Saturday 15 December 2018

Exploring the 9th Annual Vancouver Christmas Market

The holidays are in full swing and so is the iconic Vancouver Christmas Market. The 9th annual Vancouver Christmas Market continues to transform Jack Poole Plaza into a magical European-inspired holiday village complete with a towering Christmas tree, Christmas Pyramid and piping hot cups of mulled wine. 

I started attending the market back when it was at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, but it has since outgrown that space. Nestled in the middle of the market is Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Cauldron. The holidays for me are just not complete unless I attend the Vancouver Christmas Market. It is honestly just a lovely way to spend an evening with a couple of friends. It is a few hours that I get to be immersed in a world of pure holiday spirit. 

There are over 80 wooden huts, each offering up unique gifts and food. All of the huts are adorned with a Herrnhuter Sterne, a star that families in Germany decorate their homes with. Some of my favourite stalls at the market are Crystallize Home, Provence en Couleur and 4 Cats Art Studio. Now the last one is not very Euro-esque, but I have always loved going to 4 Cats. They have brought along a huge variety of clay figure kits and at $15 a box, these make really cute gifts. Provence en Couleur featured stunning olive wood bowls and dinnerware. Now the most festive of the three is Crystallize Home. Nestled inside clear baubles are Red Robyns, Owls and even little squirrels. Just a really unique and pretty ornament for any tree. 

Unlike previous years, there is now a cozy little bar hidden away in the corner of the market called the WunderBar. Honestly, you will want to pay a visit to the WunderBar because it is heated and will give you a chance to sit down and relax. The cozy ski lodge themed bar also has a small cocktail menu as well as a sweet and savoury board. Also, you can get the market's Gl├╝hwein (mulled wine) in a limited edition black santa boot shaped mug. Between the Charcuterie and the Dessert Board, I would hands down pick the dessert. The Charcuterie is very minimal and comes with one type of cracker and cheese. On the other hand, the sweet platter features an assortment of cookies, but the real star is the miniature black forrest cake. The authentic German-style black forrest cake has layers of moist chocolate sponge with fresh chantilly and sweetened cherries. Now if you keep an eye out in the market, you will actually spot this exact cake at the Das Kuchen Haus along with their other delicious treats like apple strudel and bienenstich, also known as bee-sting cake. It is recommended to make a reservation online prior to, but from what I saw, you can also walk-in and order a la carte. 

Now with any sort of festival or market, you know I am there for the food, so this time was no different! The one dish I look forward to enjoyed every single year are the kartoffelpuffers. Found at the Kartoffelhaus which also happens to sell another favourite potato snack, the rotato, these potato pancakes are griddled infront of you fresh and are served steaming hot with a side of sour cream and applesauce. I highly suggest asking for salt and pepper and are best enjoyed with big dollops of both the sour cream and applesauce! I love them so much that I had two plates of them! 

Freybe Brat Haus have brought their classic German Bratwurst smokies to the market which are grilled and nestled inside a bun with horseradish, ketchup and mustard. The brat is juicy and full of flavour, but the bun was stale and tough to bite. This past year the internet has blown up with videos and pictures of giant cheese wheels that are seared on one end before the melted gooey cheese is scraped onto the main dish. If you have been dying to try it for yourself, you are in luck because you can this melted Swiss cheese at the Cheese Me Raclette. Das Stollen Haus is offering up delectable German-style breads and cakes which are baked fresh everyday at their North Vancouver bakery. I brought home a slice of the Tiramisu cake with me and oh my, it is a must try! Words cannot describe the airy sponge and coffee infused filling. Another notable and favourite food outlet at the Vancouver Christmas Market are the Bavarian-style Pork Hocks at the Haxen Haus. The pork hocks literally filled the air with a rich meaty aroma that drew huge masses to their stall. Not to mention the hocks are being roasted out in the open, further tantalizing market goers. 

The Vancouver Christmas Market is going to be open up until Christmas day, so you still have time to check out all the yuletide cheer. I suggest purchasing entrance tickets online as they are $12 versus $15 at the door. 

For more information and pictures on The Vancouver Christmas Market, I recommend heading over to my beloved friend Maggie's blog: Vie a Maggi


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