Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza until Christmas Eve

November 30, 2011 (CHICAGO)

For 15 straight years now, Christkindlmarket has been satisfying our hunger for a good, old-fashioned German Christmas, and at Daley Plaza, it seems bigger once again.

"Bigger and better than ever, that's correct," said Christkindlmarket director Ray Lotter. "We have 52 cabins, and that's much larger than before, and more merchandise."

Merchandise, there is plenty of that, and almost all of it comes from Germany. A shop called Kathe Wohlfahrt is the largest Christmas shop in the world. They staff 50 Christkindlmarkets around the world. Ornaments of every size and almost every price, from a few bucks, up to hundreds.

It's a long year preparing for the trip to Chicago.

"We start with inventory in January and then production goes on from February until October," said ornament maker Rene Staedter. "All hand-blown and hand painted."

But you can't eat Christmas decorations, so get it line for your bratwurst and all those other favorites that are great for the taste buds but lousy for the waistline, like these holiday favorites the Germans call kartoffel flinsen.

One of the biggest sellers every year is the wiener schnitzel. Now, the schnitzel is either chicken, pork or veal. But, the wiener, what does this have to do with wieners?

"It's a city in Austria...Vienna," said The Schnitzel House's Andy Eidehlr.

Vienna schnitzel and all the holiday trimmings. They are here until Christmas Eve.

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