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All across Europe towns are turning into Christmas Wonderland's as the annual Christmas markets pop up in the centre of historic cities creating the picture perfect Christmas scene.
As well as picking up artisanal Christmas gifts, Christmas markets are a hub of freshly cooked local food and delicacies and a great way to experience the culture of a region.
From the 'Capital of Christmas,' Strasbourg, to protected sausages in Nuremberg, we have the lowdown on a selection of European festivals where food is a major draw.
Regardless of which Christmas market you choose you're guaranteed a good time of conviviality, food, drink, traditional music and more. So, pick a market for a weekend break and get your bit of Christmas cheer in a winter wonderland.
For full immersion head to Vienna where around 10 markets Christmas-markets scatter the city in a tradition that dates back some 600 years. An equally impressive spread of food stalls have a strong regional touch and include Erdäpfelpuffer, Rösti, gingerbread, or traditionally roasted hot chestnuts which can be enjoyed with the obligatory mulled wine.
When: 12 November to 24 December, 2016
Get into the Holiday spirit in the home town of chocolate at the christmast markets located in the historial Market Square of picture perfect Bruges. Jenever gin, hot chocolate pancakes and delicious snacks are all on the seasonal menu.
When: 25 November to 1 January 2017
Budapest Christmas Market
With around 150 stalls housed in small wooden huts this is an authentic Christmas market for picking up christmas gifts just as much as serious eating. Traditional food and entertainment take centre stage and there's plenty of outdoor seating to eat and drink in comfort from any number of the numerous food stands.
Visitors get to try a huge selection of freshly cooked local delicacies including everything from grilled hungarian sausages to goose stuffed cabbage and goulash and much more. Culinary novelties for 2016 include: goulash soup with prunes, Jerusalem artichoke cake/rösti, pulled pork burger, lamb sandwich with roasted red pepper paste, pumpkin braised in duck fat sprinkled with hot pumpkin seed and foie gras sausage.
Feast on mulled wine, cinnamon-pastry chimney cakes (kurtoskalacs) and toki pompos, a Hungarian-style pizza topped with bacon, onion and cream. Be sure to sip a glass of Hungarian sparkling wine in Varosliget café, overlooking the ice rink.
Why not finish off with the traditional 'chimney' cake which is worth it for the novelty factor.
When November 13, 2016 – Jan 6, 2017
Web Budapest Christmas Market
An easy 90 minutes from London on the Eurostar make this French market an ever popular gourmet destination come the build up to Christmas. Mulled wine (Vin chaud), nougat and pommes d’amour are just a few of the treats that will have you going gaga over christmas.
When: 18 November to 30 December, 2016
Strasbourg Christmas Market
Photo: F. Badias / Cus
Known as the 'Capital of Christmas' it's a badge the city wears with pride. With some 300 chalets spread over 11 sites in the city centre, the Strasbourg's Christmas market it is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Not only will you find traditional arts and crafts and typical Alsatian Christmas decorations but plenty of food.
Don't miss the special “bredele”biscuits that come in all shapes, sizes and flavours. From hazelnut, orange and cinnamon to walnut, coconut and praline, try a selection, perfect to hang on the tree at home then devour.
When 25 November to 31December 2016
Web Strasbourg Christmas Market
Bid your friends a “Buon Natale” at the seasonal markets in Bologna, the city synonymous with good food. Take your pick of seasonal Italian delicacies and indulge your sweet tooth with marzipan fruit, citrus peel dipped in dark chocolate, torrone and much more, this is one fair where you most definitely won't go hungry.
When 20 November 2016 to 6 January 2017
Trento Christmas Market
This South Tyrolean market held in the foot of the dolomites Piazza Fiera attracts around 500,000 visitors every year. Of the hundred wooden huts selling traditional artisanal goods a good number are dedicated to showcasing the edible specialities of Trentino, known as the "Flavours of the Christmas Market".
Taste apple strudel, "treccia mochèna" (plaited pastry cake), "polenta brustolada" (grilled polenta), traditional recipes (sweet and savoury) from the Trentino and the Tyrol regions and local dishes such as "tortel di patate" (potato cake), "goulash zuppe" (goulash soup), "canederli" (dumplings). Try washing them down with popular drinks including the "vin brulè"(mulled wine) of Trentino and "parampampoli" (hot toddy)
It's also a good chance to stock up on high quality local foods like organic cheese and goat cheese, "speck" (smoked ham)as well as sweets, pastries and hot chocolate.
When 19 November 2016 to 6 January, 2017
Web Trento Christmas Market
Nuremberg Christmas Market (Christkindelmarkt)
Nuremberg's Christmas Market, held in the Main Market Square is billed as one of Germany's oldest Christmas fairs dating back to the mid 16th century. A friendly and accessible fair in a historical location this is a great place to pick up some traditional souvenirs and enjoy local specialities.
Nuremberg is famous for its prized local speciality the “Rostbratwurst” sausage, which has been given European protection status and must only be produced within the city limits of Nuremberg according to the official traditional recipe. The markets are a pefect place to get your fill of this special sausage. They can even be bought in cans as a souvenir to take home.
If you have a sweet tooth don't miss out on the city's special take on the famous gingerbread biscuit, the glazed lebkuchen, known as Nuremberg Elisenlebkuchen. As well as the individual market stalls you'll also find specialised shops selling them in festive musical wind up tins.
When 25 November to 24 December 2016
Web Nuremberg Christmas Market