Follow Me Foodie to the Vancouver Christmas Market!

Follow Me Foodie to the Vancouver Christmas Market!

Folgen Sie Mir Foodie zum Vancouver Weihnachtsmarkt!

It’s the 2nd annual Vancouver Christmas Market from Nov. 24-Dec. 24. Yes, that also means I’m last minute with my post although it’s not too late for you to check it out! Located outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver, BC it’s one of the holiday’s biggest attractions. For rates, opening hours and tickets see here.

I was invited on a private tour of the markets and to be honest this was the first year I’ve seen them. I was happy when Vancouver finally introduced the idea, which has existed in Europe for centuries, however I never went to them because I’m a bit spoiled having experienced the traditional ones in various European countries before.

If you’ve been to any of the Christmas Markets in Europe, you’re going to find it difficult not to compare them. The Vancouver Christmas Market would seem like “the little sister”, but it’s still a fun festive activity that’s good for all ages and it’s nice to support local vendors and artists. In Vancouver this is the closest you’ll get to a “real” Christmas Market, and that’s just a fact.

I know last year it had ridiculous lines and the set up was a bit disorganized (which contradicts the stereotype of traditional German ways), but this year was apparently an improvement. I still witnessed a line up to get in and purchase tickets, but once inside it was a good flow of traffic and it felt spacious. It pretty much looked like a smaller, cleaner and nicer version of the Richmond Summer Night Market.

There is a small $2-5 admission to get in depending on the day and time you go, and personally I think it should be free or by donation. It would get a lot more traffic and people wouldn’t only consider coming once and checking it off the list. Parking can also be a pain and get quite costly and if they can afford to have it free to the public they should. The food is pretty pricey too so it becomes an expensive event.

I know $2-5 isn’t a lot, but it’s a psychological thing and when you advertise things as free, people come. Whatsapp started charging $.99 for the app and I’m sure some people stopped downloading it. If e-mail cost money I bet not everyone would have it either… just my 2 cents… which I’ve provided free.

So what can you find at the markets? Carolers!

Germans!

Swarovski!… which is Austrian.

A Chocolate Lollipop Christmas Tree Decorating Station.

And of course food! You knew I was warming up to this. If you’re the type that B-lines to the food, then let me give you a glimpse of what you can expect. There’s lots of other non-food related vendors, but this is Follow Me Foodie not Follow Me to Arts & Crafts. The food is more or less about half of the Vancouver Christmas Market, but for me it’s the most delicious half!

What’s a German Market without beer? Boring… or barely authentic.

Bratäpfel! Huh? It’s a German style Baked Apple ($5.50). It’s one of the most popular desserts here and the traditional version is stuffed with walnuts, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon.

And just to make you drool they serve it with hot vanilla sauce poured over top!

Dussa’s Ham & Cheese, Vancouver, Granville Island – making Swiss Raclette melted on Ciabatta bread garnished with Bindenfleisch (dry cured beef) & cornichons $10

Pickled vegetables from Goodies by Thelma

German Pasta from Das Deutsche Nudel Haus – I was really curious about this one because you won’t be able to get it once the market is over. I’ve had it before, but not from here. It’s hand made Schupfnudeln (rolled noodle) that’s served savoury with bacon and sauerkraut or sweet with cinnamon and sugar. I’ve had both versions, but it was so unusual to have noodles that tasted like churros for dinner. It’s not bad, but just different.

Oh god… I was brought back to recent memories of my Stollen Smackdown where we tested 18 to find the best!

This was Artisan Bakery Shoppe in North Vancouver and we had them included at the Stollen Smackdown. The one bite sample they give you isn’t representable of the full thing, so just a heads up. This is a traditional well liked German bakery in Vancouver though and you can visit their actual location after the market closes.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”… well sort of. Not necessarily something you can’t find on the downtown streets of Vancouver, but it isn’t a market without them!

This was Italian not German, and along with roasted chestnuts were biscotti, candied nuts, torrone, coffee and espresso.

Loose leaf organic teas. Last minute Christmas presents perhaps?

Gluehwein – German mulled wine. At $7/glass it’s pretty pricey. I thought it was mulled beer at first and it’s very strong with cinnamon, cloves and spices. There’s also red wine, citrus fruits and sugar, and it’s quite sweet. Most people I’ve talked to either hate it or love it. I found it heavy in spices and it’s not my favourite mulled wine, but the occasional sip here and there was okay.

Sugarnuts – More candied nuts. These are all natural.

Das Waffelhaus – This looked and smelled really good and they come with various sweet or savoury toppings. Waffles on a stick > lollipop.

This took me back to Oktoberfest in Munich. It’s not the Auntie Anne’s American pretzels, but the German pretzels which I find you have to eat fresh and warm. Personally I prefer the “butchered American ones”, but they’re almost incomparable.

Chocolate fondue from Powers Chocolate. I got a hot chocolate here with whipped cream which was pretty good, but if you want something really decadent, rich and indulgent this season, then try the one at Mink Chocolates.

Liebrecht Lebkuchen Haus – Yeah I can’t even try to say that. It’s basically a shop selling imported German goods and mainly sweets. They sold the packaged stollens we included in the Stollen Smackdown.

And what’s a German fest without a sausage fest? (Sorry, that was too easy!)

Black Forest Delicatessen is one of the few authentic and good German delicatessens we have in Vancouver. Grab a pretzel, beer and bratwurst and it’s a nibble of Okotobest. If most of the people attending were Italian or Spanish and they allowed standing on tables and singing… it would be a bite of Oktoberfest! Also “currywurst” is not some Vancouver fusion twist, it actually exists in Germany too.

Okay so that was my tour of the Okotberfest… oh no I meant the Vancouver Christmas Markets! So after seeing all that food and stopping for nibbles here and there, where do you think I went back to? I was looking for dinner and by process of elimination I went back to one place.

Chocolate? No! I already mentioned I had a hot chocolate…

Stollen!? No, I already had 18 at the Stollen Smackdown!

Okay stop. I don’t only eat dessert!

It was this! I went back to where I first started! The pork knuckle! This is so classic German and it’s one of the few that I won’t be able to get after the Vancouver Christmas Market ends, so it was the obvious choice! It was either this or the German noodle, but I’m an oinker. By the way that rotisserie oven is from Germany and it’s exactly what they use in Germany to make these.

Pork Knuckle Combo – 4/6

  • 1 grilled pork knuckle with red apple cabbage and a dumpling $16.50
  • Yes! Come to mama! You cannot get more German than this. Meat and potatoes.
  • It was really expensive in this market context, but it was pretty good! I’d say it was $9 good.
  • The knuckle was crispy, crunchy and juicy just like the skin on suckling pig and porchetta.
  • The cabbage was sweet instead of acidic and the dumpling tasted like stuffing and there was little potato and it was mainly bread.

  • We had them slice the meat off the bone since I was sharing, but otherwise I would have asked for it to be wrapped around a napkin and ate it like a drumstick.
  • That’s how I ate it in Germany, like a Turkey drumstick… but in Vancouver this is considered less barbaric.
  • The meat was moist and it was actually not salty or greasy, well not greasy for what it was.
  • I have a high tolerance for salt so I found it slightly bland, but I think it might be okay for most.
  • It definitely beats a Nando’s roasted chicken for dinner, but at $16 I hope it would.

8 Comments

  • Linda says:

    ooo i love that christmas market! i went last year and just went to the one this year on monday 🙂 you forgot that this year they also installed a carousel for children *ahem*adults*ahem to enjoy 🙂

    i love the smells coming from this market and i was almost tempted to get the chicken and the pork knuckles too but we had dinner plans so we just settled on some pepperoni sticks and a pretzel.. the bratwurst is definitely delicious and so are the baked apples – we had them last year 🙂 the smell of anything with cinnamon and nutmeg just makes you feel warm inside 🙂

    darnit, i wish i saw the sign for the pork belly black forest.. mmmm.. pork belly 🙂

  • LotusRapper says:

    Missed it last year, but might try to go this year. Thx for the reminder 🙂

    Just curious, where else have you had the spätzle/spaetzle ? Old Bavaria Haus ? Alpen Club (Deutches Haus) ?

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – amazing!! Yes! the smell of that, or maple syrup, fried onions, cookies, bacon, garlic and onions, or fried butter… that all smells AMAZING!!!!! How was the carousel? 😉

  • Mijune says:

    @LR – LOTS of places!!! I just wrote about it on my Ensemble TAP post! Lots of fine dining restaurants do it! Not even though… lots do it in general now. Cru, Tapanade Bistro, Diva at the Met, C, Raincity, Bacchus… lots… seasonal menus though so just call ahead to make sure 🙂

  • Linda says:

    haha i actually didn’t go on it because Dennis Pang told me it wasn’t worth it lol

  • Mijune says:

    @linda – lol… oh dennis. it’s a bit small, so you finish it quite quickly. I think they can work on the logistics a bit though. If they charge $5 maybe credit $3 back in a food coupon or something.

  • Donna says:

    Hello to all fans of the pork knuckles… we are back! Every weekend until Oktober at the RICHMOND NIGHT MARKET at River Road. Hope to see you there… we also sell XXL (16 inch!) Bratwurst with sauerkraut in a french bread… delicious 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Donna – yay!!! Thanks for the update Donna!!!

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