Christmas markets are wonderful for a multitude of reasons. Awesome finds, unique presents, pretty lights and best of all, it gets you the festive mood. Among these, one of the highlights has got to be the food! That could just be me. That could just be the Trini in me. We love our bellies!
In this one concentrated area of Christmas fun, you can find so many things to eat. It’s been particularly great this season, because I’m in a new city in a new country and lots of the foods are new to me. My eyes were as wide as the huge, steaming saucepans they fell upon, as I walked along peering at everything. The smells, the colours, the names I very slowly try to pronounce, depending on how many čárkas ´ and are háčeks ˇ are present. All of it makes for an exciting cultural experience.
So, without any further delay, here are some of the delights I have sampled over the past few weeks.
Koleno na pivě. This taste just like the stew we make in Trinidad!!!! So it’s probably one of my happiest finds- stew pork. Extremely tender and juicy. Flavourful. Beautiful.
Halušky (“haloushky”). I completely forgot that I was strictly instructed to only have this when I go to Slovakia. But the person wasn’t mad, because apparently now I’ll be able to see why he said that. Haha. Surprisingly tasty… I’m always a little weary of what to expect when cabbage is involved. It also had chunks of sausage in it and some sort of doughy pieces which I later learned is typically made of a mixture of potato and flour. It did make my tummy grumble a bit after :z I’m not sure if that’s due to the dish itself or where I bought it.
Horká medovina. Hot honey wine. Ooh-wee. This one will go straight to your head if you’re not careful. Shout out to my students who recommended I try it. Not overly sweet, decent kick, warms the soul and your organs. Yes.
Good ol’ ham. The reason this became a priority was because one of my students told me his dad said to him and his mum, “There’s ham in Prague. We are going this weekend!” That was reason enough for me. When I was in Prague, I followed suit. However they cure it gives it an excellent flavour. I could see why one would travel miles for it. Succulent, tasty, divine. One of the best buys.
Trdelník. I saw lots of these as I wandered around the markets. I had never seen anything like it before. The dough was wrapped around a massive stick and cooked over hot coals. They were then rolled in sugar and nuts. You could also get chocolate put on the inside or add cinnamon as well. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. A filling treat.
Staple mulled wine. Tis the season. There was a huge opportunity to customize your drink at this hut. Spike it however you want and then you could also choose to add lemon, orange, strawberries or raisins and almonds. We bought the recommended Královský Punč (included brandy) and added raisins and almonds to ours. Chin chin!
Bramborák. Fried potato, need I say more? Okay 🙂 This was essentially a hash brown of sorts. The smell as you walk pass makes it irresistible. That is, until you try it. The flavour was good, it was lightly seasoned. The edges were crispy and crunchy but wow, the oil. About three of my napkins got soaked through with oil. As I got to the halfway mark, I decided to give up. The oil started making me feel a bit queasy. This one was not for me, though I’ve been told that this is one you have to make at home because it’s usually miles better. I believe them.
Sausages. You can’t really go wrong, can you? I chose a black one and it tasted kind of like black pudding. Kerry chose a lighter one with a yellowish colour, which tasted a bit like liver. We were both pleased with our choices.
Langoše. Another one that reminded me of stuff from Trinidad (fry bake). After carefully stretching and shaping the dough, it goes swimming in hot oil. You could add different toppings. Available were cheese, mustard, ketchup and something else I didn’t get the name of. Another one that made the favourite list for me, but I’m probably bias because it reminded me of home 🙂
And those were my “new buys, new tries” at the Christmas markets here in the Czech Republic. What things do you most look forward to at the Christmas market? Have you ever tried anything strange and new there?
~~~The Wandering Pier