After operating a vendor hut at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt for two years, Andrea Baird decided she wanted to see the real thing.
So, on the day after Christmas 2018, she and her husband flew to Germany to visit as many Christkindlmarkts as they could to gather ideas for their own hut. It didn’t take long before they fell in love with flammkuchen, a thin-crust pizza topped with onions, bacon and cheese.
“It was such a staple at all of the Christmas markets in Germany, we knew we wanted to bring it back (to Carmel),” Baird said.
But that was easier said than done. Authenic flammkuchen is prepared in a 3,600-pound oven designed to bake the pizza for one minute at 500 degrees. It can only be moved with a forklift.
So, Baird found a U.S. company that makes pizza ovens and had them build one at her Tipton County farm. When it was time to move it to the Christkindlmarkt, the City of Carmel’s street department provided assistance.
Baird said she’s not aware of any other Christkindlmarkts in the U.S. that bake and sell flammkuchen on-site.
In addition to Farmhouse Flammkuchen, Baird runs the Groomsville Popcorn hut, which also sells roasted nuts and lebkuchen hearts.
“All of the vendors have worked really hard to create a traditional Christmas market,” Baird said. “I have been to numerous Christmas markets all over the U.S. and Germany, and the Carmel market is the most authentic Christkindlmarkt I have been to stateside. From the huts to the food, everything is so authentic and true.”
The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and noon to 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Christmas Eve. Special hours are noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 23 and noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 24. Learn more at carmelchristkindlmarkt.com.