Your favorite Christmas market food and drink ?
Pre-Christmas: well worth visiting is the farmer's market at Village St. Paul in early December. All products goose, duck, pork as well as cheese, confitures, wine, etc. This year it takes place December 4 through 6.
Marché des Producteurs de Pays au marché Saint Paul, Paris 4e
Just last weekend we went with visiting hounds to the same farmers' market on bld Daumesnil and had a blast. Bought a ton of aiguillettes de canard and coeurs de canard, both of which one cannot get from Paris butchers. Plus farm-fresh voie gras and confit d'oignons (heavenly for sausages).
The farmers are all very friendly and love to have long chat with foreigners. Always a great fun experience.
Tell me I don't have to explain why it's special (except the one year when they absentmindedly mixed coffee and vin chaud - at least they replaced it with a smile when they took a sip of the horrid concoction)
Those star-shaped cinnamon cookies they make in Alsace that are instantly addictive. I'll be making my own this year.
I agree with others that the Paris markets are to be enjoyed for atmosphere only -- the goods on offer are overpriced imported schlock.
Strasbourg and Colmar are the best marches in France.
I have been informed by the Chow managers that the term Boche is offensive to some. Since that is how my grandfather identified himself, as well as a Bohunk, I am thick skinned to any adverse connotations. Since his brother who served with 42nd Division was wounded in 1918 and died of the wounds after return to the US, I have always taken the term with a sense of pride.
Having been called an Ami Boche many times in the Alsace and Lorraine, I never took umbraqe. I have always loved the people and country of France. So to get this back on the original thread, skip any Christmas Market in France and go to Nurmberg, Germany. Puts to shame the Christmas markets I saw in Nancy, Paris, Metz, and Dijon. And for a more intimate experience, I always would go to the walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the Romantic road in Germany. Best to time it after a snow.
Agree on the excellence of Christmas markets in Nuremberg and especially Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which looks like a living fairy tale after snow.
Although the point of this trip is not Christmas markets specifically, I'm sure we'll walk through them in the evenings.
I am surprised that aspiring, enterprising French chefs haven't created pop-up restaurants at the Christmas markets.
In past vacations my top 2 favorite Christmas market eats were:
Prague - the Czech Spa Wafers
The wafer was fresh and warm / hot, the tastes of cinnamon, sugar, and dark chocolate was incredible. My first bite created a head rush. My tour guide said that the communists used to allow them at only certain times of the year. I believe this was related to why they were called spa wafers but am not sure.
See first 3 pictures below.
Vienna - One bite of the Buchtel pictured below and I conclude: Austrians understand yeast. So many light fluffy sweet layers with jam hidden inside.
Final picture is from
Salzburg - the pretzels from Salzburg were extra good too.
But those first 2 things are on a tier of their own.
Christmas markets are a recent trend in Paris (it's more an Eastern thing), they are mostly junk markets, and beware of anything labeled as "produits artisanaux" there, there's a lot of make-believe around.
However there is one Christmas market that I like a lot: it is set under a tent in front of the Gare de l'Est and it is a market of Alsatian food products. The quality is very high.
From November 27, 2013 until December 28, 2013
Gourmet Christmas at palais Brongniart
First Paris fair of Christmas gastronomy
La Bourse de Paris
Friday December 20, 2013, 11am to 9pm
Saturday December 21, 2013, 10am to 9pm
Sunday December 22, 2013, 10am to 8pm
Entrance fee €10 including a souvenir tasting glass
The La Defense market is completely separate and not related to La Bourse de Paris, right?