Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Joys of living in the DC area: Christmas bazaars

I have lived in the Washington, D.C, area for over a decade, and one of things I most enjoy about the DMV* is its diversity and multi-culturalism. This Washington Post article lists just some of the many ethnic Christmas bazaars one can enjoy.

I had checked out the Swedish bazaar near my home a few weeks ago, but found it a bit lacking. Much of the emphasis was on food, and because I don't eat gluten, many holiday goodies are off limits for me.

This past weekend, however, I visited the Finnish bazaar and was pleasantly surprised. Opening time was advertised as 11am, at which the Finnish ambassador arrived to cut the ribbon, officially open the bazaar and invite everyone in. By that point a long line had already formed outside the church and we all happily began trooping in, accompanied by the sounds of lively traditional Finnish folk music being played by three musicians at the entrance.

In addition to a very large table full of baked goodies (I didn't even try to fight the crowd to see what exactly was being sold) and a cafe where one could purchase lunch, the market featured a number of vendors. I was drawn to two vendors in particular, as I love Scandinavian decor, especially the Christmas decorations. A small elf girl on a sled was too cute to pass up, and thus I have another happy looking Christmas elf to add to my small collection.

For a sick-at-home friend I picked up a Finnish Christmas star pastry and Finnish chocolates. She had planned to visit the bazaar with me, but her nasty cold put a kibosh on that. However, now we know that the Finnish  bazaar is worth penciling into the calendar for next year!

*Somewhat recent acronym for "DC/Maryland/Virginia", which is very appropriate seeing as much of the population of the DC Metro area resides outside the borders of Washington itself and is found in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs.


  1. While living in France we attended a few Christmas markets - a great source of interesting presents. I hope we have time to stop by the Kriskindlemart while in Chicago, this German-style Christmas market is the closest I've found to its European counterparts.

  2. So, I found out that trying to comment from my iPad is a bad idea. :-/ Anyhow, I've heard lots of great things about the Chicago market! My love of European Christmas markets stem from the year my family lived in Germany when I was a kid. My most recent experience was visiting Vienna a number of years ago at Christmas with a friend; we traipsed all over the city to visit every single market - five or six total!

  3. Do you know anywhere that sells Karums?

    1. Yes! The store in which I most recently saw them was "Taste of Europe" in Gaithersburg (see: http://www.yelp.com/biz/taste-of-europe-gaithersburg). There are numerous other Russian/Eastern European stores in the DC area, including "European Delight" in Rockville and "The Russian Gourmet" mini chain (3 or 4 stores in Northern Virginia, and 1 in Rockville), but I don't know if that's something they carry. Rodman's (in North Bethesda and Tenleytown) regularly carries Laima, and occasionally other Latvian sweets (I have spotted Vaverite vafelu torte there), but I'm pretty sure they don't have Karums.


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