San Diego answers with a community Christmas Market

Last Thursday when I posted about German Christmas markets I admit I was feeling a bit sorry for myself that I couldn’t be there this year.  Traditional food and drink, artisan wares, community gathering.  I was pleasantly surprised three days later by a fest that took place not two blocks from our house and supplied a local taste of tradition and community – SoNo Park Holiday Fest.  This festival didn’t masquerade as an “authentic imitation” of a European market.  It was an authentic community gathering in a San Diego neighborhood that is establishing traditions of its own.

Few foods are as traditional American as chili.  Across the United States regions boast they have the best chili – some sweet, some spicy, some meaty, some vegan.  Look for a recipe online and you’ll get thousands of hits.  This festival featured at least 40 varieties created by local restaurants and families in the community.  I sampled a variety that featured butternut squash and wild game, and another that featured at least five different kinds of meat including lamb and duck.  Before sampling I purchased a ceramic bowl made by the local ceramics shop.  Fifty percent of the proceeds went to the local elementary school.  I refilled my bowl no less than ten times – there were so many to try!  And, like the Christmas market mugs in Germany, we got to keep the bowl as a souvenir.  Nice thing about this market is that my toes didn’t freeze.

Choose a bowl. . .
Choose a bowl. . .


Pick a chili from a pot brought over from someone’s house around the corner or across the street. . .
or pick a chili from a local restaurant.
This chili from was served with a dab of cilantro sour cream and pickled onions.
This chili was served with a dab of cilantro sour cream and pickled onions.
Browse the wares from local vendors while waiting for the chili to cool.


4 responses to “San Diego answers with a community Christmas Market”

  1. I can think of no other food that is so American and transcends regions. No two chilis are alike and everyone has a favorite family recipe or secret ingredient. I treasure my Grandma’s recipe handwritten on a piece of paper for me. Great tradition at your church!

  2. It was a very southern California market not much like the traditional German ones, but authentic for this region in its own way. The handcrafted bowls were certainly a treat!

  3. My hometown church will often go Christmas caroling and then double back to the fellowship hall for chili. It’s amazing how many varieties will show up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: