Living in Manchester, I get the opportunity to go to the Christmas Markets every year. It’s a festival and attraction that many people travel to come and visit. And it’s definitely worth it. There’s nothing like wrapping up nice and warm, walking around visiting the beautiful log cabin stalls sipping on a tasty hot chocolate, sampling lots of delicious food underneath the Manchester festive lights. It certainly gets me in the Christmas spirit every year. So Tuesday evening, baby free, me and my boyfriend set off to visit one of our favourite Christmas traditions (although I did go with my sister and friend a few days after too). I really didn’t want to take Little B. It’s just so busy and hectic, the weather isn’t the best at the moment too. Maybe next year when she can be bribed with a yummy treat looks forward and understands the fun Christmas celebrations a little more, but for now she’s happy with her Nanna and Grumps watching Bing Bunny eating beans on toast. Which is just as well because it’s a great opportunity to have some rare us time.
The stalls themselves are beautiful and they sell lots of different things from festive food from different cultures to fashion to faux fur rugs. Some of the decorations you can buy are absolutely exquisite, and handmade too. My mother in law purchases a lovely beaded bauble every year and they look beautiful up in her livingroom at Christmas time. My favourite stalls, of course, are the food stalls. As soon as November comes creeping up, I start fantasising about tasting cheese, sausages and most of all…yummy Dutch mini pancakes with icing sugar and chocolate sauce. Honestly as a stay at home mum, these are the moments I live for. Last year being pregnant I couldn’t enjoy the cheeses…especially blue cheese, so this year I was super excited to take full advantage of the free samples. I was a big fan of the Peri Peri flavoured cheese (which surprised me as I’m not a huge lover of peri peri chicken) and the other half loved the Sticky Toffee flavoured cheese. I tried more than I should have a couple samples of the cheeses. The markets serve yummy hot food as well as desserts, B’s dad had the spicy German sausage and I had the normal sausage with some sauce. I think they are traditionally called Bratwursts. They were delicious whatever they are called! We also wanted some Garlic mushrooms in a cheesy sauce but they were sold out, it shows how popular they are (and if you can sense a theme, I really do love cheese). They are absolutely delicious. You can get lots of different foods at the markets, so I really would recommend tasting what you can. It’s worth it. There’s something for everyone’s tastes from sticky chocolate brownies to spicy grilled burgers to sweet mature flavoured cheddar.
As well as food the markets offer a selections of drinks, both alcoholic and non. You can stick with a traditional beer or you can Christmas things up and try a hot cherry amaretto with whipped cream. I’m a boring one and a hot chocolate was fine for me, but the other half took full advantage enjoying a cherry lager (I did have a sip, it was unusual and left the aftertaste of cherry rather than taste of it as you drank). You also get your drinks in a lovely Manchester Christmas markets mug or glass (which is a deposit of £2 which you can get back when you hand the mug back to the bar staff or you can keep). We always hand ours back, but if you wanted a nice momento they are perfect. This year the markets did a raspberry liqueur and prosecco has made its way onto the drinks menu too.
Me and the other half have a tradition when it comes to the Christmas markets. We buy a chocolate pack and have done every year. It has lots of different size Santas and Christmassy shape chocolates in it, along with some baubles for the tree. We always buy these and pop them on the tree. We can’t eat them until Christmas Day though. Of course we popped by the stall and picked a pack up. It wouldn’t be Christmas without this!
Here’s some pictures of our evening and the beautiful Manchester markets. If you get the chance to go to a Christmas market, do go! It’s a lovely experience. It can get busy so be weary with children, especially young ones but it’s a perfect way to celebrate the festive season. It’s lovely walking around hearing carol singers sing, smelling lots of delicious food and seeing everyone have a lovely time celebrating Christmas.