We had planned on heading into London to go to Winter Wonderland, but with the recent terror incident in London, and some free tickets to a local Christmas Market, we decided to stay closer to home. I was a little disappointed but mostly elated that I wouldn’t have to go on the train again so soon! I really do not like trains!
Off we poddled towards the race course. Parking was easy and it was a short walk to the entrance. Just long enough for me to layer up and get ready for walking around in the close to zero celcius temperatures.
After climbing the beautifully festooned staircase and admiring the twinking tree, I was roasting but secure in the knowledge that I would soon be outside and be thankful for the fact I had built up some heat inside my clothes…
Turns out though that Justine had forgotten to tell me it was all inside!!! As fast as I layered up, I started to layer down again!! Sadly, but somewhat logically I guess with the current threat levels, there was no where to check your coat or bags so I spent the next two hours trying my best to sneak through little gaps in the crowds to be able to see everything without being a one woman wreaking ball… not that it would have mattered. I would have just matched the sharp elbowed lack of manners that most people seem to employ at these things! Heaven forbid they would miss out on anything for a millisecond!
It was a truly eclectic selection of stalls which was in keeping with the truly eclectic stall owners in a lot of cases! Shout out to the crazy Italian who was well past his prime but still trying to flirt with women to buy his hats. Sadly he wasn’t bright enough to realise that the Euro price stickers were in the hats still so he wasn’t giving us a last minute discount just for the ‘beautiful ladies’ when he was asking £10 higher than the Euro price!!! Bless!
There was a smattering of Christmas stalls, but it was mainly crap that you don’t want or need. I can see that some of it would have made good Secret Santa gifts (like the coasters below), but mostly it was amusing just to look around and see how much you don’t really need.
I think if somewhere is advertising themselves as a Christmas market, it should have a lot more Christmas stalls. Like, 50%. It would make it so much perttier.
We walked around and picked up a few bits, but nothing hugely exciting. Justine got a new scarf though that was incredibly soft. Had they had any different colours or patterns outside animal print and this, I would have been sorely tempted.
After an hour or so, it was time to head home. We were both shattered from having to weave in and out of rude people. So much so that we very nearly didn’t go to the Food Hall. Thankfully I need a constant supply of water so we pulled on our big girl panties and descended what felt like 3 million stairs.
We had been expecting it just to be a canteen type place, but to my utter joy, there was food stalls and tastings! I found a new burst of energy and set about being as fair to the stall holders as I could be by trying anything. This unfortunately meant that I subsequently spent a bloody fortune as everything was so good!!
First up was the Chili Jam. Mum and I have always had a bit of an obsession with chili jam and always buy new ones to effort to find the best on offer . It generally tastes good with all cheese, but especially with a sharp/mature cheddar. Now, I haven’t managed to try this theory as yet but given how my eyes rolled into the back of my head as soon as the sweet and spicy jam hit my tongue, I figure it’s going to be amazing.
I also found an incredible spicy pineapple jam. It isn’t something I would have ever bought without trying, but I tried it and bought it straight away!
A couple of taste experiments later, including a rich and creamy feta that I wished I could buy and it would last until I was in South Africa for BBQ’s and salads, I found a life changing stall…
Not only was their cheese creamy but bitey perfection, their onion marmalade was hands down the best one I have ever had. I even would go so far as to say it’s better than the M&S caramelised onion one. That is very high praise indeed as you will know if you have ever been to a cheese and wine night with me. One bite of this combination didn’t exactly make me want more… it made me NEED more. There was no question that I have to have this in my life. Unsurprisingly, they had sold out of basically everything so I grabbed what I could, threw them with money and ran before anyone tried to snatch it out of my chubby little hands.
For more information on where they will be showing next, and products sold on line, click this link: The Truckle Cheese Co.
By the time I had a couple more taste of this, and their surprisingly good chili cheese, I didn’t have much room left. I did pause to pick up some Brazilian cheesy bread rolls but in order to take home for later snacks. Turns out these little ground snacks of heavenlyness are called ‘bolitas’. Who knew!
I need a moment to shout about these little cheesy bread rolls. I have always been a fan. Whenever we go to a Brazilian restaurant, I always order them if they aren’t given in the bread basket. They are my favourite part of the meal generally. When we found the stall we tried a couple of bites and these totally stood up to any that I have ever had. Cheesy and light, and devilishly moorish. We ordered a selection to take home, and thoroughly enjoyed them that night and the next morning.
What I didn’t know until AFTER I had read the leaflet that I picked up is that this particular version were Sugar, Nut, Gluten, Wheat and Yeast free! I wouldn’t have had a clue just from eating them. They were delicious and didn’t taste at all like compressed sawdust, which is usually the case with those things removed!
I sadly didn’t take a photo of them either at the stall or later, because I was too busy eating them. For all the information and all the photos, go to their website (here) and order them. You will not regret it at all whether you are gluten free or not!!
I would normally have eaten all the bolitas on the spot, but I couldn’t have eaten anymore that one at that particular moment and then still had room for a roast dinner. I probably shouldn’t have had a roast dinner really on top of all the cheese, jam and bread, but I did.
That’s for my next post!