Since I arrived in the Midlands I have been spoiled for choice when it comes to places to eat, Birmingham in particular excels itself as a centre of culinary excellence.
So when I heard that Birmingham would be holding a Christmas Market I knew it would be good. Birmingham, incidently, is twinned with Frankfurt.
Now in it’s tenth year, the Birmingham Christmas Market encompasses over a mile of pavement and no less than 180 stalls. Starting on New Street, it carries on all the way up through the town square and well on to Broad Street.
It has more than thirty stalls dedicated to crafts and art, but the real reason to go is for the food!
From candied nuts to hot chestnuts, chocolate coated marshmellows to personalized cookie gifts, they have it all. The smells alone are fantastic, and put you in a more positive frame of mind than you may have been of late.
In short, the place is fantastically christmassy and exciting.
The German chocolate stalls were an abundance of Alpine chocolate, and not a Toblerone bar in sight. They had wonderful, mysterious brands with strange names and fantastic tastes to explore.
I had not had roast chestnuts since I was a boy. One time I tried to bake some in the over but forgot to slit them first. It sounded like someone was throwing bangers in my kitchen. They have a strange, sweet yet nutty taste.
The Beer tent was a real Bavarian experience, with real steins or mugs to drink the beer out of. You pay a deposit for the mug, before you think of slipping it in your bag.
They do real hot chocolate too, and I mean the thick rich stuff that you rarely see in Britain. Let it cool before drinking or it can burn your throat. Or if you can’t wait, ask for a cup of water to wash it down, like they do in the Med.
Further back I found a Carribean stall (Ah, that must be far west Germany then), and near the end a small Fish and Chip van proudly flying the flag for Britain! Well you can’t argue with tradition.
So I definitely recommend the Christmas fair as a day out for all the family. My advice it to arrive early, and park in the Market end of town. Please mind your bags and wallets in congested areas. The nearest toilets are in the coffee shops and department stores. I did not note any first aid post.
Bu don’t worry about all that, just enjoy a pre-christmas day out. God knows we need one.