It’s that time of the year where I can’t help but talk about the Belfast Christmas Market. I absolutely love the market, most of all for the festive buzz and great atmosphere that it lends to City Hall in particular, and the city in general.
We first made our way there the second weekend after it opened, where we followed the queue from the main entrance of City Hall all around towards Ulster Bank before we managed to join the line just before the side entrance. Since then, I’ve tried the following goodies:
- Kettlecorn: This popcorn stall which shared a space with a cupcake stand is probably my favourite addition to the market this year. Their original flavoured popcorn is just the right mix of sweet and salty on each piece of popcorn, and extremely addictive.
- Churros: A perennial favourite among the crowd, although – believe it or not – this was my first time trying churros of any sort. Wasn’t sure what to make of it, as while it was fun to chomp down on the sticks of fried batter drenched in nutella, I don’t think I’ll be giving it a second go.
- Fruit tarts: Next to the beer tent is the stand selling a whole range of tarts and cookies. Their fruit tarts are absolutely gorgeous and it was the first thing I wanted to buy again when the market opened, as I had eaten so many last year!
- Currywurst: I fell in love with currywurst while in Germany a few years ago, and this stall near the Ulster Bank entrance is the only one among all the German sausage stands that sells this delicious treat. We got one that’d been sitting on the grill for a while too, hence was particularly crispy. Yum.
- Morrocan lamb tagine: Near the Donegall Square West entrance is this gem of a stall selling Morrocan food. I mixed its lamb tagine with some of the chickpeas tagine served on rice, which made for a stomach-warming lunch.
I’ve also picked up some gifts for myself and others at the Christmas market, such as:
- Christmas tree decorations: Got this cute wee snowman for myself, and a few other danglies to send to friends back home.
- Scented candle: Next to the Morrocan stall is Knightswood Candle Emporium, which sells candles which can apparently burn for 60hours. I was hooked by the calming fragrance of lemongrass in this candle, and was sold on the promise that the essential oils in the candle will spread the aroma throughout the room when the candle is lit. Unfortunately this has not been the case with this candle, which is a disappointment!
- Bath salts: Together with the candle, I picked up some bath salts from Knightswood. I been getting knee aches quite often in the past few months and tend to need a hot bath to relax the muscles from ballet class, hence thought that this would be a great addition to my bathroom. Hopefully it proves more effective than the scented candle!
- Lavender soap and pot-pourri pouches: And finally, from the French lavender stall, I picked up this pretty bag of smellies, which will form part of a gift to someone this Christmas. Here’s to hoping it’ll be well received!
I’ve seen a few posts and tweets around which noted the relative absence of local stalls at the Christmas Market. While I can understand the sentiment and desire to support local businesses, I’ve always had the impression that St Georges Market would be the place to go for local items, rather than the continental Christmas Market.
Personally, I’m actually really happy with the mix of stalls featured at the Christmas Market this year. It was slightly disappointing walking around the market last year, only to see the same few stalls that are present at St Georges Market each week (such as Love Olive). As much as I like the things the local businesses offer, it would be nice to see something different featured at the Christmas Market (and the Spring Continental Market), and I’m glad the organisers have moved a step in that direction for this year’s installment.