by Sabrina Richard - Meats and sweets and cheese...lots and lots of cheese, OH MY! A review of the holiday tastes at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt.
CARMEL, Ind. (Dec. 2019) - The most important part of the holidays might not be visiting family or friends or even having “holiday cheer,” but the food and drink that brings everyone together.
Being the WHS resident Food Network chef, when the opportunity to eat food and be judgmental arises, I am so ready. Christkindlmarkt, the ever-present, and ever-exciting outdoor shopping center is where I had the honor to nibble my way through festive holiday treats. On an empty stomach, I embarked to try, see and learn about all of the foods from Carmel’s small German winter village.
Christkindlmarkt sits right where Carmel Farmers Market does in the summer, so many vendors have booths at both locations, letting consumers enjoy year-round local businesses. There are candied nuts and popcorn from Groomsville popcorn as well as waffles and crepes from businesses that have lines in winter and summer. Some foods, however, are unique to the winter festivities. For example, the charcuterie cone, which is a mix of meats, cheeses and crackers nestled with pork rinds in a paper cone. Another business utilizes a cob oven to make their amazing flatbread pizzas.
There are three stands that exclusively sell hot chocolate: Bob’s Belgian Hot Chocolate, The World’s Best Hot Chocolate and Java Haus. I tried all three, and there is a clear, defined difference between them. If you want a sweet, sweet treat - The World’s Best Hot Chocolate is the place to go. If you also want a coffee, Java Haus is for you. But, if you want the (subjectively) best hot chocolate, go to Bob’s. Made with milk, served with homemade whipped cream (You can hear and see the stand mixer they use!) and accompanied by a person-shaped sugar cookie with a slight cinnamon flavor, it isn’t just a rando-hot-chocolate. It’s the best hot chocolate at Christkindlmarkt! If that isn’t your vibe, there’s cider, loose-leaf tea, and adult beverages available as well.
Christkindlmarkt pulls from German influence and serves up many edible classics. Schnitzel is thinly sliced fried meat, followed by bratwursts that are grilled over a large charcoal pit. Plenty of cured meats all served with salty, tangy sauerkraut. For fermented dairy lovers, there’s cheese soup and raclette. Raclette - while it smells awful, tastes amazing. They hand you half of a baguette (about 18 inches of bread) and put on different cured meats, mustard and pickles before taking a heated half wheel of cheese and dumping it in the loaf. Then, they take more cheese and swipe it on top.
However, the most popular and whimsical savory treat is the Kartoffel-Spiess. A potato, cut (but still kept whole) and put on a skewer. It is fried until each connected slice of potato is crispy on the outside, but wonderfully fluffy on the inside. You’ll love it, even after realizing you ate an entire fried potato in five minutes. Well-seasoned and an amazing look, this potato will steal your heart. Arguably the best thing from Christkindlmarkt.
With a full stomach and my senses on overload, I can say without a doubt that the best place to get a taste of the holiday season is at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt.