Ever since that one magical Christmas we spent living in Bavaria, we have wanted to go back to enjoy the special cozy Christmas feeling that Germany is so good at. Five years later, we made it! We found super cheap tickets to Hamburg and made a four day trip just to enjoy Hamburg’s Christmas markets, to get a little bit of the cold weather and coziness fix that we are missing this year in Spain. We enjoyed some really good food and loved the classic and sweet decorations and amazing smells all over downtown Hamburg. I would love to share some pictures with you of what we saw and tasted there!
Something that surprised me a little was the wide range of foods at these markets– when we were in our little one in Amberg, the selection was basically bratwurst, lebkuchen, and other cookies. Hamburg’s Christmas markets had all of these of course, but also lots of international food and new regional dishes. It was really delicious, and there was much more there than we could possibly try in one weekend!There are a lot of different Christmas markets set up all over downtown Hamburg, with different themes. The nice thing is that you can walk to all of them once you get down to the area, so you can pretty much market hop all day or night. The most popular one is in front of the town hall, or Rathaus.The fun thing about this one is that Nikolaus/ Santa comes out in a sleigh and gives a speech and waves at everyone!There’s lots of good shopping at this one, too– beautiful handmade ceramics, bees wax candles, carved wood household items, other artisanal crafts, and of course lots of food. We went on a Saturday night, and it was insanely crowded. I would have loved to do a bit of shopping, but I was caught up in swarms of people, just inching past each booth. That’s not a relaxed and fun shopping environment for me. So I recommend doing this one as soon as it opens and/ or on a week day.Another one close by is in front of the St. Petri Church. This one was also crazy-crowded, but it’s set up in a way that is a bit less clausterphobic, and the food was very good! There were tea vendors, an elaborate spice shop, and lots of wool slippers– among lots of other fun shops.One note-worthy food I wish I had tried was a kale and sausage dish. This looked so good! I think we had just eaten a big lunch when we came across this booth, so we just couldn’t eat anything at that moment– but I do regret not trying it!One thing that caught my eye right away was the salmon being cooked over a fire. It looked and smelled amazing! We had some at another market the next day, and it was pretty wonderful. They served it with dill creme fraiche on a bed of lettuce. (Here’s a picture on Instagram.) SO good.I love these copper cauldrons full of different kinds of Glühwein. Just imagine how good she smells when she comes home from work!Roasted chestnuts. There’s nothing like that smell! Our favorite market was the Winterwald, around the Mönckebergbrunnen and on the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Platz. It could be because this is the one we went to early on Monday– a sweet relief from the weekend crowds we had dealt with all weekend. But I loved that it is forest-themed and there were Christmas trees everywhere. This is also where we had the best food!It was nice that there were little cabins that we could duck into and warm up with mugs of glühwein (for Jeff), kinderpunsch (for Amelia) and a little shot of whisky (for me).We ate a lot of bratwurst, and it reminded us so fondly of life in Bavaria. These potato fritters smelled amazingly good.
Shawarma– why not? The last market we went to was the White Magic Market– Weiserzauber. This one had a different feeling– a bit more modern and maybe upscale. We had some really good mushrooms with creme fraiche there, as well as delicious candied pecans. I bought a really lovely cashmere scarf at one of the stalls. The feeling is not quite so festive, but it’s still nice, and it’s right on the water. There’s also a big restaurant there, with outdoor fire places and blankets on the chairs in case you still want to be outside, but don’t want to freeze– you can always warm up inside, too. What a delicious and festive weekend in Hamburg! Thank you for joining us. What would you have eaten there?