Bah humbug! The Halloween pumpkins are still rotting on front door steps and the air is still smoky from Bonfire Night but here I am drinking a paper cup of mulled wine in a wooden chalet outside Sports Direct in Broadmead.
It may be the first week of November but the Bristol Christmas Market is well and truly open for business. Whether it’s necking festive shots in the Jäger Barn Bar, complete with clear plastic igloos, or warming up with Belgian hot chocolate at £6 a cup, for some the festive market is the early starting pistol for the prolonged run-up to Christmas.
These festive markets are not really a gourmet experience and the food and drink on offer is more about sustenance and something to warm you up on a chilly winter’s day. And, of course, it’s also an excuse to eat a huge German bratwurst sausage in a cheap white roll smothered with mustard, ketchup or both.
There are two bratwurst stalls either end of the market - they are easy to spot as they have huge towers and Christmas trees on top. The classic bratwurst is £6 but if you spend an extra £1, you can have the cheese Krakhauer - an alarmingly red-hued sausage with bacon and cheese.
Not quite what the doctor ordered, perhaps, but they are clearly popular. My meaty bratwurst was hard to fault. It was piping hot, firm, juicy and there was a pleasing snap when I bit into the tight, caramelised skin.
Over at the wooden beer cabin at the other end of Broadmead, I ordered a cold, refreshing glass of Kozel Czech lager (£5.50 a pint) and a £5 cup of mulled wine. The mulled wine was hot, spicy, sweet and very boozy. Within minutes, I had flushed cheeks and a warm glow. You certainly wouldn’t want too many of those on your lunch break before heading back to your desk for the afternoon.
Whether it’s crepes, waffles, vegan hot dogs, Yorkshire pudding wraps, hog roast baps or cheesy chips, there’s something on offer for all tastes and pockets at the Bristol Christmas Market.
But it’s not a cheap day or night out. Get too carried away after a couple of hot mulled ciders and you may find yourself spending more than you expected.
As I walked away from the market, the sound of Michael Bublé singing It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas was still ringing in my ears. It was enough to make even this most curmudgeonly Scrooge get into the festive spirit.