Friday, 2 December 2011

Danish YWCA Christmas Fair in Hampstead

I now have a nearly full set of Nordic Christmas Fairs in my basket of seasonal shopping activities. The last one (I promise) was a Danish one, which was held at Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead. This is an annual occasion and seemed very popular with locals and those travelling a bit further away. My friend who had tipped me off about the event, said we needed to get in early if we wanted to have any of the Danish smörrebröd. She was right: they opened the doors at 12 noon last Sunday, and when we arrived at 15 past, there was already a queue for the 'Red Indians' at the hot dog stand outside.

Inside the rooms, housing the familiar-looking Nordic Christmas decorations, were also filling up. I could tell there was a slight difference to the style here: The Danes seemed to favour window displays above candles; the elves with red hats had broader smiles on their round faces and there were more Danish flags about. I doubt, however, that a non-Scandi would have noticed any difference to the Finnish or Swedish Christmas offerings.

Danish flags look so pretty and Christmassy.

The Danish Royal Couple 

I was very tempted with these straw pigs.
With great difficulty, I tore myself away downstairs, where the two cafes were already full to bursting. I chose some marinated herring with rye bread and an open sandwich with beautifully spiced roast beef and horseradish. The food was delicious. Together with a tin of Danish beer, the sill tasted almost  as good as anything they have in Åland. (The 'almost' is here for my mother's benefit - she marinates her own herring which wins hands down in my book.)

Although I didn't buy anything apart from lunch at the Danish YWCA Christmas Fair I recommend this venue for its good value Danish food, and the many very pretty decorations on offer. It was also lovely to listen to the Danish being spoken all around us; if I closed my eyes I could imagine hearing Lund from The Killing herself shopping for Christmas decorations (as if she'd ever be so domesticated!).

The Fair is organised every year, but if you decide to go, take my friends' advice and arrive early.

Danish Christmas Fair: Last weekend of November.
Danish YWCA
43 Maresfield Gardens
London NW3 5TF
Tel. +44 (0) 207 435 7232

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