2019 Christmas Village

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas..everywhere you go and that includes Christmas Village!! Oh the sights you will see, the food you will eat, the drinks, the nostalgia, and most importantly the culture and memories you will make!!

I took a trip to my now 3rd year to Christmas Village and even in the rain and cold I had a blast of a life time!! Let’s recap and get you ready!

Mulled Wine Please

It’s no secret that I love wine! I like to think of it as my super power or even just simply a reward for mulling through my day. However nothing is better than mulled wine on a cold night. Christmas Village not only has mulled wine but they have variety of mulled wine!!! Having options is the name of the game!

Hot Chocolate Please

I don’t discriminate against chocolate so of course I had a warm cup. Keep in mind although mine wasn’t spiked this particular time or if it was the mulled wine didn’t allow me to pay close attention you can have your hot chocolate spiked as well! Nothing is better than hot spiked chocolate. For those who would rather pass on the alcohol you can have it with whipped cream or marshmallows or both!

Here’s Phillyfoodgal with her hot chocolate

So on our first stop of the media tour we stopped at the Present!

One of the first things you notice that’s different than last year is the colors. If it could be possible it’s brighter and more vivid with hints of green when it’s dormant! See my Instagram to see it change colors! The Present is a gift from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation! Just like last year the Present also serves as a reminder to give to others. You can support Philadelphia Parks and Recreation by visiting and donating $10 right inside of the Present. Your donation will go towards either the organization to help with green spacing or to Project Home to help end homelessness!

You will also with that donation be able to control the lighting of the Present for 30 seconds!

You can’t miss the Present!!! Trust me!

You got to love the I Love Philly Display!

Feeling Hungry?

You know there’s nothing better than good food! Christmas Village brings the German culture to life at the Grill!

Options! Look at the options! Bratwurst, Schnitzels, Kartoffelpuffer aka potato pancakes, Spätzle aka egg noodles, etc are at your disposal! Served nice and hot you won’t be disappointed!

Bratwurst and sauerkraut

Potato pancakes and applesauce

Thirsty?

After you eat you may be thirsty. Grab a beer at the Alms! You will be met with variety!

Raclette Cheese

The Christmas Village favorite hasn’t disappeared it’s tucked inside of the Alms next to the Grill! This will help get longer lines through easily. It’s such a favorite part and everyone knows why. Hot gooey cheese on fresh bread is like the grown up grilled cheese. This year you can have it topped with prosciutto or salami.

To see the cheese in action go to my Instagram page and see all of the behind scenes videos under PhilaChristmas highlights!

There is plenty of seating available to take a break from all of your shopping and drinking!

Bacon Jams

I’m going to highlight a few of the shops. Bacon Jams is a favorite at the Christmas Village. Spoonable bacon jam is the gift you didn’t know you needed. It makes an amazing gift to a foodie! As with most things in life it comes in varieties and sizes that not only fits your budget and tastebuds!

John and Kiras Chocolate

These special handmade chocolates are a real beauty to see. They taste even better. You can get them in flavors that you hadn’t even dreamed of! A sea of chocolate awaits you! If you can’t get to the market, you can order online!

Torch Bearer Sauces

So you like it hot? Try your luck at Torch Bearer Sauces. From the small tickle in your throat to the point of asking for water you have your sauces at every level. These sauces make for great dips or even marinades or just a chill day of chips and dip!

German Strudel

I love a good strudel! Not like the commercial grocery store that comes frozen with a frozen sauce, German Strudel is fresh and packed with flavor!

Tranquility Please

Park and Madison makes their debut in the market this year! Candles and scents is what we stopped at next. As soon as you walk in the hut the aromatherapy fills you. It was almost as if it wasn’t cold and raining. These candles are made of soy and so they last longer. They also have diffusers, room sprays, and essential oils!

Mikes Hot Honey

I love visiting. First last year when I did the media tour my throat had a slight tickle. One taste of the hot honey and I was literally cured. The sweet honey mixed with the hot sauce is really something you have to try. This sauce can be put on just about anything! If you’re unable to attend the Christmas market don’t worry you can get your honey in a lot of sizing from packers to jugs! Order online here!

Eagles Pro Shop

I know it may be too soon especially after that devastating lost to Miami this past Sunday but making its debut to the Christmas Market is the Pro Shop. You can get your official Eagles gear and holiday flare. From ornaments to socks to stockings to jerseys you are covered. As a die hard fan you are going to want to be prepared for all things Eagles why not get it here?

So from some great walking, shopping, drinks, and eating Christmas Village will help you take a little break and help you create memories! In the meantime enjoy this snippet but take your family out and enjoy it yourself. Make it a day and enjoy some ice skating near by or the new Ferris wheel that I will be experiencing next week! Until then thank you Philadelphia Christmas Market for such an amazing time and experience! Thank you Aversa PR!

Pictured are me friends Elle and Cherryl

Also don’t forget about Santa and other special appearances. Log into the website to follow the schedule. Don’t wait until the last minute Christmas Village will be here until Christmas Eve located at 1501 John F. Kennedy Blvd!

2019 Baltimore Christmas Village

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time to get out and enjoy some holiday cheer. One of the ways you can do that is by attending the Christmas Village in Baltimore, Maryland. We have a mix of shopping, food, drinks, crafts, community, and above all culture. I had the honor of participating for a full day and I loved the experience! This was a preview weekend which means that some of the highlights will only get that much better!

What is Christmas Village

Whether you attend the Baltimore or Philadelphia Christmas Village it’s grounded in culture. The Christmas village is a model that is reminiscent of the outdoor markets that take place in Germany. It’s a place to shop, eat, and engage in German culture. You will see a lot of German delicatessen as well as the spirit of Germans stemming all the way back to 16th century.

So what can you expect in Christmas Village in Baltimore?

Food

You will find German traditions such as Bratwurst, beer, potato pancakes, and sauerkraut.

There are a few loved favorites returning with a few spins:

Raclette Cheese

This yearly favorite is a beautiful mixed of freshly melted in front of you cheese on the freshest bread you have ever eaten!

Some new changes is you can get more toppings! Check out the salami and prosciutto you can add to your sandwich. Oh and everyone for the most part loves the pickles.

Drinks

We for the most part love holiday drinks especially adult holiday drinks. They have the traditional hot chocolates, apple cider, etc. they also have spiked hot cider, spiked hot chocolate where you choose the alcohol you want in it, and a variety of mulled wine. My favorites were the spiked hot chocolate with Kahlua and the cherry mulled wine!

This is this year’s souvenir cup choice:

Don’t forget you can continue to refill your cup with your drink of choice!

Let’s Shop

So what’s Christmas Village without shopping? I went around to many of the market vendors to see what they had in store and I found some extremely interesting ones!

Piggyback Treats

This is a one stop shop for all dog lovers! You can get hand knitted scarves that are made from second hand yarn. All of the products are made from rescued material from going to waste. I love that. Taking recycled materials to make even better products is the way it should be. We do entirely too much wasting and anything to help offset that gets a A+ in my book. I tried them last year well not me but my furry brother aka my mom’s dog and he loved his treats. I definitely will get them when I go to the Philadelphia Christmas Market. If you’re living in Baltimore you can get you some too!

Cynful Bliss

Now again there’s nothing like a great dessert. Having an adult only dessert in a jar that is absolutely amazing is just the best! These “sin” in a jar are definitely worth repenting for later!

Mixed with your favorite alcohol these decadent desserts are just what you need to give as gifts or to keep for yourself. They also make great additions to any party or gathering this season! Trust me you are gonna want to have these in your possession. My favorite is the peach cobbler. It’s strong and right.

Pressed Up

You know I love a good holiday shirt! I am the queen of having a shirt for any occasions and I found my new favorite shop. Pressed Up had the holiday looks already ready for me. They also take orders online which is key for me because they will be seeing me shop more often. I bought a shirt but I’ll reveal and tag as the holidays unfold just know it includes one or my great past times! I love to shop local as the same shirt I would have gotten from a large chain and now I have it and it’s supporting women entrepreneurs.

I’ll definitely tag the shirt I selected which was hard since they have the cutest options in sizes from baby to adult!

Bacon Dreams

This is where bacon merges into the dream of all dreams! What’s better than bacon? Bacon on a stick. Thick cut beautiful bacon dipped in sauces and flavorings of a lifetime. Have you ever had vanilla bourbon bbq bacon? No well listen JDs House of Bacon takes bacon loving to another level!

I didn’t even have to eat it to see the quality. This ain’t your run in the mill bacon. This is extremely quality bacon!!

The bacon is worthy of a drive. Now if you’re too far and driving isn’t an option hit the link or go to their Instagram and order some to be delivered!!

Indoor shopping

One of the distinctions that Christmas Village Baltimore is that there is plenty of indoor tent shopping too. This is a heated tent that has plenty of food and drinks and a place to sit and take a break!

Even little kids love being at Christmas Village! There will be Santa this upcoming weekend and a kids corner to help parents find a space just for them. There is also Gingy! He was one of the highlights from the visit as well. I was able to walk with Gingy and see him bring smiles to children and adults of all ages!!

Anyone who knows me knows I love mascots and I’m always going to get a pic. Gingy and I are friends now!! Also on December 4th is mascot weekend where you can come and see all of your favorite mascots! Honestly I’m getting excited just typing it!

It’s one thing to fo from day:

To night:

Walter Sondheim Fountain on the promenade

I love the decorations and trinkets you can get from German vendor Käthe Wohlfahrt. These hand made ornaments and decorations are a beauty to behold. You can get items from as low as $1 to a few hundred dollars!

While there I also attended the tree lighting ceremony!

And there is ice skating nearby to enjoy as well!

Ferris Wheel

Who doesn’t love a great Ferris Wheel ride? Bundle up and enjoy seeing the city from up top! It’s a beautiful view seeing Inner Harbor especially at night!

Baltimore holds a special place in my heart. Not only do I have friends and family here it’s also where I spent my 2nd and 5th wedding anniversary. There’s a lot to do in the city as well as Inner Harbor has a little something for everyone.

The market is also dog friendly!

This is just a snippet as it was preview weekend! There will be more planned. You can find more information here!

I hope you get out and enjoy Christmas Village Baltimore! I’ll give you a behinds look at the Philadelphia Christmas Village in about a week! Let’s get out and explore both cities and spread holiday cheer!!

Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

I had the elite pleasure of taking the tour of the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. This was my actual first time! Now like the Christmas Village, it’s an open air market. It features delicious foods from of course Philadelphia. It also features artisans, designers, crafters, with gifts under beautifully designed tents.

So as we began the tour the first stop was at Philly Sausage. It features two sausages the Italian Market and the Philly Sausage. Amazing doesn’t even describe the way my tastebuds felt. The cold began to be less frigid as soon as that warm sausage hit my tongue. They were excited to be out there and welcomed us with warm arms. Trust me we needed it!

The second stop was of course to the Beer Garden. Nothing warms me like alcohol. With three different flavors to choose from it’s a match made for everyone. I of course tried the Lemon Meringue IPA that had the highest alcohol content. Judge your mother it was cold. It’s super tasty! You definitely need to try it!

We enjoyed the Deck the Halls Light Show sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. An electrifying display of music, magic and lights all covering City Hall was an absolute delight! I loved the part when as we watched people didn’t just watch and filmed, they also sang along!

The fourth stop of the night was at Popcorn Obsessions. 80, yes that’s right 80 flavors of out of this world flavors. I highly recommend the mint chocolate, peppermint stick, and the chocolate cookie dough. They were sweet perfection. This goes outside of the normal flavors you would find at a local spot. They have sweet to savory flavors! You will not leave disappointed

So by this point I’m happily jittery as we took a walk to the Winter Garden sponsored by TD Bank. This garden has seating for those who want to enjoy their beer. Speaking of beer, at Dilworth the new treat this year is not being restricted to drink only in the garden. You can drink your beer while you walk and shop. The only place you can’t is within City Hall.

I absolutely loved the Winter Garden. It’s visually stunning, plenty of seats to enjoy your drinks, and the reindeer grass displays were super cute.

Now one of the highlights was stopping at Lokal Artisan Foods for the French Toast Bites. Now I know everyone loves French toast however if my French toast ain’t crunchy I don’t like it. This French Toast changed my perspective. It was deep-fried and the owner, Charisse McGill made my French toast bites with love. Have you ever met someone who just had that IT quality?! She’s it. She’s personable, passionate, and makes French toast tell a pancake to get down!! I was impressed and I look forward to seeing more in the future from the whole company. PS she quit her job 3 weeks ago and went from punching a clock to walking in her destiny. I can’t wait to watch her story unfold.

One of the jewels of the night was Gourmet Creations. These spreads which we tried on pretzels can be used on various foods. I tried just about all of them and the highlights for me was the chocolate raspberry and the Cheddar Ale.

On our next stop we made our way to Cynful Bliss. This is a mobile alcohol and non alcohol infused desserts. Now yes I love my “adult juice,” but this was more than that. The passion that was shown through the product is a hit for the holidays and beyond. I had “Greed.” It was peach cobbler and peach brandy. What I loved is anyone who makes desserts with alcohol knows alcohol will burn off during the process. However they add more than enough to have a shot in a glass with premium alcohol. I’ll be ordering some for the family. Who doesn’t like desserts? This was the perfect combination. You can have your cake and drink it too!!

Who doesn’t love cannolis? I know I love them. We had to include the stop to the Cannoli Cafe. Fresh and sweet. I loved it.

Nothing says the holidays like cookies. Our stop at Picket Fence Confections was a pure delight. Homemade and beautifully decorated they were a sweet treat. Kera puts her heart into her creations. These cookies are fresh and amazing. I had the apple cinnamon oatmeal cookie and it was the perfect mesh of perfectly paired ingredients as well as it was one is the softest cookies I’ve had in a long time.

After all of that eating it was time to take a ride on the Carousel. As cold as it was and as much as we thought we would be too cold to enjoy it, our inner kid came out immediately as soon as the ride started. How could it not?! Everyone loves the fun and excitement of a carousel ride. Grown folks riding around, smiling, and laughing made us forget for seconds that we were in under 40 degrees.

So off to Penn Potato Fries. Amazing chicken and fries. It was well worth the wait. They didn’t just have it pre made. It was made while we waited. We were able to talk, ask questions, and dance along to Christmas music but once I ate the fries and chicken immediately I knew that this was a stop we couldn’t have had passed up.

Since the Holiday Market has something for everyone I was even able to stop at Piggy Back Treats to grab a treat for my furry brother Sammy. These are human grade treats for dogs and cats. Definitely don’t forget the pets in your life. These treats can be delivered locally and mailed. Get your orders in soon to guarantee before Christmas.

Now to end the night well at least food wise we stopped at Woops. Woops is the macaroon of macaroons. All kinds of flavors to choose from and I highly recommend the mint chocolate. The only issue is which ones to choose from.

One of the last highlights outside of the Rothman Orthopedics Cabin is of course the Ice Rink. Everyone of all ages enjoying a night of skating, smiles and some of the best Christmas music!!!

So if you love food, you’re covered. If you love beautiful one of a kind gifts, you’re covered. If you want to gather your friends and family for a good time for the Light Show or Ice Skating, you are covered. What’s not covered is getting all of this for too much longer. Be sure to get out and leave the hustle of the holidays and make time for fun!!

With all of the holiday options you got to make sure you don’t miss any of it. Stop by the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market!!

Christmas Village Experience 2018

So as many of you know I came across the Christmas Village last year doing a Google search for free family fun. I then convinced my family to give the authentic outdoor German Market a try. We were impressed and excited to attend again this year. This year I was invited to take an intimate look at what the Christmas Village really has to offer behind the scenes. This year thanks to the renovations of the Love Park sign, it was even more special!

I was able to attend the opening ceremony to light “The Present.” Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney who hit it home with his opening speech about giving towards others. This is the season to not just think about ourselves and our families but how we can best serve the people of Philadelphia. The Present is 27 feet in height, well-lit holiday present. It is in the middle of the Christmas Village.  Not only is it visually stunning, its set as a reminder to give to others.  If you are in the area you can give by texting and you will receive a gift tag that can be displayed on “The Present” that is a symbol of what the holiday is all about. You can actively give by doing the following:

  • TEXT PARKS to 501501 to donate to Fairmount Park Conservancy will go towards helping Philadelphia Parks
  • TEXT BOOKS  to 20222 to donate to Welcome America’s holiday book campaign for Parks and Recreation. Every $5 raised will purchase a total of 4 books. 
  • TEXT 80100 to donate to Project Home to help end poverty and homelessness

Inside “The Present”

“The Present is open starting today to the public all the way through December 24th. It’s free to enter and as you can see from the above photos it’s a beauty to see, take photos and walk inside!  I felt like the biggest kid. The colors and lights had me mesmerized. 

So I knew after watching “The Present” light up that I was off to a good start. The first stop on the tour was the German Grill. The open grill had all the best of the German deliciousness. From Bratwurst to Schnitzel, I was in pure Heaven. The open grill is such a delight and the smells pulled me in. I was completely satisfied.  As soon as I got home, I was upset as to why I didn’t take a Bratwurst to go. 

This took me to the second stop on the tour and that was to the open beer garden, The Alm. It’s always a good idea for beer. There are a lot of new items on the menu. Let me also point out for families with young children. This is a great spot to combine adulting and kids. It’s closed in. So this means a lot of play for the kids and drinks for the adults. This year they have a new beer mug. It’s a beauty to behold and you know that the bigger the cup, the bigger the gulp!

As if the beer wasn’t enough, I made my way to one if that’s right one of the wine offerings, German Gluhwein.  It’s a mulled wine. They offer a white and a red wine and both were amazing.

Next up was Käthe Wohlfahrt. This indoor gem blew my mind. This unique shop was full of mostly hand-made treasures. From one of a kind pieces to ornaments and decorations, it was a delight. Note there is no videography or photos for the public. However I was able to get you that inside look. What I will say is this is a must on your stops through the open village. Be careful as some of the pieces are pricey. So if you have little ones just hold their hands. I do believe once they see how well-lit and how beautiful the pieces are, they will spend more time asking questions than running through the store.

Next stop was the The Bacon Jams. I’ve never had bacon jam but today I wanted to buy all of them. These easy to spread jams taste super authentic to real bacon. The flavors were amazing. I tried every last one. From the maple bacon to the honey bourbon! All of them were a treat!

I believe I was turning into a foodie by the end of the night. The next stop was to Sweets where we tried some toasted chestnuts. I’ve never had any before but I was a believer tonight. Be sure if you attend that you make your way. There are other sweet treats as well.

Keeping in line with sweets we make our way to John and Kira’s. This was like chocolate Heaven! I tried for her first time honey bee chocolate made from local honey bee. First of all this gooey treat should be eaten in one bite. It’s honey flavor mixed with chocolate had to be the best that I have had in a long time. We also had some amazing sea salt caramel.

If you ever been to the Christmas Village you are full aware of the Raclette. It’s basically the best cheese I’ve ever eaten, that is melted under a special heated lamp and the cheese oozes onto some of the freshest bread Philadelphia has to offer. I was in cheese coma. Let me say that yes I took one for the team of non dairy, but I ain’t feel not ounce of shame.

For those who love unique cards you must stop at Love Pop. You can get pop up 3D cards. I enjoyed the tour and I plan to grab a few to give to special friends.

Our next stop was Mike’s Hot Honey. We were told that when you taste it, it would be sweet and then bitter and it was true. Mike’s Hot Honey is a spread that can be put on almost anything from bagels to chicken. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I am getting a cold but if I was when I left I definitely felt like my palette was cleared. 

mike hot

girl

sign

Of course we needed something a little sweet so we headed over to Helmuts Original Austrian Strudel. They had your classics like cherry but they also had some that were a definite go back and true such as the meat and pulled pork puffs. They even have a mac and cheese one!  

helmut

cherry

One of the final stops before ending with hot chocolate was Truffleist. This is what the name says, Truffle. So between some amazing cheeses and salami, the truffle butter was everything. I mean everyone enjoyed it. They have an amazing selection and to be honest I could eat that truffle butter by the spoonfuls. It was that good. 

truffle

One more goodie before I end, I love hand blown glass. The colors are amazing. So I had to take a picture of the Mouth Blown Ornaments. 

blown

So the tour was everything and more. You and your family or friends will have an amazing time. I tried to give you a snippet of what it would be like. The only thing that I didn’t see was Santa but you can catch Santa in the Santa Hut for pics starting on the weekends and then close to the season being over he will be there everyday. I would make sure you go and see him if you’re trying to get on the Nice List. 

Special thanks to Philadelphia Christmas Village, the sponsors: Bank of America, Acme, Käthe Wohlfahrt, and Hernnhuter and all of the partners who helped to make this day. Also shout out to all of the amazing vendors who bring the Christmas Village to Life rain or shine. Remember its free to enter and you only pay for the food, drinks, and treasures you find. 

Special shout out to Kory Aversa and the Aversa PR and Events for having me. 

So head on over and grab your kids, your friends, your girls, or your boys and  have an experience to remember!

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Location:
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102