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14 must-try treats at European Christmas markets

By Katherine Alex Beaven
December 04, 2018, 10:47:15 AM EST

During November and December, most of the small villages and big cities of Europe come alive with Christmas markets. Strolling through the different market vendors can give you a good glimpse of local Christmas culture, especially if you decide to indulge in a savory treat and a drink or two Along with the Christmastime staples like decorative candies, stalls sell national and regional dishes and libations, and you might even come across a few specialties that are only available during the festive season. So don’t miss out on these must-try treats while you’re being merry at the market!

Chimney Cakes
Where: Hungary

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(Photo: Andrea De la Parra / Shutterstock)


Kürtoskalács, or “chimney cakes,” are a staple at any Hungarian Christmas market. This popular pastry gets its name from its hollow, cylindrical shape. A single strip of sweet, raised dough is wrapped around a wooden cylinder, rolled in sugar, and then rotated over an open-flame spit as it bakes. The result is a mouthwatering, soft and pillowy inside, encased in a perfectly crunchy and caramelized outer layer. Finish it off with toppings such as cinnamon or sesame.

Æbleskiver
Where: Denmark

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(Photo: Dennis Jacobsen/Shutterstock)


Æbleskiver are a favorite holiday dessert among Danes, and are similar to what Americans might call doughnut holes. Though Æbleskiver literally translates to “apple slices”, the spherical fried dough dessert doesn’t actually contain any apples. This sweet treat is a ubiquitous find at Christmas markets all over the country and is often served sprinkled with powdered sugar and a spoonful of jam.

Gingerbread
Where: Switzerland

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(Photo: hjochen/Shutterstock)


Several countries celebrate the holidays with gingerbread, but the Swiss have mastered it. Many cantons produce their own unique versions of this holiday treat, and Christmas markets are a great way to sample different varieties. To taste a secret 500-year-old recipe, look for Appenzeller biberli, a round gingerbread cake filled with sweet almond paste; Magenbrotis a dark and spicy biscuit made with rye flour, while Basler läckerliis a flat and crispy favorite.

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