Food festivals and markets have grown in popularity over the past few years, especially Christmas Markets matching enticing European flavours with traditional British classics. They’re noted for the quality of their produce, from cheeses to confectionery and meats. By shopping at these markets customers can access quality, fresh, homemade produce whilst supporting local traders, bakers and chefs alike.
BAKO believe now is the prime opportunity to visit or even exhibit at a local Christmas market and find some inspiration for the new baking year whilst supporting your local producers. If you’re thinking of exhibiting, it can be the ideal time to receive some feedback from your customers and BAKO couldn’t think of a better opportunity to showcase your festive bakes and samples from your upcoming menu for 2015.
With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the classic foods that you can expect to be sampling over the festive period at your local Christmas markets.
The Stollen or German Christmas Cake, is probably one of the oldest and longest culinary traditions in German history. The basic ingredients of a Stollen are butter, raisins (sometimes soaked in rum), candied lemon and orange peel, flour, sugar and fresh yeast.
Originally given as a gift, today there are many different varieties available at most German Christmas Markets. Some of the delicious flavours include poppy seeds and nuts, creamy Quark, champagne, marzipan and almond. If you’re lucky enough to stumble across it, there’s also a Red Wine Stollen, made in certain regions of Germany.
Traditionally, almost every German household will either buy or bake their own Christmas Stollen for the Christmas Season, so you’re sure to find it at your local market this year.
Crepes & Waffles
Typically a French treat, sweet or savoury crepes can be enjoyed as a quick lunch or a tasty snack to accompany your hot chocolate or mulled wine. These extra thin pancakes always prove a hit at the market, served with a variety of indulgent fillings. From sweet fillings like chocolate spread and banana to savoury fillings of cheese and ham, there really is an option for every palette. Why not try serving crepes on your menu this season? An eggnog sauce could prove a hit!
Belgian Waffles are also popular at markets, with their characteristic pattern. The thicker batter forms a more dough-like consistency and a more dense and indulgent treat. Again served sweet or savoury, these are ideal for those customers looking for something to snack on whilst on-the-go. Why not introduce sweet and savoury with candied bacon and maple syrup?
Traditionally made with milk or cream, sugar and eggs, eggnog is a unique classic at this time of year. Served warm, it’s typically topped with cinnamon or nutmeg, but why not create a more indulgent twist with some added cream? Spirits such as brandy or rum can also be added, and it can be used as a flavouring for other food and drinks. How about an eggnog latte? Or an eggnog custard or ice cream?
Mulled wine is a festive tradition, served warm, the unique aromas of the mulling spices remind many of Christmas. It can also be served in a non-alcoholic version or alongside a crepe or slice of stollen, to create a real winter warmer.
Historically also known as a honey cake or pepper cake, Lebkuchen is a traditional German-baked Christmas treat, similar to gingerbread, which is generally served around Christmas time with a cup of tea or coffee.
Traditionally rectangular or round in shape, they have a sweet, nutty taste, with a spicy aroma. Typically soft with a slight crunch, they are glazed or covered with dark chocolate and chopped nuts, although some are left uncoated.
They are sold in highly decorated tins or are shaped and decorated with personalised messages piped in icing, as an ideal Christmas gift. Also known for its links to Hansel and Gretel, customers can create highly decorated Lebkuchen houses – a great festive activity for all the family to enjoy.
There are so many fantastic markets on offer to visit at this time of year in the North West. If there are any markets that you would highly recommend, or a classic food that you are looking forward to baking this Christmas, we would love to hear from you on Twitter.