DiningFrankfurt's festive treats for foodies

Delve into the sweet and savoury delights of German Christmastime classics

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As Frankfurt gears up for the festive season, its Medieval squares echo with the sounds of wooden cabins being constructed, while the air becomes heady with the broiling, brewing and baking of traditional treats. Aromatic and indulgent, laced with sugar and spices, German Christmas delicacies play a key part in celebrations; and the most atmospheric way to sample them is amidst the cheery crowds of the city’s largest (and oldest) festive fete, Römerberg Christmas Market. Here are some of our favourites to look out for during your winter break at Jumeirah Frankfurt.

 

Gebrannte Mandeln

Starting small, these ‘burnt almonds’ aren’t in fact burnt but candied almonds, glazed with sugar and cinnamon. Pick up a scoop at one of a number of stands and warm your hands, enjoy their scent and nibble as you browse for other treats.

 

Glühwein

Unlike Germany’s other, beer-drinking regions, Frankfurt’s – and Hesse’s – year-round favourite is undoubtedly Apfelwein, a sharp, pungent cider. Come Christmas however, glühwein takes the stage: heated red wine, infused with cinnamon, cloves, orange and raisins. Served in a traditional mug, which you’ll put down a refundable deposit for, it’s a great barrier against the winter chill and readily available at most stalls.

Frankfurt Christmas gluhwein

 

Bethmännchen

A bite-sized pastry with marzipan, almonds and rosewater, bethmännchen is a tasty classic dating back to the early 19th century. Meaning ‘little Bethmann’, legend has it the recipe was first developed for an eponymous Frankfurt banker in 1838; its four embedded almonds are said to represent his sons. Although traditionally served on Christmas Day, you can find them throughout the festive season.

Quetschemännchen

Quaint and eye-catching, quetschemännchen are miniature figures crafted from dry fruit and nuts. Vendors across the city go all-out to outdo each other with tiny costumes and props and display these colourful figures in regimental rows. Though today a snack-turned-decoration, in antiquity, these figures were sent by young men seeking to woo young women as a token of their affection. Whilst not ideal for eating on the go, they make quirky gifts for those back home.

Pretzels

A far cry from the tiny, hard snacks served elsewhere, German pretzels are a grand, doughy affair that require two hands to hold. Variations are endless, from plain, salted or cheesy to sweet, scented and glazed, but the original remains the superior – a must for bread-lovers.

Frankfurt Christmas pretzels

 

Frankfurter käsefondue

Though fondues may have you recall Switzerland rather than Germany, the Frankfurt cheese fondue is indeed traditional, and a must for fans of savoury. Served with a special bread, often with herbs and onions, strong, bitter cheese known as handkäs or ‘hand cheese’ is melted in a special pot and presented for dipping. Hunt out the Winterpavilion for a local blend.

Stollen

A rich fruit cake featuring raisins, nuts, marzipan, candied peel, spices and rum, stollen dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was given by Saxon serfs to their lords in lieu of tax. Also known as Christstollen for its distinctive shape, supposed to resemble the swaddled infant Jesus, its moist insides are contrasted with a crispy outer crust, dusted in sugar; at most stands it’s served with cream and washed down with a hot drink. 

Christmas stollen Frankfurt food


Alternatively settle into one of the bars and restaurants at Jumeirah Frankfurt and discover some of the festive treats we have on offer.