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Bring the magic of the Christmas Market home

Please note: our Christmas Market is now closed, in line with the temporary closure of our London store. However, our Foodhalls remain open across all stores. 

Words: Amy Newson

Our Christmas Market may now be closed, but we're here to take you on a virtual visit to the stalls of our favourite festive foodies – bringing the delicious tastes, extraordinary sights and captivating smells of a Christmas market to your home.

The waft of mulled wine in the wintry breeze. The taste of warming spices. The proud makers who are ready to share the stories behind their creations. Yes, there’s nothing quite so festive as a Christmas market. And while our visits to bustling European markets may be off the table this year, we’re still planning to fully enjoy this age-old festive tradition.
 

So, first stop: that glass of mulled wine…

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Our first destination has to be the virtual mulled wine bar, of course. Our delicious (and so easy!) recipe has been created by our very own restaurants manager and mulled wine expert, Luís Silva – and tastes like Christmas in a cup. Forget overly sweet pre-mixed versions, this is the real deal.

LUÍS'S MULLED WINE

Ingredients:
200g caster sugar
Rind of 1 orange and juice
Rind of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 lime  
1 vanilla pod
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
6 star anise
2 bottles of fruity red wine
100ml spiced rum

 

Method:

Add sugar to 1/2 bottle of wine in a medium saucepan

Simmer and stir to dissolve sugar

Add spices and citrus peel and orange juice

Boil to a syrup

Add the remaining wine

Simmer for 5 minutes (don’t let it boil)

Add spiced rum

Serve in a heat-resistant glass or mug

Garnish with an orange twist and cinnamon stick

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Our next stop is rather special. At Selfridges we’re rather partial to our range of Selfridges Selection panettones, including the Moscato Panettone (visit us in store to browse our extensive range of panettones), which is created by the Perbellini family who have been baking Italian treats for over a hundred years in Verona, Italy. We spoke to Laura Perbellini, who runs the bakery with her father, brother and husband, to find out what makes this treat so delizioso…

 

Are Panettones really on every Italian table at Christmas?

“Since the 1700s, the Panettone has been a traditional staple on every Italian table at Christmas, or for those who don’t enjoy candied fruits, there’s the Pandoro [a plain sweet bread], too. At Perbellini, we also make an Offella d’Oro (a soft and light cake), which is our own creation. It was first made by Giovanni Battista Perbellini, in 1891, and we have kept to his recipe since – it’s our most requested cake for Christmas!”

 

Tell us about your recipes.

“We dabble with traditional recipes and have recently extended our range with some alternative products, such as the Orange and Chocolate Panettone or the Ginger, Lemon and Chocolate Panettone (which are available in store at Selfridges London). ”

 

Any fun ways to serve panettone?

“We recommend it being eaten alongside ice cream or topped with a Zabaglione sauce (a sweet Italian custard). You could also use it as a base for trifles or in a bread-and-butter pudding.”

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Now that our tastebuds have warmed up, let’s stop off and browse some festive British treats. Our expert on the matter, Alix Fauvel, who bakes her delicious treats by hand in her little bakery in Dorset (including our Selfridges Selection gingerbread and Christmas cakes, which are available in store), answered some of our burning questions – and gave us a top-secret recipe, too!

 

How do you create your delicious (and beautiful) Christmas treats each year?

“From July onwards there is a scent of mixed spice in the Dorset air (and on me). Tubs of dried fruit soaking in sherry are stacked on the shelves, waiting until they’re sufficiently plump before baking. I make gingerbread biscuits a bit later in the year. I think I’ll have hand-cut and baked around 10,000 biscuits of all shapes and sizes by the end of the season. Most of my bakes involve a painted design, which I find rather relaxing to create – and because each one is decorated by hand, no two are quite the same.”

  

What is your favourite baked treat to enjoy over the festive period?

“Stollen. I love the rich, slightly sweet dough with almonds pieces, fruit, marzipan and a hint of rum.”

ALIX’S CHRISTMAS STREUSEL CAKE

FOR THE TOPPING:
100g plain flour
100g soft brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ nutmeg, grated
75g salted butter
 
FOR THE CAKE:
100g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
100g soft brown sugar
75g salted butter, plus more for the tin
1 large egg mixed with 2 tbsp milk
200g mincemeat
50g dried cherries or cranberries
Icing sugar, to dust
Method 

Butter a loose-bottomed 20cm round tin and line with baking paper. Heat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan / gas mark 4.

 

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugar and spices. Rub in the butter to make a coarse crumble or whizz the whole lot in a food processor. Set aside until needed.

 

For the cake, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Rub in the butter until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the egg and milk. Add to the lined tin and level.

 

Spoon the mincemeat over the cake in an even layer, without disturbing the cake batter too much. Scatter the cherries/cranberries over the mincemeat, followed by the rubbly topping. Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce the heat to 170ºC (150ºC fan, gas mark 3) and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, loosely covering the cake with foil if it browns too quickly. Let it cool for half an hour before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

 

Dust the top liberally with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold, with your choice of clotted cream, brandy butter, double cream or custard.

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Imagine the tantalising smell of freshly baked gingerbread wafting through the air – isn’t it delicious? We couldn’t not dedicate one of our virtual stalls to this festive treat. And who better to talk to about decorating gingerbread than Paula Silva-Lopes, who is an icer for London’s finest biscuit-and-gingerbread makers, The Biscuiteers…

 

Why is Christmas and gingerbread the perfect combination?

“All spice is such a Christmassy flavour – it’s in lots of other Christmas foods, like mince pies and mulled wine. But the best way to enjoy it is obviously in gingerbread!”

 

Why is decorating gingerbread such a great tradition?

“Because it’s so much fun – something that’s more important than ever this Christmas when we’re all looking for festive things to do at home. You can get creative with designs and decorate gingerbread however you wish at Christmas. It’s also perfect for all ages, it’s a great date-night activity for couples, something to do with friends, or an activity to do with kids, too.”

PAULA’S GINGERBREAD ICING TIPS

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Make sure that your line icing is the same consistency of toothpaste. You can use the royal icing mix like we supply in our DIY gingerbread house kit, or you can mix icing sugar with egg whites to create your own.    

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Fill your piping bag using a spoon and tie a knot at the end. Snip off the tip of the piping bag and then pinch it – this ensures you will create that beautiful rounded line.    

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Begin by outlining the gingerbread shape before adding any detail.

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To incorporate flood icing to fill the shape, you will need to add more water to the line icing mix – the ideal consistency is just like custard. 

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For sprinkles or decorations, make sure to add these while the icing is still fairly wet.

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It’s just not Christmas without a tree (or a wreath) – so we’re swinging by the Christmas Tree Stall to grab ours. This line-up of trees has been delivered to both our virtual and IRL markets by London-based florists, Moyses Stevens. Here, Quay Tran, buyer for Moyses Stevens, fills us in on their tree of choice, its sustainable credentials and what you can do with your tree come January…

 

Tell us about your trees.

“Our tree of choice is the Nordmann fir, a variety grown extensively in Denmark. We love it for its long-lasting, non-drop needles, festive scent and bushy, conical shape that is resilient to warmer temperatures.”

 

Your Nordmann firs are sustainably sourced. Why is this important?

“The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) promote sustainable forest management across the globe and sourcing FSC-certified trees is an important part of our vision for the future. After all, we want Christmas trees to remain a part of our festive plans for many years to come, right?”

 

What can we do with our trees come January?

“You can visit your local council’s website for information on when and where you can leave your tree – it’s often in a designated area, like a local park. Alternatively, there are lots of crafty things to do with your old tree: you can strip some of the needles to make fragrant potpourri, remove the branches to create insulated shelters for frost-sensitive plants, or even cut the trunk into slices and make cool, rustic coasters!”

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Now that you have a full belly and your Christmas tree is sorted, there’s just one last stop to make… With the help of our Home Buyer, Eleanor Gregory, you can pick up all the on-trend (and earth-conscious) decs you need for your tree and home.

 

What decorations trends did you discover this year?

“It’s certainly been a year for getting creative! Oversized paper decorations, ribbons tied into bows and Christmas crackers nestled into branches are all really popular. There also continues to be a trend for dressing the entire house, from fireplace garlands to wreaths for the front door and staircase decorations. The key colours are deep midnight blue and silver, and natural woods and greens, too.”

   

How do you decide which decorations are right for Selfridges each year?

“The team spends months researching, looking at materials and colour trends, and other trends we see in interior design. A big guiding factor on what we choose to stock is sustainability; we are constantly looking at how we can improve our ranges, for example looking at packaging and longevity of products. Our reusable Christmas crackers are my favourite find this year.”

 

Do you have any tips on decorating for Christmas?

“Choose what you love and don’t worry too much about a scheme. If you love it and it makes you happy – use it! To help your home look more ‘together’, you can use an anchor colour or decoration throughout your home and just have fun with the rest.”

CHRISTMAS AT SELFRIDGES

We're here – online, on our app and via virtual appointments – to help you enjoy extraordinary festive moments that you’ll remember for years to come.