Saxony and the Erzgebirge mountains in particular are reknown for Christmas Markets. Freiberg has one of the most authentic and beautiful one. It takes place on the Obermarkt square with about 100 stalls selling food, mulled wine and regional products. It opens in the week before the first advent and closes on fourth advent Sunday. The visitor is entertained by Christmas concerts (Bach's Christmas Oratorio) in the nearby churches, choirs singing right at the market, the kids will enjoy Santa's daily visits ... a highlight is the miner's parade on Saturday of second advent.
In 2012 I attended the open ceremony that included a march of the miners and kids wearing traditional garb, singing Christmas carols and typical miners songs. It was very nice, I just wish there had been snow ...
Freiberg's Christmas market opens from Thursday before the first Advent Sunday until December 22. Market hours: Mon-Thurs 10:00-20:00, Fri-Sat 10:00-22:00, Sun 10:30-20:00. The climax is the second Advent weekend with the miners' parade.
It takes place in Obermarkt, the most beautiful square of the town. The about 100 stalls sell Erzgebirge items, local food specialities, the usual Christmas market items from all kinds of gifts to woollen socks, and of course Glühwein, Bratwurst and other food. Its centre is the pyramid, and the stage where they always have something going on in the late afternoon and early evening. Father Christmas visits daily. In the afternoon movies for kids are shown open-air on the white wall of the town hall.
Weather permitting, that is... On my last visit we had 70 cms of fresh snow, half the stalls were closed, and those brave merchants who were there got the official permission to finish at 6 p.m. Such conditions were extraordinary, though. And somehow magical. Check my travelogues if you want to see more photos.
I had no idea what they were when I saw them on offer at Café Hartmann, so I asked the waitress, also for instructions how to eat them...
Buchteln are a type of very sweet and very soft rolls. They are served together with a plate of custard and, surprise, a layer of jam underneath the custard. You tear off a piece of the Buchtel and dip it into the sauce, and enjoy. The dish is especially popular with children.
This dish is sweet and yummy and very filling. A serving consists of two Buchteln and a soup-plate size bowl of sauce. Unless you are very hungry, I recommend sharing one between two people.
One thing I love to do while travelling is visiting food markets. One gets a good impression of the region, especially since you meet a lot of locals there. In Freiberg I recommend to go to the Obermarkt square and visit the markets there. They take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Besides, it's also a good chance to grab a bratwurst or so for a quick and inexpensive lunch.
The market on Saturdays (8 am - 2 pm) focuses mainly on organic food and regional products.