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6 Christmas markets to visit in Europe

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas with the traditional European markets opening from mid November. The chalet style wooden stalls selling gifts and edible goodies, perhaps with the addition of ice skating rinks and carol singers, put the magic into the festive season. Here’s Chopstix pick of the best.

Prague Christmas market - credit Prague Tourism

Prague Christmas market credit: Prague Tourism

Prague, Czech Republic

Held, appropriately enough, in Wenceslas Square as well as the Old Town Square, a fairytale backdrop for the stalls selling local handicrafts such as Christmas decorations, carved wooden toys and glasswork. Treats included trdelniks (a distinctive looking dough rolled around a stick then grilled and coated with sugar), barbecued sausages and hot honey wine as well as Czech beer. A highlight is the nativity scene in the Old Town Square featuring live animals where children can stroke sheep and a donkey.

November 30th 2019 – January 6th 2020

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg is known for making gingerbread so you can literally smell Christmas when you visit here (along with roasted almonds, gluhwein and rum punch). Possibly the most famous of all the markets, the Christkindlesmarkt here has been going since the 16th century and now spills throughout the charming medieval streets selling arts and crafts from the region. Take a ride around the market on a horse drawn, bright yellow stagecoach. Nuremberg is also well known for its bratwurst so you can sustain yourself with grilled sausages served with sauerkraut or potato salad or both.

November 29th  – December 24th 2019

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Plaisirs d'Hiver - Winterpret - Winter Wonders_EDAN0296_© visit.brussels - Eric Danhier

Brussels Christmas market © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

Belgium’s biggest Christmas market covers various squares throughout the city centre with some 200 stalls as part of its Winter Wonders festival. It also features a giant Christmas tree and sound and light show at the stunning Grand Place, an ice skating rink at Place de la Monnaie and traditional fairground rides such as a carousel and huge ferris wheel as well as choirs singing at the Black Tower. There’s plenty of Belgian grastronomy to sample too including warming waffles and hot chocolate of course.

November 29th 2019 – January 5th 2020

Vienna, Austria

Elegant Vienna has Christmas market stalls sprawling throughout its pretty squares with the biggest and most colourful outside the town hall (Rathausplatz). As well as Christmas gifts and decorations to buy expect sweet treats such as pastries and doughnuts, roasted chestnuts and confectionary to feast on and plenty of hot punch as you listen to the carol singers. In the adjacent park the trees are draped with lights and a 3,000 metre squared ice rink is in place. For the little ones there’s a reindeer train and sleigh rides.

Dates vary for each market, the Rathausplatz is November 15th – December 26th 2019 and the ice rink is open until January 6th 2020 (closed December 31st.)

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Tivoli Pla-ªnenburg_Karussel_01_2015_Anders_B-ggild_Low_RGB

Copenhagen Tivoli Gardens Christmas market Anders B ggild

Copenhagen is another city that goes large on the festive period and is home to several Christmas markets. The best is considered to be at Tivoli Gardens, not hard to imagine when you consider this picture perfect Victoriana amusement park which is lit up after dark inspired both Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney. As well as the usual rides expect countless fairy lights, snow covered trees, and Santa’s reindeer. Better still, among the decorated wooden huts, there are Scandi-chic gifts to buy plus honey cake and mulled wine.

November 16th – December 22nd 2019

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg in the Alsace bills itself as “the capital of Christmas” and has the oldest Christmas market in France. Held over several locations including beneath the striking cathedral, it goes all out with over 300 stalls, a huge Christmas tree and shows and concerts. The area is also known for vin chaud and Bredele cake – biscuits that are traditionally baked at Christmas. They come in different shapes and flavours such as almond, orange or cinnamon and are given as gifts or even used to as tree decorations.

22nd Nov – December 30th (closed December 25th) 2019

A version of this story was originally published in the Robb Report Singapore

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Chopstix Loves…

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Sofia footstool, £595, Soho Home

This delectable velvet footstool by Soho Home reminds us quite fittingly of a pumpkin.

Seen in Soho Houses around the world, the Sofia footstool is now available to buy as part of the House Favourites range:

www.sohohome.com

 

Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Bear

The Rugby World Cup 2019 semi finals kick off in Japan tomorrow: England v New Zealand on Saturday followed by Wales v South Africa on Sunday. Make sure you don’t miss kick off with one of these cute Kicker Bear watches by Polo Ralph Lauren ($1,850). Sorry Springboks fans there doesn’t seem to be an SA version, or perhaps you’ve bought them already.

http://www.ralphlauren.com/men-accessories-watches?prefn1=brand&prefv1=Polo%20Ralph%20Lauren&webcat=men%7Caccessories%7CWatches%20%26%20Straps

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Bear with us for the Rugby World Cup in Japan

Ralph Lauren Polo Bear Japan .png

Cheer on your team at the Rugby World Cup 2019 in this adorable Ralph Lauren Polo Bear rugby shirt. Take your pick from the host nation Japan, Australia, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales.

http://www.ralphlauren.co.uk/en/men/inspiration/rugby-shirts-of-the-world/10508?webcat=men%7Cfeatures%7CRugby%20Shirts%20of%20the%20World

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Dine like Downton with the Best Silverware Brands

Downton table

The dining table at Downton Abbey set with silverware

“But can’t we choose what silver to put on our table?” Lady Mary asks Barrow the head butler when faced with the Crawley’s vast array of silverware at ahead of  the royal visit in the film of Downton Abbey. Not to give too much away, Barrow suggests that the King and Queen’s staff will make the decision and only then will the pieces be given a “final polish”.

For those who haven’t inherited the family silver and are not faced with the dazzling choice of the Lord Grantham’s collection, most start off with a canteen of cutlery made up of forks, knives and spoons for six to eight people. Whether you choose silver plate (a silver coating on metal) or the more costly sterling silver (at least 92.5 per cent silver) once invested you – or your staff – will need to take care of it.

Lady Carnarvon the current chatelaine of Highclere Castle where Downton is filmed says it takes over an hour for three people to set the table for 14 guests – and of course silverware must be washed by hand, never put in the dishwasher, and then polished. Here’s our pick of the best silver brands.

We've been expecting you

Arthur Price

This English brand has been making silver plate cutlery and tableware for over 100 years. Founder Arthur Price designed the cutlery for Titanic’s first class dining room. Consequently the company was approached to remake the collection for the blockbuster James Cameron film. The range, spanning tea spoons to a 124 piece canteen, is now available to buy. Arthur Price cutlery is currently used by both Queen Elizabeth 2nd and Prince Charles’ households. The brand’s extensive tableware includes place mats, grape scissors, condiment sets and candleholders. And collaborations with designers Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Sophie Conran offer a more contemporary take on flatware.

Carrs Silver

Coburg

All Carrs Silver products are made in Sheffield, the British city renowned for cutlery making. In fact Clare Smyth, the chef who catered Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding reception, commissioned Carrs to create the flatware for her London restaurant. The brand’s most popular cutlery collections are Coburg a richly decorated style and the plainer more contemporary Old English. Cutlery can be personalised with crests, monograms and gold embellishment.

Their sterling silver decanters and wine bottle coasters are also hugely popular. Carrs will launch three new flatware styles at their Harrods concession this summer.

Carrs BOCS_5-SS.jpg

Christofle

Christofle

Parisian silversmith Christofle was founded in 1830 and by 1851 had created a table centrepiece for Napolean 3rd. The house has a large selection of cutlery patterns as well as table accessories such as caviar sets, salt and pepper shakers and gravy boats. Christofle uses traditional French silver craftsmanship in surprisingly contemporary and innovative designs. For example, Mood is a strikingly modern take on the traditional canteen of cutlery comprising a silver plated set of flatware housed in an egg shaped silver container. Karl Lagerfeld’s limited edition version of Mood is an Art Deco inspired black “egg” decorated with a graphic design and stamped with Lagerfeld’s silhouette. Only 1,500 have been created.

Georg Jensen

Georg jensen

The late Danish designer Georg Jensen is seen as one of the world’s greatest silversmiths, inspiring subsequent generations of artisans. Founded in 1904, his eponymous company holds a Danish royal warrant. The designer’s most popular tableware piece is the Grape Bowl costing between £4,000 and £15,000 depending on size. This iconic item was designed by Georg Jensen himself and made his name as a silversmith. Art Nouveau, inspired by the curved lines of nature, was a major influence for Jensen. As such the brand’s best selling flatware is the Art Nouveau style Blossom. The sterling silver range spans salt spoons to soup serving ladles. Each year the brand re-introduces a piece from the archives. This year they’ve launched the Tureen 270 which was originally created as a one off 100 years ago.

Tiffany & Co

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Tiffany & Co set new standards for silver craftsmanship in the US. In the 1860s Tiffany introduced an “American style” that was more simple than the ornate Victorian designs popular in Europe at the time. Today the brand boasts an extensive selection of sterling silver tableware and flatware. Five piece cutlery sets are available in a vast array of styles. Individual cutlery pieces and corresponding utensils including cheese knives, cake slicers and serving utensils can also be purchased to top up your collection. In addition there’s the Elsa Peretti designed Padova, a modernist collection of flatware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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