Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the Christmas Markets were sorely missed in Manchester last year, and Christmas just didn’t feel – ‘Christmassy’ – without them.
Well, fear not, for the Council last night officially announced on the radio (like it’s 1932 again) that the Markets are going ahead once more, opening to the public from Friday 12th November until Wednesday 22nd December.
Now, that’s about it for the details, we don’t know who is going to be there, but we can have a bloody good guess at it all. So here’s what we’re getting most excited about at this year’s Manchester Christmas Markets…
Being Out and About
COVID absolutely destroyed any chance of us just being out and about around the city, so with the Christmas Markets back – it’ll be great to be back at it once again. Just feeling the buzz of Manchester, seeing people you’ve not seen for ages and having a chat, talking absolute shite to a stranger in one of the Alpine bars after six pints – it’s the little things that we’ve missed and the return of the Markets is a sign that it’s all coming back again.
The Christmas Dinner Toastie by Northern Soul
I’ll bet you a crisp tenner that Northern Soul Grilled Cheese will have a stall at this year’s Christmas Markets and I’ll bet you another crisp fiver (I’m not bloody made of money) that they’ll be doing their sublime Christmas Dinner Toastie. And we cannot wait to get our hands on one once again. It’s absolutely packed full of all the main ingredients for a dinner, (including plenty of cranberry sauce) and then covered with lashings of gravy. Perfect.
Mini Dutch Pancakes
Pancakes are THE BEST – I bloody love ’em. You can top them with absolutely ANYTHING and they just get better and better. I’ll eat my hat if there isn’t a Dutch Pancake House at the Markets, somewhere that makes this tiny little balls of batter that look so good on Instagram, flipping them over as they cook and then plonking them down in a tray and caking them in syrup and cream and chocolate and whatever else can be found in Willy Wonka’s fridge.
The Chorizo Bandit of Berlin
There’s nothing more enjoyable than some proper deli meats; salami, mortadella, pastrami, chorizo – we love it all, and at the Christmas Markets you’ll always find someone selling them by the sausage – and we can’t wait to get back down there and spend about £50 on them all. Perfect alongside your cheese and crackers after your Christmas Dinner, or as a present for that ‘meaty’ bloke in your life – these deli meats are a winner – and there’s also the free samples to keep you energised as you walk around.
On the subject of free samples, let’s not forget about all of that CHEESE at the Markets! It’s difficult to pick out one singular cheese stall because there’s tonnes and they are all equally fantastic, counting more than 100 different types of cheese available back in 2019. There are chutney dedicated stalls too so you can conjure up the best pairings.
Mulled Wine by the gallon
Cheese is up there with a big part of Christmas, but in my house a bigger part is the booze. It usually kicks off around 8am with a glass of Champagne and drinking continues throughout the day. It’s completely acceptable in fact, to be a little Merry for the entirety of December. Possibly until mid-January. Every few metres you’ll find a stall where you can top up your Christmas Market themed mug with more mulled wine than you could ever dream of. Definitely opt for the extra shot of booze. If for no other reason than to warm you up when it’s about -3014 degrees out.
The Yorkshire Pudding Wrap
Talk of the town and the nation a few year’s ago, the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap exploded onto the scene back in 2018 and was an instant success – obviously. Take a Beef Roast Dinner and wrap it in a massive Yorkshire Pudding like a fajita and you’re onto a big winner at the markets. Go one further and make it a Roast Turkey Christmas Dinner in there and you’ll never want to eat anything ever again.
Usually I won’t ever eat hot dogs or Bratwurst, unless I’m at the Christmas Markets. Seeing them cooking over the hot coals on those hanging grill things, watching people take that first tentative crunch into the sausage, and having too much mustard on it all – I love it and I cannot wait to gobble one down with some mulled wine this November.
I’m sure you’re aware that this list was going to be 95% about food, and I’m going to continue this trend and talk about chestnuts. IN particular – roasted chestnuts. I love them. They’re one of the 2 best things about Christmas and one of the highlights of the Markets. Expect to see ALL SORTS of other nuts too – with those dedicated nuts guys where you shovel about 5kg into a bag and hand him over the deeds to your house.
Just Feeling Christmassy
Last year, with all of that Tier 2, Tier 3 malarkey – it just didn’t feel like Christmas at all. Even on Christmas Day, the turkey tasted just that little bit dryer, the cranberries were sourer and the Queen’s Speech? Absolute drivel from a stuck up toff. This year though, with the Christmas Markets back – we’re all going to get into that Christmas mood much, much easier. All wrapped up, mulled wine warming the hands, stood around listening to that Moose sing that stupid song – it’s going to feel like a proper Christmas once again and we cannot wait!