Photos by Eric J.W. Li
Last week, I visited the Vancouver Christmas Market for the very first time. I was ecstatic. A cozy, rainy date night enjoying German fare at Vancouver’s gorgeous waterfront—what’s not to love?
Upon entering, I felt like I was in a mock-up straight from Western Europe. The smell of dried lavender bouquets—imported from Provence, France—wafted through the air. I could also hear the crackle of an Oktoberfest pork roast.
At the centre of the market was a larger than life Christmas Pyramid, or the “Weihnachtspyramide” in German.
We made our way to the pyramid first to try mulled wine, a traditional winter drink, especially during Christmas. Drinking it feels like a cozy log fire in the middle of a pine forest. The flavour of the wine is enhanced by notes of summer and citrus.
If you want to make the most of a German Christmas market, don’t forget to eat sausage! We ate a special German sausage called Weisswurst (pronounced vice-vursht). A traditional sausage with hints of lemon and parsley. Oddly enough, I also got to ‘milk the teats’ of a condiments dispenser to pour ketchup and mustard on my hot dog. I thought it was quirky.
There are plenty of opportunities to take pictures at the market. To set your date night in the festive spirit, the lovers’ lane is a 20-foot lighted tunnel, complete with a mistletoe hanging from the top.
Afterward, we stopped to get a bag of roasted chestnuts. Traditionally eaten in Eastern Asia during wintertime, this delicacy took me by surprise. I devoured half our bag, secretly hoping I didn’t have to share them. They had this earthy, mushroom-like texture and left a sweet after-taste.
The rain bore down on us but the sounds of carolling and cheery banter managed to lighten the atmosphere.
It wouldn’t have been a Christmas market if there wasn’t eggnog. The drink was warm, fuzzy and utterly scrumptious. It was topped off with whipped cream and a hit of smooth, throat-warming rum that left me craving for more. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you that this was my first time trying it!
Seeing as my hands were already frozen and were about to fall off (I had forgotten to wear mittens – a classic international student rookie mistake), the drink hugged me like a comforting, imaginary blanket. The wind and rain dampened our clothes but not our Christmas spirit.
The Vancouver Christmas Market is open daily from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm until December 24th when it closes at 6:00 pm. Tickets are sold here and don’t forget to wear gloves!