The foodie’s guide to Vienna’s Christmas markets

December 15, 2017

The foodie’s
guide to Vienna’s
Christmas markets

December 15, 2017

Vienna Würstelstand's says

‘Tis the season to… forget about your year-round diet and get stuffed with all the goodies Christmas brings with it! The Christmas markets aren’t just about drinking Glühwein and Punsch, and they’re not just about chestnuts, garlicky potato wedges and roasted almonds. No way!

There’s also plenty of passionate culinary experts amongst the stands. We’ve done the rounds of the markets to bring you these 7 food stands that will blow your foodie minds:


1. The ladies with the Gözleme

Where: Spittelberg Market
What: Oriental handmade pancakes / Gözleme
Price: 5.80€

As you enter the Spittelberg Christmas market from Burggasse, there on the corner of Gutenberggasse, things seem to warm up. And it’s not the crowds packed between the buildings radiating heat, but the big smiles and hot Gözleme-like creations being made by the ladies in this stand. The food stand is easy to recognize, with its oriental look, and the one lady in the back constantly preparing dough for the incoming orders. The dough is rolled out in a circular shape and topped with different flavours, from savoury ones, like different cheeses, potatoes or veggies to sweet ones, like Nutella or jam. Then the topped pancake is closed like a calzone and transferred to a spheric hot plate, where it is cooked on both sides. After a friendly chat with the staff behind the counter, we go for a classic and order the spinach & cheese gözleme. It’s done within a couple of minutes. Caution: product is hot and mighty tasty.


2. GoGo Pasta: the friendly crew from Sicilly making handmade pasta

Where: Spittelberg Market
What: GoGo Pasta, Sicilian handmade ravioli
Price: starting at 7.50€

This stand is full of character and this has mostly to do with the people behind it. This is another gem at the Spittelberg market that can be found in the middle of Gutenberggasse (look for the Italian flag). The fun crowd behind GoGo Pasta make you feel like you’re on an Italian holiday, while meanwhile you’ve lost all feeling in your cold little toe and are picturing a little toe funeral for when it falls off (all the other little toes standing around looking all upset). Not only will their fresh pasta on display catch you, but the range of food products out of Sicily (like the pistachio creme) laid out in front of the stand will also tempt you until you buy beyond expectations. The house specialty here is the handmade ravioli. This group of friends from Sicily bring the fun and the taste of Mediterranean to Spittelberg: they joke around and are open to chat to anyone passing by, while they prepare a new batch of raviolis filled with crazy good flavours, like gorgonzola with walnut, or pumpkin with mushrooms. Even the plates they serve their dishes on are fun (a baked flatbread moulded into a bowl). The pasta is not only good because it’s made fresh, but also because the sauces are full of the  best ingredients from Southern Italy, which they stand owners will proudly tell you…again and again.


3. Raclette: Did somebody say melted Swiss cheese?!?

Where: Karlsplatz Christmas Market
What: Bread smothered in tasty melted raclette cheese
Price: 4.80€

There are quite a few stands serving up raclette at Viennese Christmas markets, but this one at Karlsplatz is by far our favourite. Not only do they bring their ingredients and knowledge from Switzerland – the land of raclette – they also serve everything organic, which adds to the superior quality of the ingredients, which seems to make a difference to the taste.
The food stand is easy to recognise, since there is always a long line (which surprisingly seems to disappear quick) in front of a lit-up sign reading, “Raclette”. And the reason these people don’t mind queueing here for as long as it takes, is the anticipation of the gooey, hot, cheese covered bread that they’ll get for their patience…and a bit on cash.  The choices in variety are simple: ham & cheese, bacon & cheese, or just cheese. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, because the star of the show is definitely – once again – the cheese – the tangy, intense cheese scrapped straight off a huge wheel of cheese, being melted by hot plates. Once this extravagant piece of bread is served, you can top it with horseradish, fresh onions, peppers and paprika. We strongly advise you eat it straight away, before the melted cheese goes cold.


4. Woodfire flatbread: straight out of the oven

Where: Karlsplatz Christmas Market
What: Flatbread with bacon, cheese and garlic
Price: starting at 2.50€

This crowd has built up a big wood fire oven at the Karlsplatz Christmas market which never stops churning our delicious flat broad, after delicious flatbread. Every few minutes you’ll see somebody covered in flour pulling out a tray lined with freshly baked flatbreads, topped with different stuff, from garlic, to veggies to different cheeses, salami, or bacon. You can also choose to add a yoghurt, or spicy sauce. While the toppings add a great taste, the real star is the bread itself – thin and fluffy, crispy around the edges, with the distinct taste of the wood-fire. Our little tip: hide away at one of the few tables they set up behind the oven, to get warm while you savour this fabulous flatbread.


5. Truffles and gourmet Italian cheese

Where: Advent Genussmarkt bei der Oper
What: Fresh Truffles and truffle flavoured everything
Price: Fresh truffles 1.20€ / g

This Christmas Market is quite easy to miss, but it’s actually a great hidden gem for foodies. A walk down this market on Mahlergasse is like sampling your way through a long row of delicacies from several countries, and trust us, you might find yourself lingering longer at some; such as this small Italian deli stand that grabbed our attention with its strong smell of fresh truffles.
Besides the fresh truffles, you can also find truffle-infused oils, cheese with truffle, or several pesto’s that you can take home and have your way with. If truffles are not your thing, you can sample the large variety of Pecorino cheeses, salamis, and various other goodies.


6. Paleo cakes: healthy, tasty and energy-filled snacks

Where:  Advent Genussmarkt bei der Oper
What: Raw, vegan, nut-based cakes that suit the paleo diet and much more
Price: 3.50€ / 100gr

One of the last stands at the Mahlergasse Christmas Markets contains one of the last things you’d expect at one of these markets – a man with a charming moustache and a big smile (ok, you can expect this part), selling cheese and a specialty called, Paleo “Schnitte”: a nut & dried fruit raw, vegan cake that can be eaten as a snack, or with a nice coffee, tea or why not – some Glühwein.
We were amazed by the flavours these cakes come in: pumpkin, ginger, apricots, cranberries, even lavender makes up the tastes of this energy-packed delight. We tried the “Wanderer” one, supposedly packed with green energy (not sure what this means, but we loved how nutty, sweet, yet healthy it tasted!). Also, good to know: the gentleman behind the counter is happy to give you a taste of all these wicked flavours before you buy!


7. Grill your own tasty snacks on sticks

Where: Haas & Haas wintermarkt
What: A variety of skewers to grill on the fire yourself
Price: 4–6€ / skewer

This magical little Christmas market has an original little concept of its own – grill your own Christmas snacks! Located out the back of the Haas & Haas tea house, you’ll see the warm glow of fire coming from the fires at the tables scattered around the courtyard garden. One of them is cooking a bowl of hearty Goulash, while on another you can grill your own snacks on sticks! You can buy yourself some of the ready-made skewers, like the plum wrapped in crispy bacon, or sausages, to grill over the coal-fired grills. This makes for a very special experience that is unique to the Haas & Haas Wintergarten.

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