Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. It always has been and I hope it always will be. Since moving to Manchester, we look forward each year to the opening of the Christmas Markets, making sure we have a day together to spend wandering around and sampling all the goodies. I know it is tradition for many people of the North West.
As they get bigger every year, new things come along to amaze and revitalise the experience and a couple of years ago Spinningfields introduced their own Festive Village to join in on the Christmas festivities. We were lucky enough to be invited to this year’s launch by our friends from Penelope’s Kitchen. So wrapped up in our best Christmas jumpers and wandered down The Avenue!
We’d already been lucky enough to visit the village the week before for a preview, which had lead to a first-ever (and enjoyed) apple crumble, so we had seen a work-in progress of stalls being built. We entered the busy village and scouted around to see what we could try first!
When you first enter the festive village, you’ll be greeted by the happy welcoming faces of the guys at Penelopes Kitchen. I cannot say enough good things about them and their fantastic food. They have tasty hotpot with tasty, tangy red cabbage (again my first), warm and hearty apple crumble, and one of the biggest and best ranges of hot chocolates I’ve ever seen. This is my Mint-Choc Chip one, Mrs B had a Ferrero Rocher one and they were both amazing. You need to visit the village just to sample these, then the food will keep you there! Talk to them on Twitter, they are a real friendly bunch. Tell them I said to say hi, I might get a free hot chocolate! (not really)
If you want something else, there are a dozen stalls offering everything from Jack Daniels or Jagermeister glazed sausages from the Kaiserwurst stall, to pasta bowls, giant filled yorkshire puddings, and pancakes.
We were also lucky enough to sample some drink, I’m not one for mulled wine, but what we had from the bar by the ice rink was pretty good! Pancake Corner is the place you need to go if you don’t want a hot drink, we had Skittles and chocolate orange flavours of milkshakes. You can find them on Twitter, I’ll be going back soon to try their pancakes too!
The launch was headed by a great ice-skating demo on the rink, you can see all the pictures in the gallery at the bottom, skaters of all ages and abilities, including professionals from Dancing on Ice. Despite the night getting colder, we all enjoyed it and was impressed by the routines. Topped off with a fireworks display, the village was open for all to enjoy and whittle away those cold Winter nights.
The Christmas markets get better every year, with food to match and the Spinningfields Festive Village is proof of this. I have heard mutterings from some corners of the price of food, but it’s good hearty grub and I’m appalled at the queues in fast food places when you can have something this good. I’m a Gregg’s fan myself, but while these markets are on I certainly know where my money will be spent. Make the little trip across Deansgate to Spinningfields this Christmas and you won’t be dissappointed.