It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially if you have had a chance to stop by the Exeter Christmas Market on the Cathedral Green this month. if you do decide to drop by, come with an appetite because there’s a variety of food, sweets and more to indulge in. When you first enter the market, you will be greeted with a large assortment of food stalls. There’s a choice of gourmet macaroni and cheese, hot jacket potatoes, Persian, Thai and Greek food. If this cuisine isn’t your speed, there’s also burgers, pizza, duck wraps, paella, and even wraps filled with lamb, venison or veggies. But, make sure you save room for dessert because you can pamper yourself with some crispy sweet churros, waffles, or enjoy a Devon made scone from the bakery. Am I making you hungry yet? My friend and I split the duck fat chips and nachos and they were amazing. I also enjoyed looking at the big pot of La Tartiflette, which I will definitely try next time! So even if you don’t plan to shop, you should at least try the food!
I’ve been to the market a few times and if you don’t like big crowds, I suggest you stay away on the weekends, especially in the afternoon between 1-4 pm. If you want to be able to walk around without so many people, I have found weekday afternoons between 3-5 pm to be a good time. But if you want to experience the market at night, it’s quite festive with the lights on the sheds and with Christmas music in the background to get you into the spirit.
This is the place to go for all your shopping. You can find jewelry, handmade hats and scarves, Christmas decorations , personalised ornaments, ceramic candle holders, handmade soaps, chocolate wine, hand crafted kaleidoscopes, and even garlic and ginger graters which could be a good gift for mom or dad. There are a few shops selling jams and chutneys, with many flavours to choose from, including Pineapple and Red Pepper Chutney, and there are a couple of fudge shops, including samples. For you cheese lovers out there. Personally, I’m looking forward to indulging in my Chili & Lime and Red Leicester with Chilies and Crushed Pepper. I have a friend who loves dried meats, so I went and bought her some Chocolate Habanero Chorizo. Just past the food there’s also a shed selling cupcakes in a jar which look delicious!
As you continue shopping around, you will soon smell the scent of ‘Essence of Christmas’ and I suggest you stop in to see the wreaths and potpourri. One of my favorite shops is the chocolate workshop. You can buy lipsticks, nail polish and even wrenches all made from chocolate. When you walk up to the shed, everything looks so real and beautiful, making you not want to eat it! It’s the perfect gift for anyone.
Once you finish your shopping, head into the cathedral tavern for some mulled apple gin, cider, wine and more! Take a break from the cold and enjoy some music with friends and family. Time is running out so make sure you take a break and buy some local speciality gifts. The market is open Monday to Wednesday from 10am to 7pm, Thursday to Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm. Happy Holidays!
– by Erin Coyle