IT’S that time of the year again when one cannot make their way through town without being tempted by all kinds of sausages and pastry or drawn by piled up Christmas decorations. With Manchester Christmas markets being bigger and better than ever this year, spread between 10 sites across the city centre, there is almost a bit too much choice. Hidden between the tree ornament shops and Irish coffee pop up bars is the festive foodie’s paradise. Anna Georgieva went out and found the best places to grab a bite just days before the markets go away for another year. Follow our guide to discover the hidden gems that will keep you coming back for more.

Orchard pigs

If you are a real pie lover, this is your stall. Treat yourself to some delicious homemade pies and pastries, made only with fresh ingredients. The Wrexham-based stall has a little thing for everyone from creamy stilton to mustard and ale pie. Orchard pigs’ owner Rob Didier has been trained under superchef Raymond Blanc and will not leave a hungry soul walking around the festive madness. You can find him in front of the Town Hall on Albert square, on the far left side.

‘The strudel place’

This authentic Austrian bakery is the only place in the markets where you can find the fine pastries. The nameless stand serves thick authentic strudels with plenty of choice of flavours from classic apple to the more innovative cherry and chocolate-marzipan. Placed right next to the Old Windmill bar, ‘The strudel place’ is the perfect stop before you get your mulled wine upstairs in the bar.

De Creperie

The markets might be German, but the Dutch presence is definitely felt strong. Among the tree ornament stands and right outside the Town Hall are the cutest little pancakes, trade mark of ‘De Creperie.’ If you don’t want to go for the boring waffles that are on every corner, try a mini pancake from the Dutch wizards, best eaten with powdered sugar and low blood pressure. The pancake house is opposite the giant Santa, only a step down from the strudels.

Tentazioni

Tenatzioni’s stand will make your mouth water just by passing by it. The UK-based family company specialises in importing the best sweets temptations from Italy and has not one but two stands at this year’s markets. At their stalls you can find a collection of Italy’s greatest hits in treats and pastries that are not on sale in most shops. Some of the beautifully presented and insanely delicious treats include cannoli filled with ricotta and pistachios, doorstop wedges of nougat and biscuits topped with apricot, and you can’t just have one. Treat yourself at the Tentazioni stand on Albert square, third row on the left or at the bottom of King Street.

‘The macarons place’

A macaron is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder and food colouring. The macarons at the Christmas markets are just perfection. Offering a range of flavours like the simple vanilla to a complex cappuccino, the macarons could be the perfect choice for anyone who enjoys a little extra sweetness in their life. Sold as just a treat or made into a gift box, the French delight could make for the perfect Christmas present.

By Anna Georgieva
@AnnaAGeorgieva

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