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Sugar n' spice, and everything nice: Merano xmas market

German-style breads, pastries and cookies at Mein Beck Bäkerei.

Intro: while savoring a greedy mouthful from a pot of chili con carne over the stove, I said to myself, "Well this woulda been better with cheddar; wish I could fly to the UK right now." Then I began smiling at the crazy impulsiveness of it all because in our kitchen, cheese is undeniably the be-all and end-all of food indulgence. Formaggio frenzy. Cheese disease? Waxy golden wheels and mold-covered rounds, pyramids, logs and squares. Pungent wedges. Complete appetite turn-ons. The best steak in the world doesn't even do that for me. Reflecting on that chili, whoever coined the phrase 'cheddar is better' is a damn genius.

Which leads me to the hardworking geniuses who orchestrate the festive Mercatini di Natale in Trentino Alto-Adige every year. In 2007 we attended the one in Trento, and while I may have been blinded by the smiling gnomes, the mulled wine, and the scrumptious canederli dumplings, part of me does not recall a tempting cheese kiosk at the fair. Merano's market, although smaller in size, turned out to be such a gold mine in foodstuffs that we made 3 visits within a week!

Looks (and smells) much better in real life. No cheddar, but lots of local cheese.

The interchange of italian and german was interesting to note as käse is german for cheese.

I'm sorry, but I do not know how to pronounce this word. It (they) tasted good though!

Looking like an oblong mini-pizza, dinnede with speck (local smoked ham) and onions. This food stall was a visitor favorite.

Dinnede are made from dough following an ancient recipe. No wonder they tasted so darn good! Onions, speck, potatoes, cheese and truffles are the primary toppings. Black "burnt" spots because they are baked in woodburning ovens.

From the same people in the very top photo. They go by the name of Krapfen. Yeah, they're like filled donuts but BETTER. So light in texture, not greasy at all, and filled with custard, apricot jam or nutella. These were selling at 1.80 euros a piece and customers were going crazy for them. Sugar-addicted fools; nutella-dependent freaks; I count myself as one of the insane. Homer Simpson would kill for these.

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