This probably won't surprise you, but I travel mostly for food. When I sit down to make out my map of things I must do and see when visiting a new country, regional foods to eat is typically on top of the list. Christmas markets are no exception, and they may be the foodie-est event of the year.
Some people like to buy trinkets and scarves and ornaments at these markets — a European tradition that is as common in every town as a mall Santa in America. I, however, would like five mugs of mulled wine, please, and at least three treats.
Christmas markets are great — they evoke a very cozy feeling and put you right in the Christmas spirit, with impressive light displays, regional traditions and Christmas companions (we luckily avoided Krampus in Austria — he's apparently a bit of a dick), and local musicians playing in the streets. Sometimes you even get lucky and snow falls and you tra-la-la through the streets until you're reminded that snow is cold and the sun friggin' sets at 4:30 so you get more mulled wine and drunkenly buy another blanket scarf.
So, what did we eat at the Innsbruck Christmas market, celebrating southern Tyrol cuisine? Kässpatzen (which is basically Bavarian mac & cheese, and which I plan to make on the blog soon), red and white glühwein (mulled wine, and white is my favorite), giant pretzels (bretzen in German), or on the top of my list, kiachl, the sugared, fried donut-like pastry with cranberry sauce in the middle (pictured above). Just move me to Austria, throw me in an XL dirndl and call me Heidi.
Photos and text © Katie Currid, 2015. All rights reserved.