Image credit: Gresa Rustemi
From November the 17th to December 22nd 2018, Oxford’s famous ‘dreaming spires’ provide one of the more atmospheric backdrops of any of the country’s free Christmas markets. Set in the heart of Oxford on historic Broad Street – surrounded by the Sheldonian Theatre and historical Oxford University buildings, the opening of the event will be marked by local choirs and brass bands. Over 60 beautifully decorated wooden stalls will offer a wonderful selection of Christmas gifts and seasonal treats, with many new businesses signing up.
“The city of dreaming spires is filled with festive joy as the Oxford Christmas Market returns to the heart of the city on beautiful and historic Broad Street.”
Oxford City Council announced yesterday that the ‘beloved’ gathering of Christmas stalls in Broad Street will stay in place for the longest period to date. The markets will run for a much longer period of time in an effort to truly embrace the Christmas feeling. The city of dreaming spires is filled with festive joy as the Oxford Christmas Market returns to the heart of the city on beautiful and historic Broad Street.
The food this year promises to be a highlight with everything from a mouth watering hog roast, to hot filled Yorkshire pudding and spiced mulled wine.
So my journey through the labyrinth of markets begins with the mulled wine stall. It is one of my winter highlights; the welcoming warmth of a cup of spiced wine after a long walk in the cold is just wonderful. At its best, mulled wine brings the smells and thoughts of Christmas flooding back whatever the season. I must admit however, there was a strong sense of confliction as my eye also caught sight of the decadent Baileys hot chocolate loaded with cream and powdered with sugary cocoa … I could already envisage myself attending AA in the foreseeable future.
Abruptly, yet conveniently situated 5 metres away is the Hog Roast I quickly scramble into the ever-growing queue. Finally, I manage to get my hands on a glorious hog roast with stuffing, apple sauce, onions in a bun. It was probably one of the most devilishly delicious hog roasts I’ve had this year (and I’ve been to a few markets before -and a few pretentious formals). This hog roast is guaranteed to give you the most rich and meaty taste experience possible! Personally, though I am a fan of Offering mouth-watering German Bratwurst and Currywurst snug in hot dog buns, loaded with ketchup and mustasrd – yes, I love mustard and ketchup and you may think it’s weird- the Hog Roast beats it hands down.
Navigating around the stalls, you’ll be bound to be lured by The Nut House offering a Delicious range of freshly roasted nuts. You will smell them before you see them. Further down you’re bound to encounter Georgie Porgie’s Puddings , they have a Five unique flavours of handmade Christmas puddings, each individually made by Georgie and his chefs in Devon. You will experience a taste sensation that once experienced, will keep you coming back for more. Including gluten free and vegan flavours.
If you’re looking for complementary fries, go to the Le Rack Shack. They are bringing Alpine Raclette – a creamy rich swiss cheese- back to Oxford! They pour this gooey glory over crushed new potatoes and rosemary fries with smoked sausage and pickles. Go and experience the cheese avalanche yourself!
An interesting stall is the Upton Cheyney Chilli Company as they proudly bring a range of the UK’s top awarded chilli sauces, ranging from sweet to savoury; from mild to the down-right scary; and all available to taste- that is if your taste buds can handle it .
Ah , then there’s the quintessentially British stall Olde English Fudge. This magnificent stall sells Multi-award winning olde English fudge, all handmade – choose from over 30 flavours. Ranging from Canadian Dream- maple and buttery chocolate fudge to Cookie Dough vanilla fudge with cookie dough pieces and chocolate. Continuing on this sweet streak is Winter Warmers, another stall selling merry alcoholic beverages. Mmm…delicious Glühwein (German mulled wine) and warming mulled apple juice. For some extra warmth add a shot of Amaretto or Rum.
Then Northern Brownies hit the spot with white chocolate blondies, incredibly rich and moist with a crispy top! Now, for those of you who need a quick pick me up from this dreamy experience head to the Colombia Coffee Roasters. They are an Oxford based artisan coffee roaster. Their Colombian coffee beans are exceptionally smooth- as a coffee connoisseur I can verify this.
Then finally on my merry journey is Los Churros Amigos. Their beautifully welcoming stall beckons you with their freshly made churros sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and served with a pot of quality melted Belgian chocolate sauce.
With the sound of choirs singing Christmas carols, market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts, colourful decorations brightening wooden stalls and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air – a visiting and tasting the Oxford Christmas Market was a truly magical Christmas experience.