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