Gluhwein, Bavarian beer, and bratwursts of all flavours have returned to Manchester today as the city’s Christmas markets reopened, following a year’s hiatus.
Cheese-filled, spicy, classic, and white German sausages can be seen (and smelt) grilling over hot coals in all corners of the city, and you can’t move for innumerable wooden huts selling all the classic wintry drinks you might expect – from mulled wine and hot, boozy cider, to steaming mugs of Italian Vin Boule, Nordic Glocc and French Vin Chaud.
But alongside the classics, there are also some new and intriguing additions this year we haven’t seen before – like Biscoff cookie pies, giant carvery roast boxes from the Yorkshire wrap legends at Porky Pig, and ‘Manchester’s legendary Hot Blobs’, which we’re told are a mix of sweet white wine, sugar, lemon, and hot water.
Keep reading to discover all of the best food and drink stalls at Manchester’s Christmas markets this year.
This year, it’s finally Piccadilly Gardens’ time to shine. The forever-controversial public space has become the home of the Manchester Christmas Markets for 2021 – and council bosses have gone all out, installing two huge, covered bars alongside a live music stage and numerous street food huts.
Alongside the usual food and drink suspects, you’ll find not one but two vegan bratwurst stalls – Manchester’s vegan restaurant Vertigo, and newcomer Panc – battling it out for the plant-based crown, plus Korean potato hot dogs rolled in sugar, glasses of shimmering prosecco and steaming mugs of hot Vimto.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a mouthwatering Chrimbo chicken brioche burger loaded with gravy, bacon, and cranberry from The Dirty Chicken Co (£8), S’mores churros sandwiches (£6.50) from Loop Churros, and hot roast pork rolls loaded with stuffing and apple sauce (£6.50).
The first Christmas markets to open this year, the offering here is pretty simple with a collection of bars selling mulled wine and cider, and wooden huts selling dutch mini pancakes, sugar waffles and more.
The Corn Exchange
Jammy Dodger-loaded cupcakes, Nutella-topped confections, and more covered with pick and mix sweeties, chocolate Oreos, and golden pretzels can be found at Zara’s Cupcakes market stall, priced at £3.50 each or £13 for four. There are also cake jars, old-school puds, and cake mix-making kits to be found here.
At the Corn Exchange, there’s also a pie stall from The Crusty Pie Company selling every filling variation you can think of – from pork and black pudding to Hunstmans pies, chicken and leek, wild boar and mushroom, turkey and cranberry, and chicken and chestnut stuffing pies.
You can find some great gourmet sausage rolls here, too, as well as bags of traditional pork scratchings from £2.
The go-to stall here at Exchange Square has to be Porky Pig, the home of the Yorkshire pudding wrap and battered pigs in blankets. Wraps are served carvery-style, so you can pick your meat from choices like chicken, beef, gammon and pork, then opt for stuffing, gravy, and veg separately.
This year, the Porky Pig team has also introduced some new options too – bringing across its popular giant roast dinner carvery boxes and bangers and mash. Look out for the ‘Yorkshire Rose’, a giant swirly Cumberland sausage-loaded Yorkshire pudding topped with gravy.
Elsewhere, you’ll find chargrilled grill wraps, curries, and Indian street food at TKK Food Experience; parmesan and truffle fries at the Dutch Fries Company; Dutch mini pancakes and sugar waffles; and German bratwurst, Christmas punch, and Bavarian cherry beer at the German Windmill Bar.
There are also piles of flavoured Turkish delight, plus caramel cider (£5), classic English mulled wine (£5), and non-alcoholic ginger and honey with orange juice and cranberry (£5) to be discovered here.
There’s not much to report food-wise, with the majority of stalls focusing on selling gifts and other trinkets. We did spy a massive stall selling pick and mix, though, for those who haven’t yet got over the closure of Woolworth’s.
With a big focus on beer and wine, Exchange street is dominated by bars selling all the usual suspects – plus Baileys, boozy coffees, gin and tonics, and other spirit mixers.
Prestwich restaurant Triple B also has a stall down here selling bagels stuffed with fried camembert or hot salt beef, plus turkey Reuben bagels and French dip sandwiches – a must if you’ve never tried them before.
You’ll also find some cute little preserves from the Cherry Tree, The Cocktail Co. selling bottled hot and cold cocktail gift sets (bottles from £5, gift sets from £15), a burrito stall called Wrap Up, flavoured rums made in Bath by Beckford’s, and German bratwursts down by Zara
St Ann’s Square
Head to St Ann’s Square for square pizzas, 1/2 meter long bratwurst rolls (£6), and a stall from Manchester fried chicken legends Yard and Coop selling festive trays of fried chicken and chips (£10) alongside some brand new chicken tender and buffalo sauce po boys (£7).
Think Christmas dinner in a tray, combining buttermilk fried chicken tenders, fries, cranberry ketchup, and chicken gravy (£10), or. there’s a salt and pepper twist that comes garnished with seaweed (£10).
Elsewhere, you’ll find square pizza, reams of German bratwurst and salami pre-packaged to take home; a Spanish kitchen selling tapas and nibbles like serrano ham, manchego, Catalan fuet, and Spanish chorizo; and sweet treats like apple strudel and kaiserschmarrn (scrambled pancakes) down by the church.
Oh, and don’t forget the Lotus Biscoff cookie pies and giant truffles disguised as Christmas puddings over at Gingerbread House Confections – they look incredible and can easily be heated up at home in the microwave.
The wonderful Italian cheese and meat stall that sits on the border of King street and Deansgate has returned for 2021, we’re happy to confirm, selling everything from taleggio and coor da Sardegna, to salame chighiale, casereccia piccante, and more.
You can also get your go-to bratwurst here, with a choice of cheese sausage (£5) or white sausage (£5) available.
The Grumpy Mule gin bar is on hand selling a selection of juniper-laced spirits from the likes of Malfy, Thomas Dakin, Tanqueray, and Gin Mare, as well as boozy hot chocolates, mulled wines, and everything else you might expect.
There’s also a provencal stall selling French favourites like garlic mushrooms (£6), garlic chicken(£6.50), and mustard chicken (£6.50) alongside garlic potatoes or rice; and a Sicilian street food stall flogging sourdough pizza slices, various stuffed balls of arancini, and a coppo misto (a selection of fried specialities like arancine, panzerotto, panelle and crostini).
Featured Image – The Manc Group
Graeme Park thanks fans for ‘valued support’ and launches fundraiser in memory of late son
Graeme Park has thanked fans for their “valued support” following the devastating passing of his teenage son last week.
The former Hacienda legend and his family have also set up a fundraiser in his memory.
The DJ took to social media last week to share the heartbreaking news that his “true warrior” son Oliver had passed away at the age of 18 after a year-long battle with a rare cancer.
In a tribute to the late teenager, Graeme described his son as a “kind, loving, and beautiful soul” who “fought so hard until the very end” but was sadly taken “far too soon” when he “had so much more love to offer to this world”.
Graeme’s initial post drew in thousands of messages of love and support from the Greater Manchestermusic and entertainment community and beyond, as well as from famous name including from Vernon Kay, Sacha Lord, and DJ Paulette.
He asked fans to “bear with me” and confirmed that he will not be performing DJ sets or appearing on the radio for the time being.
Now, a week after sharing the news of Oliver’s passing, Graeme, his wife Jen, and son Ben have taken the time to thank everyone for their “wonderful and valued support” – adding that the family is “heartbroken” to have lost a son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend.
“Your messages and kind words have been well received and have offered us all some much needed strength and hope at what has been a very difficult time,” Graeme continued.
“Friends, colleagues, fans, followers and complete strangers have all been in touch in person, via phone, email and social media offering support and more, and it really has been heartwarming to read all the messages and to listen to everyone who’s called.
“Apologies if I’ve not responded to everyone, but rest assured we all really do appreciate the sentiment.
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Graeme also confirmed that, after lots of discussion following so many reaching out and asking if there’s anything they can do to help, the family has decided to set up a JustGiving page in Oliver’s memory to help raise “much needed funds and awareness” for Sarcoma UK.
Sarcoma UK is a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer, and campaigns for better treatments.
“After complaining of leg pain over a long period, Oliver was eventually diagnosed as having a malignant nerve sheath tumour that was a type of sarcoma, hence our decision to help Sarcoma UK,” Graeme explained.
Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bone and soft tissue. It is difficult to diagnose and one of the hardest to treat – “but by donating in memory of Oliver, you can help change this.”
“Your donation will help researchers find answers, keep the specialist Support Line open, and raise awareness to improve treatment and standards of care,” Graeme concluded, “Your donations go so far in helping the sarcoma community.”
Over 200 people have already donated to the JustGiving fundraiser, with the total now at £6,900 and counting by the minute.
If you’d like to support, help, or donate in memory of Oliver, you can do so here.
Featured Image – Graeme Park
Three Little Words and Seven Brothers Brewery are moving into Kampus this summer
This week, Manchester’s waterside neighbourhood Kampus has revealed that two of Manchester’s best-loved indie drinks producers will be moving in over the summer.
Manchester Gin’s bar and distillery Three Little Words will be taking over the infamous bungalow, whilst Ancoats’ favourite Seven Brothers Brewery will temporarily move into the neighbourhood’s red-brick Minshull Warehouse – previously tipped to house a new taproom from Cloudwater.
This summer, the brewery – first founded in Salford nine years ago by the McAvoy brothers – will open the doors to the warehouse serving up their popular family beers alongside a few Kampus specials.
With seating inside and out, once the warmer nights arrive drinkers can once again enjoy the Manchester neighbourhood’s canalside beer garden.
Set to open officially from the long Easter weekend, for the first time tables and chairs will be nestled throughout the giant tree ferns and palms, with visitors able to sample the delights of the impressive foodie community – including Nell’s, Pollen, Great North Pie, The Beeswing wine bar and Yum Cha.
Elsewhere, in the Bungalow popular local gin distillers and cocktail pros Three Little Words will serve up a sleek cocktail menu – all made up from their portfolio of multi-award-winning spirits from The Spirit of Manchester Distillery.
First opened in 2019 by Seb & Jen Heeley-Wiggins, the founders of Manchester Gin, luxurious cocktail bar Three Little Words has since won awards for its signature menu of innovative cocktails.
Both will kick-start on Friday 7 April, with an Easter Weekender of booze, beats and eats in store – with Nell’s Pizza also joined by guest DJs throughout the weekend.
The season is a major moment for Kampus, the first year when the neighbourhood will have a full force of eclectic independent operators fully trading.
More names are set to join too. Red Light will lift the curtain on the insta-friendly Little David Street LGTBQ+ cocktail den, with the opening date to be revealed in the coming weeks, whilst taqueria and mezcaleria Madre is currently fitting out its space ready to bring its take on Mexican goodness to Manchester.
Seb Heeley-Wiggins, Master Distiller & Co-Owner The Spirit of Manchester Distillery & Three Little Words, said: “We’ve got such a loyal following and we’ve been on the hunt for a spot where people could enjoy our cocktails in a beautiful outdoor setting … spritzes in the sunshine.
“Kampus absolutely fits that bill and will be an incredible summer posting for our team. We’ll be bringing our signature menu as well as some seasonal creations unique to Kampus.
“There’s so much going at the neighbourhood that we’ll be in good company. We’ve already got celebrations planned throughout the summer months, where we’ll be collaborating with incredible brands and creatives, and we’ve got a big surprise in store for next month. We just need a long, hot summer now.”
Keith McAvoy, CEO for Seven Brothers, said: “We’ve been big fans of Kampus for a while so we jumped at the chance to put on a summer-long party and create a new beerhouse here. The historic setting is stunning and we know we’ll create, hands down, the best beer garden in Manchester.
“We’re a family run business, born here in Greater Manchester. Our Kampus run is a fitting celebration for how far the brewery has come with the incredible support of every person who’s ever enjoyed a SEVEN BRO7HERS pint.
“We’ll be in good company with our brilliant independent neighbours and encourage everyone to come spend summer with us.”
Seven Brothers will be open Thursday to Sunday every week all summer, whilst Three Little Words will open Wednesday to Sunday.