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The Original Christmas Market in Nuremberg

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt celebrates 700 years this year. Take that, Mall of America. One of the oldest and most authentic of Europe's Christmas markets, handmade Christmas decorations and culinary treats are offered by over 180 vendors.

The enticing aroma of lebkuchen (gingerbread), mulled wine, and grilled sausage fills the air.

Lebkuchen, a thick, chewy gingerbread is reminiscent of fruit cake with nuts and pieces of dried fruit. It comes plain or in flavors such as chocolate, white chocolate, and hazelnut. It even comes in all sorts of shapes and decorated for the holidays.

This moist gingerbread pairs perfectly with the other star attraction, glühwein or mulled wine. Practically every other booth serves it. While it's generally the same, each stall puts its own spin on the tradition. The one below mixes theirs with flaming rum.

If you prefer to play with your food rather than eat it, then the Nuremberg Christmas market has just the thing for you. Zwetschgenmännle, the beloved figures made of prunes, have been sold at the Christkindlesmarkt for decades.

For still adorable, but non-food-based, characters, nutcrackers in Germany still rule.

For the cold walk home, we recommend another cup of glühwein. Our favorite is the Heidelbeer-glühwein, a blueberry wine spiced with aniseed, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices.

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