Is it possible to die from a festive overload? If so, I can say without hesitation that the end is nigh. And what a way it would be to go. Faced with the choice of investigating Leeds Christmas markets or conducting my own experiment of how many festive friends I could eat in one minute, I chose markets. After spending the morning/afternoon wandering round store upon store of food delights at the Christmas Farmers’ Market on Briggate, I collected more than my fair share of treats.
Perhaps the item that has excited me most is the mulled wine spice mix I picked up at a lovely little store called The Spice Lady. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg instantly filled me with Christmas joy, leaving me longing to taste what will be my first sip of mulled wine this season. It soon became apparent that I visited the Briggate markets on the right day since, along with the Moroccan Market and Farmers’ Market, the Street Food Festival set up pitch emitting mouth watering smells of home-grown and exotic foods.
The Christmas Farmers market runs every Sunday in December, occurring more frequently than it’s usual bi-monthly spot. All manner of food goods are sold here, from un-butchered game to unusual chilli oils and spices. And don’t forget to stop off for a hog roast – definitely one of the best I’ve tasted. Other goods sold at the market include olives, breads, meats (butchered and un-butchered), cakes, plants, oils, jams… oh, the list is endless.
This year the Moroccan Market of Handicraft also takes its stance along the main shopping street of Leeds: Briggate. Selling and making exotic goods that wouldn’t be out of place at a typical market in Marrakech, the stalls bring a welcome burst of colour to the streets of Leeds over the festive period, and it’s nice to see something different from the usual type of Christmas markets.
The Moroccan market is open 7-days a week. Along with other items, the market stalls sell handcrafted home goods and décor, herbs and spices and clothing items made from leather and fabric. The smell hits me each time I walk past a trader making a new bag. The smell of leather strongly resembles the first day of school after the summer break, and I am instantly transported back to those days.
Next it was time to hit the biggest market in Leeds over the festive period: Christkindelmarkt. This German Christmas market pops up
annually, and this year it runs from 9th November until the 16th December. Found in Millennium Square, the market attracts thousands of visitors each year and sells all things associated with Germany and Christmas i.e. beer and bratwurst sausage, obviously. However, it is also nice to wander around the stalls selling handcrafted gifts, indulge in one of the sweet puddings and soak up the festive decorations – the atmosphere couldn’t be more Christmassy if it tried.
So I think I am well and truly in the Christmas spirit. How do I know that? Well, after visiting the markets I picked up a Christmas tree, complete with tinsel, baubles and fairy lights. The only thing missing is the fairy on top – any takers? I then bought my first Christmas present this year. After which I continued to buy three, yes three, rolls of incredibly festive wrapping paper, Christmas cards and gift tags. And so I have reached the conclusion that other than the many, many gifts I have to purchase, I am now ready for Christmas.