There's no Holidazzle parade this year, but before you get too sad, know that Holidazzle has evolved. And there’s food!
Let me explain, because there are a few parts to this new winter attraction. No parade still called Holidazzle. What’s happening in Minneapolis is called Holidazzle Village. It's free, and will rock from 3–9 p.m. EVERY DAY starting this Friday. The "village" is basically 10th–12th Streets at Nicollet Mall and includes live Caribou, special exhibitions, and later in the month, ice skating on the Mall! Then there’s a Minneapolis Holiday Market portion in Peavey Plaza which is open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, and will have controlled access with a $3–$6 one-time admission fee that grants you access for the entire 27-day season. This is where some 30 little huts will offer gifts, candies, and FOOD!
What's the food like? Well, think German market: bratwurst, strudel, even mushroom stroganoff over spaetzle (from Black Forest Inn). I tried most of it and here's what I can report.
The pastries come from Solomon's Bake Shop (28th & Hennepin in Uptown). They're awesome! I tried the spinach and cheese croissant, the dark chocolate roll, and the apple turnover. They will have organic juices and ginger breads, and you'll have holiday memories dancing through your mind as those calories are dancing through your tummy.
Do you love apples? From Minnesota? You're in luck. Minnesota Harvest is a German-themed apple orchard in Jordan (in the Fall they get about 10,000 people a day out there picking apples.) Their apple pastries are insane. Baker Cornelio Hernandez makes a strudel that is perfect, topped with cream cheese frosting and bathed in caramel, they're the size of a Bavarian polka dancer’s noggin. The apple dumplings are like little single-serving pies with a condensed apple cider sauce on top.
Knoke's from Hudson will be roasting nuts on site. Dave Knocke's been making chocolate for 13 years, now he's moved into nuts. Because that's what you do. Dave will be selling St. Croix Critters, which are a decadent pecan cluster.
I also sampled the Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier, because I'm a journalist, dammit, and I am here to tell you that it tastes just like Paulaner Beer should.
There's a darned nice tomato bisque soup that will hit the spot on a cold Minneapolis night. That's a creation from Leslie Vadnais who used to make soup for her catering company, but in 2007 she decided to package it, and now Kowalski's sells her Venus Gourmet Soups. That will be sold with grilled cheese on mustard dill bread from Saint Agnes Bakery in St. Paul.
One thing I didn't get to try: Two local German women married a couple Twin Cities chefs, and they're debuting their potato pancake recipe from Germany at the Minneapolis Market. So say hi to Christine Burbach (from Barunschweig) and Karin Vanzyl and let me know how the Kartoffelhaus Potato Pancakes are.
The best thing is that this stuff will be there for you to visit all day. Walk down during lunch or after work, or bring the family down on a Tuesday or a Sunday. It sounds way better than the 30-minute mad rush we had with the parade.