Undoubtedly one of Germany’s most famous traditions are the Christmas Markets.  Dark chilly nights lit up with twinkling lights and the smell of roasting almonds filling the air on streets and squares all around the country.  Today the German Christmas markets attract millions of visitors from all across the globe.  Now, for those of us who have not grown up in Germany navigating the many stalls trying to figure out what to eat and drink can be tricky.  So with this in mind, we try to help decode what to eat and drink and essentially be merry!

What to drink at the German Christmas markets?


Unquestionably Glühwein is probably the first thing that comes to mind!  Of course, this is definitely something not to be missed with a gazillion litres being consumed in Germany each year!  It’s worth noting however, not all Glüwein is created equal!  And one may find plenty of vendors sneaking a shortcut and heating up cheap €1 mass-produced bottled versions.  Ideally, a good Glühwein is produced from scratch, slowly heating (not boiling) a fruity but not sweet red wine with a selection of whole spices (your typical ‘Christmas spices’) and sliced fruit.  Finally, it’s sweetened to taste and herein lies the art!  So, generally, a good rule of thumb is to ask a vendor how they’ve made their Glühwein and if they can show you that started with individual ingredients rather than a mass-produced store bought you are already off to a good start!

Glühwein mit Schuss?

Hmmmm this my friends is Glühwein with an extra shot of alcohol (often rum).


Well hellooo!!  Now this is Glühwein with a theatrical (and deadly) twist!  Essentially, they take regular gluhwein, top it with a sugar cube soaked in rum, and set the sugar on fire.  TA-DAAA!


I guess one might say that this is Germany’s answer to eggnog! And so not surprisingly the drink is made up of eggs, rum, spices, white wine and topped with cream!  If you looking for something light, this is not for you 😂

Kinderpunsch (Childrens Punch)

Now, let’s not forget about our precious little humans!  An alternative to good old hot chocolate is Kinderpunsch for the little ones!  Essentially it’s an alcohol-free warm, spiced punch to warm little hands on chilly nights!  Of course, it is not only for children and is for anyone looking for an alcohol-free warm drink.

German Christmas Markets
German Christmas Markets

What to eat at the German Christmas markets?

One thing that can be said about the German Christmas markets is that you don’t go to lose weight!  And if you planning to go on a diet, well we recommend holding out until after the festive season!  Deep-fried, cheese-filled deliciousness together with potatoes, bread and every carbohydrate that you usually looking to avoid is on offer!  Having said that, OMG it is sooooo good that it is worth all the New Year’s resolutions you will vow to make!  Unfortunately, we can’t list everything, but hopefully, we can give you a good jumping-off point.

Gebrannte Mandeln (Roasted Almonds)

Fresh almonds roasting in the pan with plenty of sugar!!  Paper cones overflowing with candied almonds are the perfect interim snack while browsing the stalls looking for your next caloric-laden dish!

Maroni (Roasted Chestnuts)

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of roasted chestnuts (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone) but these are hugely popular!   Usually, you can find them roasting in vat-like pots and pans over a hot fire!

Bratwurst and Currywurst

German Christmas markets are not complete without wurst!  And the sheer number of different sausages available boggles the mind!  Also, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will never struggle to find your wurst fix as there is usually a vendor selling one form or another anywhere you turn.  From bratwurst (the traditional white German pork sausage) and käsewurst (cheese sausage) to the popular currywurst (sliced brätwurst doused in curry-ketchup sauce) there is no shortage of sausages to choose from.

Dresdner Handbrot (Stuffed Bread)

This is a dish that originates from Dresden and literally ticks every box for me!  And lets be honest what could be more delicious than fresh bread stuffed with cheese and ham!  Of course there are often other fillings to choose from but this for me is heaven.


German Potato dumplings, kinda like gnocchi.  Meaning they are made from a mix of potato and flour, however the German twist is that they are often served with sauerkraut.

Kartoffellanzen/Spiralkartoffeln (Spiral Potatos)

This is a favourite of my kids (along with pommes) and I like that it’s easy for them to walk around without the fear of everything falling off the plate.  The potatoes are cut using a spiralliser before being impaled on a skewer and fried!

Kartoffelpuffer (Potato Pancakes)

I think it is fair to say by now that a goal at German Christmas Markets may be to get fried potatoes in as many forms as possible!  And to be perfect honest, we love it!  In this version, the potatoes are finely grated and made into hand size pancakes before being fried! Now for the twist, it ain’t served with ketchup, they are most commonly served with apple sauce


Okay, so this is another one of my absolute go-to’s.   Melted gooey cheese served over potatoes or bread is my idea of dying and going to heaven, like I said January is going to be tough!  In this dish, huge half wheels of cheese

Good to know:

  • at most Christmas Market stalls you can expect to pay a deposit on the mug or breadboard.  Meaning if you want to keep a memento from the occasion you can!
  • Now that you know what to eat and drink here is where to find those German Christmas Markets