Digital Editor Cara-Louise Scott is joined by Print&Features Editor Sophie Utteridge, Culture Editor Halima Ahad and Food&Drink Editor Sophie Skrimshire, in walking readers through what to look out for at the Christmas market this year
It’s always an exciting time when Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market makes an appearance once again and whether you are more like Buddy the Elf or the Grinch, walking through the festive lights and stalls is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.
One of my favourite parts of the Christmas Markets here are the wide variety of food choices on offer to cater for every sort of sweet tooth. The food stalls are scattered around from along the high street to outside the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with many stalls doubled so if you walk past and regret not buying something, you will probably find another stall selling the same food further up.
The smell of all the sweet treats on offer is what makes Birmingham’s Christmas Markets so appetising to me; just walking along the stalls and smelling sugar, chocolate and the warm batter of crepes fills me with a warm happiness inside and makes me feel instantly Christmassy, as I’m sure it does to many.
To start with, there is a wide array of hot savoury food on offer such as the famous Bratwurst sausage, in which you can buy an £8 half-metre sausage if you’re really hungry. They do normal £5 hot dogs too, as well as some stalls selling steak and chips, and garlic pizza bread (with cheese, or pepperoni).
While this is similar to what was on offer last year, they have added a veggie food stall to cater to more dietary requirements. This stall, situated along the high street but close to Victoria Square, presents an array of ‘sandwiches’, which are a rounded pitta with a choice of filling and vegetables in it as well as a spicy sauce. The choices of filling are either falafel, halloumi or both combined, and are priced at £5 for the pitta sandwich. As well as this, they have battered mushrooms or sweet potato fries, both priced at £4, as well as much more tasty veggie options.
The most popular food choices at Birmingham’s Christmas Markets are the sweet treats. The options on offer do not disappoint but you will struggle to choose with there being far more options than space in your stomach. There are crepes, with a variety of toppings to choose from, churros, chocolate covered fruit skewers, pretzels, donuts, gingerbread cookies and roasted nuts.
If you are after some more food choices, there are also some market stalls in Cathedral Square. There is pizza and Indian food, and a variety of brownies, hot donuts and much more. So, if you’re a food lover and fancy trying some new food this Christmas, head over to Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Markets for more food options than you could ever imagine that will provide a filling treat on a cold winter’s day. There is nothing better than this sort of food to get you in the festive mood.
– Cara-Louise Scott
Falafel and Halloumi Sandwich – Cara-Louise Scott
The ‘Falafel and Halloumi Sandwich’ was a filling combination of a soft warm pitta paired with spicy, crumbly falafel, well-fried halloumi and incredible spices and flavours of a salad with sauce which mixed with the former filling. All of the flavours packed a punch in my mouth and even though this was messy to eat, it was certainly delicious and something I’d have again on a future visit.
Crepes – Cara-Louise Scott
After queuing for 30 minutes, I chose to have Nutella and banana as my filling – the perfect combination in my opinion. The crepes are colossal here, with a mountain of Nutella piled inside and a whole banana cut in half as well. This treat is a meal in itself, and will leave you feeling sick by the end of it but it will also be the most tasty, enjoyable treat you could try at the markets. Priced at £4.50, with £1 for every topping – it is worth the money for the immense size of the crepe and for the toasty sweet feeling it’ll leave inside.
Churros – Cara-Louise Scott
The churros are a must-eat. It costs £5.50 for sugared churros and Nutella drizzled on top, and they come as a tub of 6, which is more than enough to satisfy, given their size and sweetness. The warm donut-like texture of the churros paired with the melted Nutella is a dream mixture. You will finish them with chocolate and sugar round your mouth as I did, but the messiness of sweet treats is what makes them the best.
Lebkuchen – Sophie Skrimshire
Looking for a sweet treat after my walk through the Christmas markets, the Lubkuchen stall caught my eye! Located between the Apple Store and the Tesco, these German Christmas cookies are certainly worth a bite. Similar to gingerbread, these cookies are honey-sweetened and flavoured with Christmas spices. You can buy the cookies in a range of sizes (some are huge!) and they have deals so you can try a selection. They come packaged, and sit on top of an edible, thin wafer.
I chose a medium, dark chocolate Lebkuchen, costing £2.50. Soft, thick and a little chewy, the cookie was exactly what I was looking for. The dark chocolate coating provided a tasty contrast to the orange-like flavours of the centre. And this may be controversial, but I decided to warm a little of mine when I got home, dipping the rest in a cup of tea!
Though I chose one of the more simple flavours, I would love to go back and try the chilli dark chocolate, the apple, and maybe the egg nog and mulled wine (if I felt adventurous!). They also had vegan options!
Mini Pancakes / Poffertjes – Halima Ahad
The Birmingham Christmas Market is the largest Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria and the market offers an array of tempting food and drink. One of these are the mini pancakes, better known as poffertjes. Mini pancakes first originated in the Netherlands and these Dutch delights can be topped with almost anything, including Nutella and Biscoff. They are soft and fluffy, each bite leaving you wanting more. I went for the simple topping of Nutella and it was so worth it. One serving contains numerous mini pancakes on a tray with the topping of your choice and a small fork. The small pancakes instantly melt in your mouth and with the additional topping of Nutella, it is definitely a sweet delight. For the price of £5.50 per portion, although expensive, it is definitely worth the money.
Pretzels – Sophie Utteridge
Although I love the wide variety of food available at the Birmingham Christmas markets, the pretzels have recently become a firm favourite of mine.
Since my trip to Berlin in the summer, rediscovering pretzels back in Birmingham has been a real treat. In Berlin, I remember seeing them everywhere, in cafes, shops, supermarkets, and (rather weirdly) in underground tube stations. The pretzel sandwiches became a must for lunch, especially when stuffed with feta cheese and fresh salad. The Birmingham stall was no exception.
Tucked away in the far corner of Victoria Square, the pretzel stall certainly stands out with their vibrantly colourful display. The pretzel sandwiches especially looked incredibly inviting, and if I had not just had dinner, I may have been more tempted. With a range of fillings, from cheese to ham, veggie platters and stuffed sausages, the pretzel sandwiches looked as delicious as they did in Berlin much to my delight.
During my visit, having just indulged in a baileys hot chocolate and a slice of cake, a salted pretzel was the perfect bite to eat after what I’m sure was a sugar overload. Having just come out of the oven, the salted pretzel was just the right temperature to keep it soft and spongy. Although it cooled quickly in the night air, it certainly tasted like an authentic German Christmas to me.
Other than the classic (although some may say boring) salted pretzel, the other front-runner in my eyes was the cinnamon sugar pretzel. This one is perfect for the sweet-toothed and warms up cold hands on a cold wintery night. When dipped in chocolate sauce or Nutella, they almost became churros-like.
I think what I love the most about pretzels is how versatile they are. If you’re after a sweet treat or a savoury snack, there’s always a pretzel for the job. So, I will definitely be heading back when I visit the markets again, and this time I will indulge my pretzel sandwich wishes.
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