Confession: I am huge Christmas dork. I am one of those people who becomes instantly cheery at the mention of things like Christmas craft markets, ugly sweater parties, and holiday baking. Cheery until January 2, when nothing but my stretchy pants fit. Until then, I’ll continue to eat a nanaimo bar with every meal of the day. Because, ’tis the season, right?
My child-like joy for Christmas officially began last weekend, when Matt and I visited the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District. 2016 marked the 5th year we’ve visited, and there are many reasons why this has become one of our favourite holiday traditions.
Reason #1 – carbs, carbs, everywhere
We started out our walk around the market with a sandwich, which is how Matt and I usually begin our outings. I didn’t snap a picture since my hands were freezing (and because we ate it so quickly), but we tried out a ham and cheese croissant sandwich at Cluny Bistro. You really can’t go wrong with meat and cheese on a butter-based carb. This cafe also has some tasty looking macarons and other Parisian treats. It’s definitely worth a stop here before you walk around the market.
Even if we hadn’t stopped at the Café, we definitely wouldn’t have gone hungry. Street vendors sell pretty much every kind of indulgence here – from giant pretzels, to fudge, to chocolate dipped bacon.
Reason #2 – mulled wine and other fun beverages
The Toronto Christmas Market introduced me to the joys of mulled wine 5 years ago, and it continues to bring me happiness at this time of year. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what goes into mulled wine besides red wine, but what I do know is that it is delicious, and it keeps my hands warm. So while I frowned at the $8.50 price tag for a cup this year, I knew that it would be worth it.
Walking around the market, Matt and I eventually came across one of the two highly enjoyable outdoor liquor sampling areas, complete with heaters and fire pits. As I do every year, I giddily approached the Two Oceans wine sampling booth. One of the staff members said, “have you tried our wines before?” To which I replied without hesitation, “No.” If I was Pinocchio, my nose would have been about 3 feet long at this point.
The samples alone will make even the Christmas Scrooges and Grinches out there get in the spirit!
Reason # 3 – Christmas themed photo opportunities
I love a good opportunity to ham it up, and the Hershey’s photo booth at this year’s market provided the perfect opportunity to do just that. And afterwards, we got a chocolate. Fun!
Reason #4 – Christmas shopping
While I was happily sipping away on my wine samples, Matt had turned around and made a bee-line for the Kozlik’s Mustard booth. The last time Matt came across a Kozlik’s mustard booth was at the St. Lawrence Market, and he was dipping various meats and pretzels in mustards for a good 20 minutes. Not even exaggerating. Turns out, he’s on to something.
These mustards are delicious. Even if you think you don’t like mustard, trust me, if the same staff member is there when you go, you will purchase ALL of the mustards. He mentioned so many usage scenarios for mustard that I had never thought of:
- They make great hostess gifts
- They are great on roasted pork, chicken, and sausage
- They are amazing in salad dressings
Sold. We bought 4 different kinds. Sometimes, Matt and I are like pigeons walking around with our wallets out, just waiting for someone to sell us something.
Since we spent all of our money on mustard and mulled wine, the rest of our time was spent window shopping. But, if I went back, I would definitely purchase some Christmas gifts here. There are some really unique stores, where you can find some different gifts for those people that have everything. Need a set of organic toothpaste? You can buy that here. High-end makeup for your bestie? I saw that too. One day I’ll buy something I can’t eat! But in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the store windows with a snack in hand.
Reason #5 – the giant tree
In my opinion, this tree is Toronto’s version of the Rockefeller Center tree. It always makes me feel super Christmasy.
The Toronto Christmas Market is on until December 22nd.