I’m a creature of habit and love traditions. Every year I visit Gosforth Racecourse for Living North magazine’s Christmas Fair, which has been running for 10 years now, which for me heralds the start of the festive season. Running from the 5th until the 8th November, there are over 260 exhibitors there selling everything from scarves to festive grub. I must admit, the big draw is the food for me. I love wandering round getting ideas for foodie gifts for the family.
This year I took along my Brazilian sister-in-law and nieces for their first taste of an English Christmas. I was so excited to see their response to all the decorations and samples on offer. The one thing I seem to forget every year is how hot it gets amongst the exhibitors, and especially so with my baby bump. My memory also glazes over how impatient I can be when people dawdle and chatter on, especially as the walkways between stands seems so cramped.
The downstairs main area is always packed, and this year was no different. A lot of familiar faces were there from previous years like Greentea Treasures and Dough It Yourself, alongside large companies like Fentimans and hotels such as Hotel du Vin. We made a beeline for the Tipi to have a hot chocolate while watching some of the chef demonstrations. This year Danny Parker from House of Tides will be teaching people a thing or two, alongside Richard Burr from Great British Bake Off and local foodie Maunika Gowardhan.
It was lovely to see Bev from North Chocolates, and I picked up some Reindeer Poo and Candy Cane Chocolate for the girls to put in their stockings. I also spent a ridiculous amount of money on Stateside Treat Emporium Chocolate for Jnr, who delights in their unusual flavour combinations. I’m looking forward to stealing some of the Red Velvet in Milk Chocolate, which sounds delicious. I had to buy several packs of Dough It Yourself, which are so quick to assemble even Jnr doesn’t object. At £5 for a pack of bases and a tub of sauce, it’s cheaper than the supermarket ones. I also spent so much money on cakes and pies that inevitably never make it to the car park!
Favourites of North East Family Fun The Lakes Distillery were exhibiting, but in my current condition I couldn’t partake in a snifter. Maybe next year! It was good to see Northumbrian Smokehouse and the Northumberland Cheese Company there, and super busy when I popped by. I had to pick up some bits and pieces, although now I’m the only cheese eater in the house I’m being forced to eat this all on my own. Terrible!
On a non-foodie note, I couldn’t resist buying some baby bits and pieces while there. All Things Wool had the most adorable shoes (£14) for the Canny Food baby. As I don’t know what ‘flavour’ it is yet, I chose a teal green that could be unisex. I purchased the obligatory new Christmas bauble, a tradition that has carried through many years. This year I bought two, and allowed my nieces to choose. They may not go with the rest of the tree, but I can be less Monica about everything matching to make two little girls happy 🙂 I also picked up some Geordie related presents as a giggle from Wotmalike, but feel the nuances of our dialect may be lost on my South American family. I’m trying to indoctrinate them, albeit slowly.
I feel the event is expensive at £8 each for an adult ticket. I was thankful to be gifted mine by a friend. I appreciate a lot of planning and promotion goes into this every year, and local charities like St. Oswalds Hospice benefit from the ticket sales. However given the price the exhibitors also pay it means the offers they have over the course of the Fair aren’t always that bargainous. My purse was significantly lighter which, after the recent house move, Mr. Canny may not be so happy about!
Let me know if you’re visited this year and your highlights.
Thanks for reading,