Continental Sheffield

An excellent surprise today, a routine trip to collect my new glasses turned into a mega shopping trip – the Continental Market was in town! (Well the Queen did tell us Sheffield was now closer to Paris when she opened St Pancras this week – I didn’t realise how close!).

There were cheese stalls, bakers, creperies, traders selling hats and scarves, Morecambe Bay shrimps(!), sweets, gingerbread houses, German sausages, flowers, plants, Christmas trees (bit early!), olives, dried fruit, piles of garlic, fruit and vegetables, leather goods and a grumpy Yorkshireman complaining “They’re tekin some reet money” every time his wife looked at anything. Fortunately for me, Mr TLC is not a grumpy Yorkshireman at times like these – he is much too busy buying all the cheese in the world. However the grumpy Yorkshireman is right – it is fairly pricey on the food stalls, but on the other hand the food is fantastic – and I can kid myself that I’ve been to one of those marvellous French markets without the expense of a ferry/train to France!

I got the chance to practise my awful French, although this did backfire when the very nice guy on one French bakery’s stall failed to understand me before saying “I’m sorry I don’t speak French”. Which wasn’t too surprising, because he was from Poland.

There were also buskers playing which added to the festive feel. I love this kind of shopping. The city centre is alive – the total opposite of the sanitised, chain store blandness of the out-of-town “shoppertunity” offered by Meadowhall (aka Meadowhell). The development and location of markets seems to be a contentious topic for our local council – I hope they take note of the popularity and success of the specialist markets on Fargate and reconsider relocating The Moor market there during the current redevolpment -after all the ‘normal’ and ‘continental’ markets operate on the same streets in Chesterfield without any major problems. Vive le marchĂ©!

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