You’re braving the cold, maneuvering through the crowd and shopping for someone other than yourself (allegedly). The very least you can do is treat yourself to a little indulgence to keep your pace up amidst the holiday fever. From sweet snacks to comforting bowls of soup and crispy Italian rice balls, it’s no easy feat to narrow your culinary choices down at the three big holiday markets in Union Square, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle. But who said you can’t try them all? Though there are many, here’s a roundup of my favorite eats at the UrbanSpace markets. *Note: Many of these fall within the dessert variety. How can you blame me when we’re all hiding under puffy jackets for the next couple of months?
Aracini Brothers: Union Square One bite of this hefty Sicilian street food and you’re in cheesy, risotto heaven. I miraculously snagged one of the last two spinach & ricotta balls on a Saturday night. Filled with their famous arborio rice and melted with the ricotta, it’s a wonderful deep fried ball of happiness.
Fatty Sundays, Inc: Union Square When two talented daughters turn their mom’s cherished snack tradition into a business, you get Fatty Sundays: simple chocolate covered pretzels rolled in anything from rainbow sprinkles to coconut to granola. Made from all natural ingredients, they were first crowdsourced and successfully funded through Kickstarter, making this a start-up worth trying.
Breezy Hill Orchards: Union Square & Columbus Circle This is a familiar, affordable staple of the outdoor markets who are now notorious for their frisbee sized gingersnap and chocolate chip cookies for a mere $3 and bags of apple cider donuts for $4. Max Brenner’s Chocolate: Bryant Park It’s the chocolate giant that reigns over New York. The iconic “bald man” has set up shop in Bryant Park, offering “OMG Chocolate Chip” cookies, a chocolate syringe and a variety of chocolate bars and truffles.
The Spice Professor: Bryant Park The “professor”, a friendly guy named Matt, provides shoppers with the most aromatic array of salts, sugars and spices that include diverse varieties of Southern spice rubs to curry powder and loose leaf teas that range in flavors from Strawberry Tingle to Pomegranate Hibiscus.
La Churreria: Bryant Park No one can hardly resist a sugar stick like a churro and La Churreria sweetens the deal by offering even more: warmed cinnamon rolls, Bavarian Cranberry Cider and your dipping choice of chocolate, Nutella, or caramel.
Rogue Chocolate: Columbus Circle ￼They’re not ornaments, but beautifully crafted circles of chocolate with paper sugar patterns printed on top. Locally made and perfect for celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah, Rogue Chocolates make an elegantly authentic New York gift.
No Chewing Allowed: Columbus Circle Nothing about the name screams “French truffles,” but that’s because you’re probably too busy letting the chocolate melt in your mouth, per the vendor’s insistent instructions. They graciously handout samples and highly encourage you not to gobble it up in one piece--savor the richness of flavor and texture and come back for more.
Check out full market hours and schedule here: Markets run through December 24th, Monday – Saturday, 10:00am to 8:00pm Sunday, 10:00am to 7:00pm Saturday, December 24th, 10:00 to 4:00pm
Share your own favorite holiday market eats below or tweet us a picture of your best finds.
Except where noted, photos by Diana Tsuchida