I’m not one to go crazy for Christmas, but spending the holidays in Edinburgh helped to reignite my Christmas spirit. Seeing the ice skating rinks, Christmas markets, and decorations along Princes Street Gardens, St Andrew Square, and throughout the city, had me feeling all warm and merry. Or maybe it was all the mulled wine?
What I’ve been up to
I’d never been to a European Christmas market, so Edinburgh’s markets were a complete novelty to me, and I spent plenty of time perusing the stalls, indulging in sweet treats, and drinking copious amounts of mulled cider.
My favourite parts of the Christmas markets were the bothy – a stack of shipping crates-turned-bar, with two stories and a balcony that provided a lovely view of Princes Street Gardens and the markets below – and the carousel bar. And all of the food, of course.
I had drinks at The Dome – a swanky restaurant and bar on George Street. At Christmas, The Dome becomes a bit of an attraction thanks to its grand, ornate decorations, including a massive Christmas tree in the centre of the bar area.
Edinburgh has been at the top of my New Year’s Eve bucket list for a while, and I was ecstatic to be ringing in the new year here. Hogmanay celebrations started on December 30th with the torchlight procession – Shetland vikings and pipe bands leading a crowd of 10,000 torchbearers throughout the city centre, with a finale of fireworks at the top of Calton Hill.
On December 31st, I joined 75,000 other revellers at the street party, ambling through the crowds, stopping at various stages with live music or DJ’s, and then watched a spectacular fireworks show over the castle at midnight. I’m not exaggerating when I say the fireworks were some of the best I’ve ever seen.
This month was all about the Christmas markets, and these were my best food finds:
The market in St Andrew Square featured stalls with Scottish food, and the locally caught seafood from Alanda’s was my favourite. Their lobster roll and grilled prawn skewer were both delicious – albeit
grossly slightly overpriced.
Mimi’s had a stall with their signature sweets and cakes, but I visited a few times for their flavoured hot chocolate. I tried two of the dozen or so flavours on offer: Nutella and coconut.
Waffles with vanilla cream sauce and sour cherries, churros smothered in Nutella, and homemade marshmallows coated in chocolate and desiccated coconut were the highlights from my Christmas market sugar binge.
A generous serving of hot and creamy raclette – with its distinct sweet and nutty flavours, melted atop a slice of fresh, French bread was easily the best thing I ate at the Christmas markets.
How did you celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2015?