Markets in Vienna take on a magical quality with historic fairytale buildings serving as backdrops, spectacular light displays throughout the city, and all the sounds and smells of Winter. You can hardly walk down the street without running into one of the many markets. They are big and small, sometimes focusing more on food and drink and other times arts and crafts. They often reflect the vibe of the neighborhood. The most spectacular is the one located at the Rathaus, Vienna’s city hall.
Here, you can find all types of Austrian treats like the Krapfen, a light, airy donut usually filled with apricot jam.
In a city that loves chocolate, there are plenty of choices: hot chocolate, truffles, chocolate santas, and fondue to name a few.
There are plenty of savory foods like stuffed baked potatoes, goulash in bread bowls, and sausages galore.
It wouldn’t be Austria without a pretzel or two. Unlike Bavaria, where they kept pretzels mostly traditional, Vienna is not afraid to play with them: donut pretzels, chocolate covered, and salted originals, of course.
One of the most classic images of Christmas comes from the song, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” They are here, too. Admittedly, Mr and Mrs Smith had not had the authentic version. There may be a reason why. By themselves, they’re a little dry and mealy – much better in a dessert or stuffing.
Food items are also used for decoration and to provide the smells of the season like these cute ornaments made from star anise.
We brought home some of these colorful dried fruit clusters to make the house smell of orange-cinnamon all season long.
To stay warm, many booths offer hot gluhwein and fruit punsch. In contrast to Prague and Nuremberg, Viennese seemed to prefer punsch over gluhwein. Both are sweetened and watered down so that the alcohol is lessened tremendously, but punsch is even sweeter and more diluted. It also contained lots of fruit like berries, cherries, apples, and apricots. It comes in cute mugs with a refundable deposit at any punsch booth.
To soften the sadness of leaving the market behind, there’s always gingerbread for later.