Highlight on Belfast || Continental Christmas Market

Friday, 21 November 2014

There is one thing that signals the start of the Christmas season here in Northern Ireland for me and that is the Continental Christmas Market in Belfast city centre. For roughly a month, stalls of all kinds take over the grounds of Belfast City Hall and sell mouth-watering food and goods from all over the continent. Nougat and cannolis from Italy, paella, churros and burritos from Spain, crepes and pancakes from France, frankfurters from Germany, other delicacies that I can't remember, flavoured coffees, hot chocolate, enough sweets to make Willy Wonka drool and the most lip-smacking cupcakes that you can imagine. It's a foodie's dreamland. On top of all that food goodness, there are clothes, jewellery, carvings, plants, handmade journals and all manner of things for sale, plus two beer tents with legit bouncers outside. There is something for everyone all with the backdrop of Belfast City Hall.

The BFF and I sampled the cupcakes of one of the stalls. I took Red Velvet and she took Reeses Peanut Butter. Let's just say, those cupcakes died a death. Simply delicious. I will most certainly go back for more as there were plenty of flavours on offer. Plus, the same stall sold popcorn. Flavoured popcorn! 

The German Beer Tent under the watchful eye of City Hall. The tent offers up flavoured ciders and beers to its patrons. As a former customer, they are amazing. Strawberry flavour and cactus flavour being the most popular. Oh and the legendary Stein. Literally, a litre of beer in one glass.

As the day dwindled on, I was in desperate need of a recharge. The aromas from this coffee stand were too much to ignore. In recent months, I've begun to really like coffee and I had to hit up this stand. I took a Hazelnut & Coconut latte. It was delicious. The smell that came from the cup was heavenly. I could have stood and inhaled it all day. I could definitely taste the hazelnut and coffee in it and the coconut came as a little kick in the after-taste. In one word: OMG.

The atmosphere of the Continental Market is always a hive of bustling customers, friendly sellers and it can become so business that you can't even swing a cat. But that's all part and parcel of Christmas shopping, right? Regardless, it is a Mecca for Christmas shopping in Belfast. If it's not there, it's just not Christmas.

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