Thursday, 6 December 2007

Frankfurt Christmas Market - in Brum!

This evening we went to what is billed 'the largest authentic market outside of Germany and Austria' and is to be found this month until the 23rd in the centre of Birmingham. It's not so bizarre as you might first think - after all, Birmingham is twinned with Frankfurt am Maine - but it is slightly incongruous when you first hear Bratwurst being ordered in a brummie accent.

The market has over ninety open-air stalls, selling everything from wooden toys to lacework, candles to glassware. And of course warming Glühwein or frothing Weizenbier to wash down the Pretzels mit Käse and garlic bread (Knobibrot - served from inside a giant make-shift garlic bulb!).

The market was busy, despite the weather, and the stalls spilled their coloured lights into the rainy night whilst people enthusiastically tried new foods, or inspected traditional German craftwork. The wintertide smells of roasting chestnuts, freshly backed gingerbread, and sacks of cinnamony spices mingled with the fairground odours of candyfloss and waffles. Catched snippets of the stall-holders speaking German mingled with the chatter of excited Brummie children gazing wide-eyed at stalls laden with chocolate. I bought a large stollen cake, which looked like it had about 10,000 calories in it, and we had a couple of cups of scalding hot Glühwein and Kirschwein.

Perhaps the market wasn't exactly the same as a traditional German Weihnachtsmarkt, but with your eyes half-closed and a sprinkling of wishful thinking, you could almost think you were in Köln or Berlin (vielleicht!).

Just, with a nasal Black Country accent.

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