Christmas Market Food of the Day: Gebrannte Mandeln
by Heidi Obermeyer
Everybody brace yourselves. Seriously, get ready. I am about to reveal to you my absolute FAVORITE thing about Christmas in Germany. Hint: It’s food. Fine, that was probably a given. Hint: It’s delicious. Okay, still not a hint, just a fact. Hint: It’s gebrannte Mandeln! For those of you non-German speakers (I’m counting a fair few in the audience, but we’re going to teach you some words too!) gebrannte Mandeln are roasted almonds. And not only are they roasted, they’re covered in a layer of sugar, like all good dessert-like treats should be!
My current language instructor told us that the reason Mandeln and all this other super sweet stuff is so popular around this time of year is because it’s so damn dark out all the time. With the sun setting around 4:30 every day, the body apparently needs a sweet kick in the pants to get through such a depressing and, quite literally, dark experience. I’m not sure if I believe her, but since the Mandeln come all warm and toasty off the heater when you get them I can say at the very least that they’re the tastiest hand warmer I’ve ever had. Especially since I’m not sure you’re supposed to eat those chemical ones.
Mandeln come in a little cone-shaped paper packet and will run you somewhere around 2,50 (ooohh, we’re using the European comma as a period! Get excited! It’s like you’re right here with me!) to 3 Euro per 100 grams. Luckily, 100 grams is more than enough sugar and almond for one round of Christmas marketing (which is now a verb) and to still have a few left over to take home and reminisce about how much better they are hot and fresh.
Here’s a pretty typical Mandeln stand. I like the ones where they don’t “get all fancy” and have Lebkuchen too. I think there’s better results when the stand is nut-specific. That reminds me of the movie Best in Show… you know… corn nuts… pine nuts… walnuts…
Gasp! Here’s our package! Conveniently labeled! (By the way, a big shout out to Morgan for being my official Person-who-holds-food-while-I-take-pictures helper. She’s indispensable!)
Oh man. Look at those things.
And there’s an individual one, ready for snacking. Just delightful!
Moral of the post is, should you ever find yourself anywhere in the neighborhood of some gebrannte Mandeln, get some! You will never regret it. Try and get them from a stand where they’re going through them really fast- it means that they’ll package them for you fresh out of the heating tray rather than handing you a bag that’s not as warm. Guten Apetit!