Having visited the Christkindelmarkt every year since it’s inception I was concerned that it might feel a bit jaded this year. Fortunately this is not the case. This event just oozes Christmas spirit.
The first thing that strikes you is the smell of pancakes and the fact that most people are eating or drinking in the open air. This is because there is such a vast array of take away culinary delights on offer ranging from fried potato cakes with apple or cranberry sauce to delicious handmade chocolates and freshly prepared dry roasted nuts with a variety of flavoured coatings, as well as the inevitable frankfurters with cheese.
A most surprising sight, not apparent in previous years, is the amazing queue of revellers snaking all the way down from the O2 Academy to the Bier Keller entrance at the centre of the Christmas market . This is set up as a German bar selling larger and mulled wine, also serving authentic food, with wooden tables of the style found in pub beer gardens, a Christmas tree and German oompah music all embraced in a large, wooden chalet. This is basically a makeshift novelty pub, not very comfortable and certainly not worth waiting half an hour or more in the freezing cold for.
However this Yuletide extravaganza is not all about food. You can buy all your Christmas gifts at once here if you are seeking handcrafted, whimsical or novelty offerings. They do however come at a price. We are not talking cheap and cheerful here. Highlights, as you wander amongst the wooden, chalet style stalls, include rock salt lamps which are literally chunks of the afore mentioned with the middle hewn out and replaced by a light bulb, handcrafted, glass tree and hanging decorations, beautiful silver jewellery and rustic wooden toys and baskets. Finally you can take a ride on a traditional, Christmas carousel and there is no age limit.
This little piece of a traditional, European Christmas morphs into an outdoor ice rink after the 19th December 2010 so make sure you don’t miss out!
Thanks to Ian Bostock www.yorkshireartists.co.uk and Jennie Cole for the photos.