• sarah.bb@eatsdrinksandsleeps.com

Eating and drinking my way through life and learning all the while

Southbank Christmas market + Real Food market @ Southbank Centre

Okay so last weekend I was hoping to be at the Christmas markets in Hamburg, that didn’t quite work out so instead I took a jaunt around the Christmas markets at the Southbank Centre, London.
I fell in love with Germany’s Christmas markets and although I wasn’t expecting London to be at the same level – I did have high expectations.
The Southbank is a stunning setting for a Christmas market and the weekend I went, London had enjoyed a light smattering of snow which hadn’t all melted due to the ice cold temperatures.
I was looking forward to spending a fortune on gorgeous German Christmas decorations that remind me of my childhood, while hubby couldn’t wait to get stuck into the Glühwein and Bratwursts said to be on offer.
So first stop the bar for some Glühwein, a warm, spiced red wine that is essential consumption if you want to keep warm enough to go around all 60 little wooden chalets.
In Germany, there is an option to have it served mit Schuss, a shot, often rum or amaretto. Although even without the shot of spirit it is usually strong enough to knock your socks off and warm your cockles. We weren’t given the choice of mit Schuss here, but still the Glühwein was good and much better than the mulled wine I’ve found served in many London pubs this winter.
The market is beautiful and has a Carousel and snow-themed photo session with Santa for the kids, there is the obligatory roasted chestnut stall and a few beautiful chalets selling Christmas decs and pressies. There were a few too many stalls selling London tat for my liking and I couldn’t find the gorgeous, traditional, wooden German decorations I was really after but I did walk away feeling very festive.
We couldn’t leave without hubby trying all four variations of wurst on offer by the Bratwurst kings – traditional Bratwurst, Krakauer (bacon sausage), Kasekrainer (a Krakauer with an injection of liquid cheese in the middle) and Currywurst (sliced pork sausage covered in a tomato ketchup-based curry sauce).
After checking out all the stalls, we went around the other side of the Southbank Centre to check out the Real Food Market. Now here I was spoilt for choice on where to spend my Christmas cash.
While the Reindeer pies from Brockleby’s caught hubby’s eyes, I just couldn’t do it (although I was assured no Reindeers were harmed during the making of these pies). I was tempted by the Edinburgh Gin, although ultimately Sipsmith London Dry Gin has won my heart and will be my Christmas tipple of choice for this year
At the cheese stall, Mons Fromager, I was like a kid in a sweet shop. The guys there were great at letting us try everything that took our fancy and we went home with some Persille de Beaujolais, a blue cheese made from cow’s milk, and a slab of Grand Jura, a hard cheese again made from cow’s milk. Both have been wonderful editions for my Christmas cheeseboard although I doubt any of it will be left by Christmas!
We received a warm welsome at the Dessert Deli and left with a couple of mince pies, some warm apple crumble and a couple of Belgian Chocolate, Pear and Ginger tarts. I took them home and heated them up in the oven all of which tasted wonderful!
The Christmas Market at the Southbank Centre is open until 23rd December and the Real Food Market will be making another appearance next weekend Friday 17th-Sunday 19th December. If you need a little help getting all festive, go visit!

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