Holiday spirit bright at Christkindlmarket


By Neal Klepitsch, Staff Writer

As winter rolls into the Chicagoland area and the nights become longer, a holiday tradition like no other also opens a taste of European culture and lights up the dark season. The Chicago Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza is modeled after the historic Christmas market in Nuremberg, Germany. It has been open since 1996 and now has two additional locations in Naperville and Milwaukee.
The Nuremburg market traces back to the 16th century and Christmas markets are
found across Europe, especially in German speaking countries. The Chicago edition is comprised of vendors from across the world and Chicagoland area. There is no shortage of handmade tree ornaments and traditional European cuckoo clocks along with holiday goodies. To truly get the most out of the market until the vendors shut down on December 24th, and not just leave with the consumption of extra calories there are a few tips:
* Embrace the Culture: Many if not most of the vendors and shops are from
abroad and many are willing to talk about where they are from. Do not be afraid
to ask questions and even break out what you learned in your high school foreign
language classes to try to make a purchase in your second language.
* Try unfamiliar foods: It is very easy to stick to the commonly known and
stereotypical German and European foods. There is plenty of schnitzel, pretzels,
and strudel to go around but trying some different food options may open your
mind to Germany’s vast culinary options. Try Bienenstich-a traditional Bavarian
cake made up of almond yeast cake with a vanilla custard filling topped with
sugar caramelized almonds. Instead of going to the first bratwurst stand search
out a Leberkase sandwich-Germany’s answer to the American hotdog. At the
very least try one of the most popular snack foods in Germany…Currywurst.
* Drink Glühwein: The traditional spiced mulled wine is a must for every visitor to
Christkindlmarket. This hot holiday beverage is simply delicious and served in the
now famous souvenir Boot Mugs. Even kids can enjoy the non-alcoholic version
“Kinder-glühwein”. The drink is dated back to the 1420’s and includes hints of
cloves, cinnamon, and citrus.