Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Tis The Season for Bratwurst
Halt. Put down that turkey. Don't eye up that goose. Tis not the season for basting birds, but the time for pigging out on porkies. For just outside the Tate Modern, you will find a German Market featuring seventy traditional wooden chalets, where you can shop for unique handmade gifts, unusual Christmas presents, and of course bratwurst.
And of course, what could be wurst (sorry) than not having a beer to wash it all down with? You have the choice of a bar or a rustic pop-up pub, where you can sit down. It also serves mulled wine.
Of course, there's more than just German sausages; there's all sorts of guilty pleasure street food to chow down on, from hog roasts, salmon, pizza, and churros. The value varies between each stall, so while I thought the grilled salmon dishes were reasonable, the pizza was way overpriced at £4 a slice. Granted, they are big slices, but still. At that price, you might as well buy a whole pizza for £18. You can always share it with friends or take it home for later.
For those looking towards the sweeter side of life, grab a cinnamon roll, iced bun or slice of strudel.
Or perhaps you want something that won't leave you with sticky fingers while shopping. In that case sweeties are abound. From the much loved pick-a-mix stall to special treats. Over at The Nut House you can try nuts coated in chocolate, sugar, yoghurt, chilli, and caramel. They also have nougat and giant marzipan logs.
Next door Liquorice World have your common sweeties, such as Allsorts, Pontefract cakes, Sherbet Dips, and Catherine Wheels, but also lots of other things, like raw liquorice root, gourmet chocolate coated liquorice balls, and tutti-frutti liquorice candy sticks.
I'm not all that bothered about marshmallows in general, but Shoko Kusse are a far departure from the sugary pink and white sweets you get from the supermarket. For £1 you can have a giant white marshmallow coated in a range of different flavoured chocolates - strawberry, gingerbread, mint, cappuccino, etc.
For those trying to be healthy, freshly roasted chestnuts hardly seems like a compromise at all.
But what if you're not hungry? Well don't walk away just yet, because there is plenty more to see. The small Hungarian company, Uni-G craft decorative but functional glassware. Their olive oil bottles, in particular, are very cleverly designed.
Departing from food entirely, my favourite stall in the entire market was a lady selling handmade jewellery. Each piece had a beautiful gemstone inset into bronze. Gold and silver may be a more expensive and sought after precious metal, but I actually thought this woman's bronze rings were far more beautiful. I loved the way she moulded the metal around the stone.
Less high end, but more personal, was a stall where you could make your own charm bracelet. There were lots of different coloured cords to choose from, and an abundance of ceramic (or similar) charms to attach to it.
Fashion continued to reign the market, with stalls selling things like London print themed tote bags, knitted scarves, and beautiful ponchos made in Peru. Knitted out of mohair or alpaca (my memory fails me), there were also smaller items such as socks and fingerless gloves for £10. Given how expensive mohair and alpaca are, I thought it was incredible value.
In the crafts department, some of the stallholders had adorable nic-nacs and home decorations, such as owl cushions, owl backpacks, monkeys, teddy bears, and rabbits jumping out of a carrot.
If anyone watches Dragon's Den, you might remember the episode featuring Pants on Fire, invested in by Peter Jones. Pants on Fire is an award-winning game-board company formed by Stuart McKenzie Walker and Richard McLuckie. Their games may be new, but they feel like complete classics. My favourite was Marmite - Love it or Hate it, in which you spin a wheel with the options 'Love it', 'Hate it', or 'Unique'. You then pick a card that might say 'packet of crisps'. If the arrow lands on 'Love it', you have to write down your three favourite crisp flavours, while everyone else has to write down what they think your answer will be. It is a test to see how well you know your friends and family.
The last stall that won me over had the magical idea of transforming an old children's cheap plastic toy into a bespoke item. We all loved Kaleidoscopes when we were kids; you look through a telescopic peephole to see geometric patterns twist and turn in spectacular colours. Here is an adult version (no, not that kind of adult). The stall holder made them look like a steam punk item, fitting in with a collection of naval objects, such as telescopes, compasses, and timepieces.