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.
4 responses to “San Diego answers with a community Christmas Market”
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!
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!
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.
What a cool twist on a traditional market. I love the bowl and chili idea substituted for the German mug. Those San Diegans are so crafty!