It is that time of year again when the Old Market Square is filled with those generic Market Stalls masquerading as a Christmas or is it a Holiday Market. Some years it is a German ‘themed’ Market, this year and last it is a Victorian ‘themed’ market. I could be unkind and pass comment that it is basically exactly the same vendors and stalls that are always there, only they are made to wear slightly different costumes, but I wont I will just leave the imaginary thought bubbles hanging over my cartoon head. I don’t really mind that it is a Victorian theme again, after all there is still a stall selling those German Wooden Toys, and there is still the stall selling those big sausages over the coals. I think it might even be the same people. It is hard to tell though, those Victorian disguises are quite good.
I had to try one of the German I mean Victorian Sausages, from “The Olde Victorian Grill House”. The options were between an “Olde English, a Lincolnshire, or a Hot and Spicy” sausage (or a burger but lets just gloss over that). It was basically your standard grilled big sausage with mustard and onions in a big soft white bread roll. That about all there is to say, except it cost £4.
Things were looking a lot more promising at the Soup Shed. I felt a little bit sorry for the guy behind the counter as he was having to wear a huge big top hat, but when he told me that he had nearly sold all of his soup and was having a good day I didn’t feel as bad for him. I had a cup of his fire roasted tomato and red pepper soup with basil, which really was very good indeed. Fresh, chunky, and a little bit creamy, very good value at just £2 cup with a bit of bread. I suppose that really I should have taken a picture BEFORE I ate it all. On this day though my stomach won over my camera phone.
So what else was there? There was the I ‘heart’ Ostrich BBQ stall, which sounded promising at first but on second thoughts after a while the exotic just doesn’t seem quite so exotic when you get it all the time at every market. I wonder how many more burgers we have to endure before we have eaten one from every member of the animal kingdom, then perhaps we can have something else to chomp down on. The variant here was the addition of Jack Daniels sauce, which the burger sat in until it was a bit soggy. Still it is all a lot better than the chain store burger.
If you ignore the queues for the standard burgers and chips which a lot of people were buying, then one of the most popular stalls seemed to be The Green Kitchen. I have walked through the Market Square a lot over the last couple of weeks and the line for their fare has been consistently long. The BBQ Chicken sandwich looks particularly special and is something that I have on my list to eat before the end of the holiday, and I need to be there on a really chilly evening to take advantage of the Steak and Ale stew, For those of you who have been there before me, I salute you.
I expect that I will probably have a couple more chances to partake of the Winter Festival Fare, but I am still a little unsure how I feel about the whole thing. I veer between two emotions and I can best sum that up as ‘There is something for everyone and yet on occasion nothing for anyone”
The Winter Market is in the Old Market Square right beside the council house, it is a little bit hard to miss.