than the last.