Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Manchester Christmas Markets

The Christmas Markets here in Manchester are one of the city's most anticipated foodie events of the year. With delectable snacks, meals, drinks and treats from all over the world on sale, food lovers flock to this place year in year out to huddle around in the cold eating German sausages, Spanish paellas or French cheeses. I even think they must be becoming famous around Europe as when I was living in Barcelona two years ago there were adverts all over for Manchester's markets.

Last weekend my parents came to visit us and we decided to take this opportunity to check out the huge range of scrumptious foods that were on offer.


This year, the markets seemed to have increased in size (and popularity - and that is saying something) compared to last year. Despite it only being eleven o' clock in the morning, the markets were full of hot dog eating, mulled wine quaffing folk as far as the eye could see.

Despite having had breakfast less than an hour earlier, our first stop at one of the many chocolate stalls did not fail to make my mouth water. On sale were amazing chocolate kebabs:


and huge slabs of different chocolate:


Man alive.

Next stop was, of course, Roy Morris' old favourite, the jam and chutney stall. I should probably explain, Roy is a sucker for all types of preserve.


As we stopped for a taster of all the lovely things on offer, the man at the stall was very friendly and happy to tell Roy all about the different types of jams they were selling. While Roy was nattering away, Bailey and I suddenly realised that these chutnies were the very same chutnies made by Friendly Food and Drink that we bought in the summer from Eighth Day Vegetarian Café on Oxford Road- yes, that same amazing chutney that we ate a whole jar of IN ONE SITTING. Oh wow.


Next to catch our attention were the Macaroons looking amazing and coconutty and Christmasy.


Of course the main attraction at any Christmas market is for many the German sausage stand.


There must be at least five at the Manchester market alone and I was really impressed to take a closer look and see the way they are cooked using a sort of large barbecue and a hanging grill tray.


On one of the French stalls we found they were selling lovely little mini pancakes which I thought looked very tasty. I didn't try any but had a good nosy as was curious as to what they were and how they were served, but couldn't really find out as the dudes working there seemed a little busy!


Before too long we came to Aída Morris' favourite stalls which are those selling Spanish chorizo. They were giving away a large variety of different samples to the punters which Aída took full advantage of.


Other Spanish stalls that also looked brilliant were the ones selling barbecued chorizo hot dogs:


And the one cooking up the biggest paella I have ever seen:


Of course the stalls that most caught my eye were the cheese ones. Which were amazing. There were so many different types of cheese on offer in all different formats, including bubbling raclette grilling right before your very eyes, brie in giant wheels ready for a personalised chunk to be cut off and wrapped up for you right there:


Cheeses with unusual flavours that you would never see in the shop (the yummiest to me looked like Pesto flavoured cheese):


Mouth watering.

In conclusion, a trip to the Manchester Christmas Markets is an absolute MUST for food lovers in the area. Especially if you are looking to buy delicious presents for your nearest and dearest. I would recommend getting there early though as the crowds can become unbearably large. Perhaps pop there for your breakfast!

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