Until our recent Thanksgiving week visit to New York City, I had never been to a holiday market. In fact, I didn’t even know holiday markets existed. As I researched for our trip, I kept reading more and more about two holiday markets in New York: the Winter Village at Bryant Park and the Union Square holiday market. I read that these specialty pop-up markets are filled with artisan booths from all over the world. Visitors can peruse aisle after aisle of handcrafted goods, unique gifts and delicious foodie favorites, but only during the holiday season. It sounded like an event I would love and so I made sure to visit both markets during our trip.
We visited the Winter Village at Bryant Park on our very first night in the city. Having read about some of the great culinary options at the market, we opted to skip dinner and make a meal of snacking our way around the booths. We tried several small bites, but the five I’m sharing today were our favorites.
Traditional Raclette – Winter Village at Bryant Park
This, ladies and gents, is what dreams are made of. We discovered it at the Baked Cheese Haus booth. The traditional raclette (cow’s milk Swiss cheese) featured melted raclette, scraped onto a toasted baguette with spring onions, baby gherkins and dijon. It was every bit as decadent and delicious as you might imagine. The baguette was crispy on the outside and chewy inside. The creamy cheese was excellently offset by the sweet baby gherkin pickles sandwiched inside. We paid $11 for this bite and didn’t regret a single cent.
Doughnuttery Doughnuts – Winter Village at Bryant Park
Next up? The Doughnuttery makes bite-sized donuts and tosses them in your choice of flavored sugar. Be they small, they be but tasty. We opted to have our doughnuts tossed in three different seasonal sugars: pumpkin, cardamom and apple cider. The cardamom stood out as a clear, if not surprising, winning taste sensation. These itty bitty blissful bites were served hot, but not greasy, which we appreciated. The hot doughnut seemed to soak up the flavor of the sugar and made for a very tasty treat. We paid $6 for 6 doughnuts.
Truffle Cheddar Soft Pretzel – Winter Village at Bryant Park
Martha Stewart Living magazine declared that Sigmund’s were the very best soft pretzels in the US. I don’t feel as though I’ve tasted enough soft pretzels in the US to concur, but I don’t mind saying that this one in particular was absolutely delicious. We opted for the truffle cheddar pretzel. As you can see, it is topped with crispy cheddar and hints of truffle salt. As a proper soft pretzel should be, it was satisfyingly chewy, though also soft enough for your teeth to sink right in. Mostly, I can take or leave pretzels, but this one, my friends, was undeniably good. It was a steal at $4.
Fried Pickle Stickle – Winter Village at Bryant Park
I couldn’t possibly pass by something called the fried pickle stickle. Do you blame me? These were kosher dill pickle slices battered, deep-fried and served with our choice of four dipping sauces. The fried pickle stickle was served piping hot with perfect pickle-to-breading ratio. We chose ranch as our dipping sauce but would probably opt for the honey mustard were we to go again. This bite costs $8.
Unbaked Cookie Dough – Bryant Park Winter Village
We splurged on the best seller bite box ($19) for twelve truffle-sized bites of unbaked cookie dough. It included three each of the following flavors: chocolate chip, cake batter, sugar cookie and confetti. The chocolate chip bite is easy to discern but it was hard to tell which was which of the others. In any case, our family favorite was the one dusted in colored sugar, followed by the chocolate chip.
If you have the chance to visit the Winter Village at Bryant Park this holiday season, you definitely won’t regret trying any of the bites mentioned here. If you’ve already visited, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the best bites you tried. Share in the comments if you’re so inclined!