Manchester Christmas Markets

27 Nov
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but it seems Christmas has come a little early this year. The Christmas lights have been switched on to pretty up our grim wintery streets, the Coca Cola and John Lewis ads have kick-started the excitement / sentimentality of the season and the smug bastards who have been shopping since October have gone so far as to wrap their presents early this year. I tried hard to resist my friends, but the rampant consumer in me succumbed. I ate my first M&S Christmas Feast Sandwich last week, and it’s all come undone.
As standard, Manchester is bang on trend. Having transformed itself into a veritable winter wonderland since early November, the Spinningfields skating rink opened last weekend to the humiliation-hungry masses. Retro hang-out The Ski Club and the kitsch Christmas den that is Miracle both followed, popping up recently to provide an immersive yuletide experience and some of the most imaginatively themed and sickly sweet cocktails known to man. Candy Cane Collins anyone? Ridiculous amounts of fun both, they’re still simply stocking fillers when it comes to a Mancunian Christmas trip out.

Albert Square Santa, Manchester

For the folks of this fair city, it’s the Christmas Markets that have us counting down. Street upon street of wooden chalets, selling all manners of tat (a joy unto itself) and more importantly, huge pans of German bratwurst to dole out with hot mustard and ketchup, French crepes and waffles wafting the scent of cinnamon through the air and piping hot mugs of mulled wine and booze-infused hot chocolate to sip. Never mind that you’re freezing your tits off. The Albert Square Santa is watching you, and there’s charcuterie, cheeses and chocolates to snap up so you can continue your festive feast at home.

Bratwurst, Manchester Christmas Markets

Gingerbread Strudel, Manchester Christmas Markets

Each year I think I’ll tire of it, having been a massively greedy bint and spent way too much money shoving my face full of fudge. Yet December November comes around, and just as I find my self dancing like a loon to the same old Christmas songs, I can be found with this year’s Christmas Market mug in hand. It’s the perfect antidote to a hellish afternoon present shopping (being ideally distanced from the seventh level of hell that is Market Street), and makes for a cracking after work catch up location or quick drink destination before a Christmas night out too. I shall be ticking all the above off my list over the coming weeks.*

The Singing Moose Bar, Manchester Chrismtas Markets

Pretty scenes, Manchester Christmas Markets

Other being a little on the expensive side,* the only real turkey at the Christmas Markets is the distinct lack of local and regional fare. Though this year is slightly better than last, with Penelope’s Manchester selling hot pot and Mrs Kirkham’s being in attendance as always with their luscious Lancashire cheese, the food and drink on offer is distinctly European. Whilst wrapping your cultural chops around something different is never a bad thing, it’s a missed opportunity to showcase the food on our doorstep, especially given the ever growing size of the markets and the visitor numbers they draw in.

Mrs Kirkham’s, Manchester Christmas Markets

No matter. Locally sourced couch picnic in hand and a pan of wassail on the go, the Manchester Christmas Markets have got my holiday juices flowing. With the Christmas playlist on and the tree already bedecked, I might be at risk of overcooking it, but with a smorgasbord of seasonal treats on my doorstep, and the world of inspiration to take and recreate at home, I might just make it all the way to Christmas day.

* At £4 for a mulled wine, £4.50 for a bratwurst and £3.50 for a pancake, it’s a dear do.

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