Nov 30, 2021 - Food and Drink

Taste test: Chicago's Christkindlmarket foods

Plate with sausage and hot cocoa.

Hot cocoa, leberkase and a kilometer sausage with sauerkraut from the Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Now in its 25th year, Chicago's Christkindlmarket has expanded its food offerings way beyond bratwurst, strudel and spiced wine.

  • But it's hard to know what's worth trying with only one stomach for sampling.
  • So we brought three hearty appetites to the Wrigleyville Christkindlmarket to test old favorites and new flavors.

Takeaways: We ranked a few items using a one to five ❄️ system.

❄️ The Spam-like leberkase ($9) doesn't taste nearly as bad as its translation of "liver cheese," but recalls a dull hot dog and should be avoided.

❄️ ❄️ The Fons plant-based Venezuelan empanadas ($11.95 for 3) come in fun colors with intriguing fillings (sweet potato chili and smoky mushroom), but feature too much dough and scream for some sort of sauce.

Three empanadas.
Fons Empanadas are pretty and interesting but a little too doughy. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ The snappy kilometer sausage ($8) topped with tasty sauerkraut from the Austrian Lodge delighted all three tasters.

❄️ ❄️ Bob's Belgian Hot Chocolate gets so much hype that we joined the long line and plopped down our $8 for a small cup, only to be disappointed. Rich and creamy but not super duper.

❄️ ❄️ ❄️ The tasty $4 cup of hot cocoa from the Austrian Lodge booth (where we got our sausage) actually beat the $8 cup in a blind taste test.

❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ The much lauded Soul & Smoke BBQ lives up to the hype with meltingly tender pulled pork and apple slaw between soft brioche buns ($14).

❄️ ❄️ ❄️ The cheesy raclette sandwich stuffed with a brat and pickles ($16) from the Baked Cheese Haus hit the spot for one taster. But another yearned for more flavor and less cheese. Still, it is fun to watch the servers scrape bubbly cheese into toasty rolls.

Pro tips: Visit on a weekday when the lines are short and sun is strong.

  • Unless you want to buy a commemorative mug, bring your own thermal coffee cups to keep drinks hot and your hands warm.
Pulled pork sandwich.
Pulled pork from Soul & Smoke at the Christkindlmarket. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

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