Christmas Markets of the United States.

Christmas Markets have become a popular place to visit during the Christmas season. What does a Christmas Market entail? And when did it begin? Widely popular all throughout Europe, Christmas Markets have had a long tradition of being an important aspect of the season. Taking a look back at some history, Vienna, Austria, was first to have “December Market” in 1298. As for the Christmas Markets opening in Germany, there have been different answers: Munich 1310, Bauzen 1384 and Frankfurt 1393. From there the Christmas Markets spread across Europe and beyond. Below is a photo from the Christmas Market in Nuremberg.

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Christmas Markets are also known as Christkindlmarkts, otherwise known as Christ Child Markets. This dates back to the days of Martin Luther where he wanted to take focus away from the Saints Nicholas and Martin. Before the 1530s, gifts were exchanged on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) or November 11 (St. Martins Day). Martin Luther’s children received gifts on the 24th of December, from Christkindl or Christ Child, and as that continued some of the Christmas Markets called themselves Christkindlmarkts.

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I’d like to make sure we give credit to German Girl In America for a lot of the data and information that I shared here with you all.

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Christmas Markets have spread all across the United States and have gained popularity among larger cities. Just take a moment on Google and you can search the many markets across the States. I’ll list a few here:

Note that all the Christmas Markets have different operating dates, times and such. Do check out their websites prior to visiting and research what is available and open during certain times of the holiday season.

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These Christmas Markets offer a variety of seasonal treats, foods, candies and an assortment of gifts, festivities and fun for families and friends to enjoy. Have you been to a Christmas Market? If you have, what are your favorite things to do, to see, or to buy?

If you are searching for a Christmas Market near you, try looking at ChristmasMarkets.com to help you with your search!

The photos that are seen throughout this post are all under Creative Commons CC0 and were obtained by Pixabay.

 

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Run, Run… As Fast As You Can…

Run, run… as fast as you can, but no one can stop the demise of Mr. Ginger, the DSC_0013Gingerbread Man! As I was shopping in one of the local stores in town, I passed by Mr. Ginger, the cute and friendly gingerbread man who brings holiday cheer all the way from Belgium’s Belfine chocolate factory. I couldn’t pick up just one, I had to pick up several. We have friends and family visiting later this month and he makes the perfect little addition to any gifts or treats we will be passing out or having on hand when company arrives. He’s super cute, made of chocolate and he appears to be a friendly little fellow. Unfortunately I could not save him from the demise of my youngest son. And what can I say, I suppose it was entertaining to watch Mr. Ginger see a cruel and horrific fate!

But before I share the downfall of Mr. Ginger, I’d like to also share this little gift package I bought the other day that was sitting right next to Mr. Ginger! It’s the cutest Santa with his sleigh and some reindeer! It’s the perfect gift for any child, young OR old, boy OR girl! It’s currently sitting on my kitchen counter, and there have been several eyes lurking at the prize inside! Sadly, this little gift package is NOT for my children, it will be given away to company visiting later this month! It’s actually torturing my youngest child who cannot wait for his friend to visit! He keeps asking me if it’s Christmas yet, I sadly let him know that it is not. He keeps asking me if his friend is arriving soon and if he’s in town already, I sadly once again let him know that it’s just not time yet. SOON! Very soon!

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I have to admit, I have come close to opening this package of Santa and his reindeer myself… I keep thinking to myself that it would be fun to nibble off the antlers on those four-legged sleigh transporters. But seriously? How cute is this? Anyone would love receiving this little box as a gift for the holidays!

I am seriously impressed with these gorgeous Belfine chocolates – I just love the designs they come up with and I love how they package their products. Belfine seems to be a really creative and fun company to work for! I did write about their process of chocolate character making earlier this year in this blog post. It’s really neat how the chocolates are all made unique and have their own name. What I also espeically like about these chocoloates are the bright colors these treats have! They are made well and you can tell just by looking at them that these are a quality product! Let’s also not forget – they are GMO free!

I told my mom about the cute Santa and his reindeer for gift giving ideas, when she actually saw the package on my counter she was pleasantly surprised even noted how cute the set was! I kind of think that she would have rather been the first one to see it and buy it herself for gift giving purposes! I beat her to it!

And now… I bring your attention back to poor Mr. Ginger. Someone had waaaay too much fun chomping off his head… the poor little gingerbread dude never stood a chance! At least it was quick?!?! 😉

Nibble, nibble!

 

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Buttery Bliss.

The holiday season is here! With it comes time with family, loved ones, friends and DSC_0010maybe even the opportunity to meet new acquaintances. Sometimes these events and gatherings take place in the morning, maybe later in the day or evening. But one thing I can say that can be enjoyed any time of day or night is this: shortbread. Great as a dunking partner with your morning cup of Joe or with your afternoon tea, or perhaps as a side dessert item with a cordial after dinner, shortbread goes well with just about anything.

We’ve talked about a lot of different cookies, butter cookies and shortbread, and again, we have another variety to bring to you attention! Walkers Shortbread has got some awesome shortbread cookies and other baked delights. As do many of the products featured here at Gourmet Nibbles, Walkers reminds me of days growing up and visiting my grandparents house and seeing these baked treasures out on the table. They weren’t always out, they only made an appearance for special occasions.

What I love best about Walkers Shortbread is the packed butter flavor, with a dense, yet flaky finish that leaves you wanting more bites of cookie bliss even before you’ve finished your first cookie. They come in all different shapes and sizes. For instance, the package size you are seeing with Santa, the two pack, is perfect for grabbing on the go when you can’t sit down at home and enjoy a quick nibble or perfect for stocking stuffers this Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas and the holidays, giving the gift of shortbread, I think, is better than giving candy or other sugary sweets and treats. Shortbread is just a classic item to have in your house, it goes with just about anything. Shortbread is perfect for before or after any meal. Set it out with snacks or appetizers, or serve it with dessert and post-dinner beverages.

Exporting shortbread from Scotland since the 1970s to over 60 countries, Walkers used the original recipe of Joseph Walker who set out on his ambitious baking adventure to bake “The World’s Finest Shortbread”. As times have changed and new factories built, the company produces a new range of shortbread and biscuits on the following conditions: They would have to continue to use the finest ingredients of plump fruits, aromatic spices, chunks of real chocolate and wholesome nuts. (Source: Walkers Website “Our History”)

For any time of the day, for any occasion, Walkers shortbread will be perfect for just about any event. Go out and grab some and discover the rich, buttery bliss that this product has. You will not be disappointed! They also have a variety of cute holiday shapes, packaging and more! If you ever find the Scottie shaped shortbread from Walkers, that shape is one of my favorites!

By the time this post is even published, you bet those shortbread in front of my coffee mug this morning are LONG GONE! Nibble, nibble!

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A Little Taste of Denmark.

It’s the holiday season. We have now celebrated Thanksgiving here in the United States and now we are on to all the holidays that await us in December. With the holiday season also comes the holiday party season. Some parties you may need to bring an item to pass, or something to exchange or maybe you just want to bring something along to gift your host. What do you bring? The possibilities are endless, and I can suggest one for you!

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Why not bring a tin of delicious butter cookies? You can’t go wrong with butter cookies! Kids and adults enjoy a quick bite of a little butter cookie if you pass it before them! How do I know? I did just this exact thing the other day as I was thinking about writing this post! As I was visiting my brother and the rest of my family out on some wooded property in West Michigan, I brought along a Jacobsens cookie tin. Getting in the festive mood of the season, I had the cute Santa tin along with me.

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Out of 11 people comprising of 2 children and 9 adults, I passed around the cookie tin and personally offered a treat. Out of how many people do you think passed on a cookie? NONE. Every. Single. Person… took a Danish butter cookie that was offered to them! You can’t say no to a butter cookie! (And then after you have one, you’ll want to eat another! And then more!)

Jacobsens of Denmark is known world-wide for their butter and chocolate chip cookies. They are light and baked perfectly, and I have to admit, they do seem to “melt” in your mouth when you take a bite! I can never just have one!

These butter cookies, as a lot of the products I feature here, bring me back to my childhood. Along with some other cookies featured here, these Danish butter cookies were always a staple at my grandparents house growing up. I even recall my grandmother using a cleaned out, empty tin for some of her crochet and other sewing supplies! It came in handy for additional storage after the cookies were gone!

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So there you have it! You can have your cookie and then use your tin, too! Some of the Jacobsen’s holiday tins you could reuse to fill other holiday baked treats and items. You could also use it for storing holiday cards and keepsakes! A perfect holiday cookie tin you can bring to share, exchange, or gift! Give the taste of Denmark as a gift to someone you care about this holiday season! Perfect with a nice cup of tea, coffee or hot cocoa!

 

Star Light, Star Bright, It’s Pasta Night!

Today I present to you Bechtle Christmas Pasta! It’s fun for the whole family because it has different colored pasta shapes of Christmas cheer! Who wouldn’t enjoy eating pasta  with the shapes of St. Nicholas, a Christmas Tree and a Shooting Star!? My kids of course, loved this pasta. My oldest said to me, “It’s deliciously awesome!” and the youngest, “This is the ‘bestest’ pasta ever!” I haven’t seen my oldest suck down pasta so fast than he did when I put these fun shapes in front of him! And guess what? Yes… these are made with some wholesome ingredients! This pasta is made with durum wheat semolina and seasoned with tomato and spinach powders.

 

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Back the train up you say? What is durum wheat semolina? Take a look at this:

Durum wheat is a subspecies of T. turgidum. Durum in Latin means “hard”. Durum wheat is the hardest of all wheats. Durum kernels are amber-colored and larger than those other wheat classes. When durum wheat is milled, its endosperm is ground up into a product called semolina. The hard grain of durum wheat is more likely to shatter into coarse fragments and offer a high semolina yield on milling when compared to other wheat types. The durum wheat is milled to remove the bran and germ, leaving the rich yellow endosperm granules called semolina. The semolina, high in strong gluten protein, offering a bright clean yellow color is used to make premium pasta, bulgur, couscous and a range of other traditional products. Source: www.appreciategoods.com

This may have been a little more information that what you wanted to know, but it’s good to learn about the food you eat and how it’s made! Take a look at the ingredient list – short, sweet, and simple. Exactly how it should be!

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Some of the healthy benefits of durum what are: it can help with a balanced diet with its dietary fiber content, vitamins and minerals, is low in sodium and cholesterol. You get a boost of vitamin B-complex with durum wheat, specifically, folate and thiamine. Thiamin helps maintain the nervous system and your brain, while folate aids in the regeneration of red blood cells in our bodies. Products are made from durum flour can help with weight loss. The durum flour is digested slowly in the body, therefore you may feel more full for a longer period of time, preventing you from overindulging. The soluble fiber found in durum wheat also helps with slowing the digestion process, thus keeping your digestive system healthy. While there are a range of health benefits from consuming durum wheat, it does have a high gluten content, so it is not a wise choice for those who have celiac diseases, gluten sensitivity or have wheat allergies. (Data obtained from www.appreciategoods.com)

 

This pasta is packed in the perfect sized package that would be great for a stocking stuffer or placed inside a beautifully crafted food gift basket! If you are having guests over for a meal, why not add some color and shapes to your favorite pasta dish or pasta salad? The pasta is delicious and has been kid tested and approved!