In December there are few things I love to do more than visit the German Christkindl Market in Chicago’s Daley Plaza. Yes, it’s over-priced, cheesy, and CROWDED but it’s been a family tradition for more than half my life and nothing puts me in a jollier holiday spirit!
Run by the German American Services for the last 20 years, it’s the closest thing to a true German Christmas Market Chicago has. And since my father fell in love with REAL German Christmas Markets on his many business trips overseas, our family has been going for at least the last 15 of those 20 years, gorging on potato pancakes, mulled wine (for the adults), and plenty of gingerbread men happily.Located in the heart of Daley Plaza underneath the famous unnamed Picasso sculpture, little decorated wooden huts sell almost any German good you could think to buy for the holidays. Everything from porcelain houses…and traditional steins…to gingerbread men, strudels,stollen bites (a clever, portable version of the traditional German dessert),
fresh flavored pretzels…even cheese cake-stuffed ones,
and any kind of ornament you can think of!Being a self-diagnosed ornament addict, I have to admit that the ornament huts are my absolute favorite part of the entire market.
The ornaments themselves are pricey but every year we have a family tradition of picking out one for each of our Christmas trees (remember the London bus I brought home last year?). After a few years you can really amass an enormous collection!But the very very best part about the Christkindl Market is the mulled wine! Served in adorable stocking-shaped souvenir mugs (I’ve amassed quite a collection of those over the years too) it’s the perfect winter pick-me-up — liquid courage for the crazy Christmas crowds that surround you!
So this year when Anna and I went to the market I was so excited to introduce her to her very first taste of mulled wine. It’s a deliciously spicy red wine, sweetened slightly, and served piping hot… the jolliest holiday drink there is in my opinion!
Care to try a sip of mulled wine yourself?
It’s incredibly easy to make at home!
Heat a robust red wine (I prefer to use burgundy wines) with a tbsp of sugar per serving and a tea-infuser filled with a tbsp per serving of mulling spices. Warm slowly over medium-low heat stirring occasionally to allow the spices to infuse before all the alcohol evaporates (be sure not to boil it). Serve in your favorite cheery mug and toast to the delicious tastes of the season!Cheers!While Anna and I sipped our mulled wine snow actually began to fall too! Having missed the single snow storm that plagued Chicago last month, I was so excited to finally dance through a few flakes myself!
Coat – Forever 21 || Shirt – Uniqlo || Scarf – Reiss || Jeans – Asos ‘Ridley’ || Boots – Le Chameau (similar: 1 / 2) || Bag – Lulu’s (similar: 1 / 2 / 3) || Hat – Forever 21 (similar) || Lips – Stila in ‘Beso’
Photos courtesy of Anna of NoirFriday
After walking around and picking out a few ornaments for our collections, Anna and I ducked into the main lodge to enjoy a small German feast…of potato pancakes (delicious though not nearly as good as my Mom’s)and sauerkraut! While some of you make turn your noses up, my Polish blood lives for delicious sauerkraut like this and I’m almost embarrassed to admit how quickly I demolished this plate…
We also splurged on a delicious slice of apple strudel… AND enormous, piping hot pretzels!It was an absolutely magical day filled with all kinds of holiday cheer!
And luckily the Christkindl Market is open right up until Christmas Eve so you’ll probably find me there gorging on potato pancakes and trying not to break all of the ornaments in the ornament hut at least two or three more times before Christmas.
Just remember — blame any ornaments you break on the mulled wine!