What to Eat and Drink at Christmas Village in Love Park
All the best goodies to sip and snack on at Philly's German-style holiday pop-up market.
Christmas Village is in full swing across Love Park, Dilworth Park, and City Hall Courtyard. The German-inspired open-air market for gifts, ornaments, and European treats is the perfect place to shop for holiday gifts (or to treat yourself), sip some wine and beer, and taste goodies from local chocolates and Austrian pastries to bratwurst and cheesy raclette sandwiches.
The festivities are a little different this year, with a new layout, new vendors, and a new beer garden-slash-seating area, plus happy hour deals and tastings on select weekdays, but the traditional European-style fare remains the same.. These are all our favorite things to eat and drink at Christmas Village.
First things wurst: don’t leave Christmas Village without one of these German-style sausages. Our favorites come from the Bratwurst Grill stall, located at the south end of the market’s new beer garden. You’ll know it by the giant metal grill rack filled with sausages and suspended over a charcoal fire.
These flaky pastries from Helmut’s Original Austrian Strudel are a Christmas Village must, from classic sweet apple or cherry to savory puffs stuffed with spinach, broccoli, or beef Wellington. Get them from the Helmut’s stand near the center of the market.
Jump on the chance to get this special German sandwich with Turkish roots, made with vertically skewered meat roasted right there at the market (the technique has the same origins as gyro, shawarma, and al pastor). Enjoy this treat from the Berliner Döner Kebab stand along Arch Street.
John & Kira’s Chocolates
Chocolate is everywhere at Christmas Village, but this high-quality artisanal local brand (made in North Philly’s Feltonville) is our favorite. Hit up their stand along Arch Street for beautifully packaged boxes and three-packs for gifts and stocking stuffers, and don’t forget to grab a couple of their chocolate whiskey ganache-filled figs to snack on while you shop.
You can prepare raclette, Swiss-style melted cheese scraped onto bread or potatoes, with electric tabletop warmers and candle-powered contraptions. But the original way it’s made — scraped from a massive half-wheel of Alpine-style cheese that’s been heated till bubbly and brown onto a crunchy baguette — is best. Keep in mind that lines can get so long at the Baked Cheese Haus that the owners have doubled their capacity this year so that they can melt four half-wheels at a time (just follow your nose to the stand near 16th and Arch). Still, it’s a good idea to bring a couple hand warmers and grab some hot cider to keep you toasty while you wait.
First of all, some boozy updates to Christmas Village for 2018. There’s a new outdoor beer garden and seating section called the Alm near the corner of 15th and Arch Streets. But the real game changer this year is that you can stroll throughout Christmas Village whilst sipping your beer or mulled wine, rather than drinking in the beer garden only. There are some restrictions around this, though: at Dilworth Park, guests can drink beer throughout the Made in Philadelphia holiday market, but wine has to stay within the confines of Love Park. And there’s no drinking in the City Hall Courtyard section.
There’s also the new Ho Ho Happy Hour from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. every Wednesday, with deals on commemorative Christmas Village steins and mulled wine refills, beer, and brats. The folks from Thirsty Dice will also be at the beer garden with board games to play.
Bary Hygge will offer tastings of their house-made Brewery Techne beers in the Alm every Wednesday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. through December 19th. Purchase a ticket for a four-beer sample flight, a soft pretzel with mustard, a free draft beer at Bar Hygge in Fairmount, a $3 credit towards a pint of beer at Christmas Village, and another $3 credit towards a bratwurst.
Chester County-based Chadds Ford Winery will serve mulled wine and offer wine tastings every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. through December 20th. A ticket gets you samples of three wines, a sample plate of Christmas Village snacks, $5 towards a bottle of Chadds Ford wine, $5 off of an order of $25 at the Bacon Jams booth, and $1 off products at the German Sweets booth.