When you head to Christmas Markets it can be a minefield finding what you can have, Manchester Markets have so much lovely gluten free stuff on offer you will be spoilt for choice.
It's been a couple of years since I went to the Manchester Christmas Markets and since I was heading to Wilmslow I decided to take the train into Manchester to have a poke around at the weekend and see what delights were on offer and I was actually pretty impressed with what was gluten free although I did start thinking to myself I should have brought some of my Coeliac travel translation cards
with me, the German, Spanish and Italian ones mostly, as some of the vendors did seem to be struggling with the language.
I'm fairly local to Manchester but don't get to go into the city all too often for retail therapy (truth be told I could go whenever I like, I just don't!) but I always enjoy walking round the city when I do go, especially when the Christmas Markets are on, it makes the city feel completely different, the way it runs all through the city is amazing, like the entire city is turned into one big market full of wonderful foods from all over Europe and amazing crafts.
Gluten free bratwurst sausages on New Cathedral Street at Witch House
We got the train into Piccadilly and walked down from there (did you know they have opend a branch of Leon next to the station? I love Leon but only ever get to go when I go London... not anymore! Anyway, thats a conversation for another day!) It was pretty quiet down from the station up until Market Street, by the Arndale, which was the first Christmas Market street we hit. After walking down there I wasn't hopefully for gluten free food, I didn't actually spot anything. However Market Street is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the market.
We headed past the Arndale and headed right round the bottom of the Arndale heading into Exchange Square. Nothing really caught my attention here. The only one I did spot was the following Tikka- Kebab Kitchen
These had some delicious looking curries, if they are traditional there is no reason the curries should contain gluten, the signs didn't mention anything about allergens so they are one definitely worth asking. They were all busy when I wandered through so couldn't ask.
From there we headed up to Cathedral Gardens and the Corn Exchange, again here I didn't spot much, I was busy sniffing the pancakes and waffles we definitely can't have, disappointingly. The only two I spotted worth a look were these:Chocolate Workshop
Hand crafted chocolates in all kinds of impressive shapes from tools to flowers and they are all so lifelike, all are gluten free. I have bought from a different outlet of theirs before and they are amazing, if they are the same as before most are also dairy free.Lauras Fudge
GF is labelled on a lot of the fudge but be careful with cross contamination off the other, ask if they have any separate, last time a lot of these fudge stalls were really good at getting fresh out.
Continental Cottage, different continental sausages on Albert Square
After I watched my other half eat a waffle we headed back past the cathedral and down New Cathedral Street, some really impressive craft stalls on here and also lots of interesting food. I did spot a fair few that had gluten free. I was getting hungry by this point and was eagerly looking at every stall for something that was gluten free and what I fancied. There was a lot more gluten free things on this streetFrench Macaroons
All macaroons are gluten free including the oreo one. Loads of delicious flavours including lemon, strawberry, chocolate, white chocolate and champagne. All contain almonds and milk. German Ham Burger
Hog roast and ham rolls. The allergen list only stated the rolls contained wheat so if you take your own bap, no reason you can't have one of these, the sign up also showed the sauces were safe too.Witch House
This is where I ende up eating, all the sausages were gluten free so have it without the bun and you're good, either eat it on its own or take your own bun, they do still charge you £4.50 though! I took my own Schar Ciabatta, slight size imbalance but it was still delicious.Eat Liquorice
One lot of gluten and sugar free liquorice on offer, check incase they use the same scoop for all though.Macaroons
Naturally gluten free and amazing coconut macaroons, they are huge, made with coconut, coconut milk and egg. We actually came looking for her as she was there a few years ago, glad she is back as those macaroons are amazing.
Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire Cheese
My bratwurst sausage on a Schar Ciabatta I brought with me from Witch House
Cheese and chutneys, all appeared to be gluten free but double check before buying.
From New Cathedral Street we headed down Exchange Street, I didn't spot anything gluten free though, eventually ended up at St Anns Square. Once again I didn't spot much, the only one that caught my eye was the stall doing chocolate covered everything. Choco King
German stall selling lots of chocolate covered items, I didn't fully check this one but as long as the chocolate is fine there is no reason you can't have the majority of what is on offer, just double check the chocolate is safe before you buy.
Onto King Street, again only one spotted but it was a good, clearly labelled one.La Cuisine Provencale
Garlic Mushrooms, provencal chicken and garlic potatoes all labelled gluten free on the big chalkboard signs. All in their own big vats away from each other and besides these three they only did one other dish which did contain gluten.
As we approached our final destination of Albert Square we headed down Brazennose Street, nothing really to mention, but...Lauras Confectionary
All pick and mix labelled with gluten free, cross contamination would be a risk though, but you could ask if they have any still in boxes in the back (or underneath)
Finally we reached the thronging Albert Square, could barely move but there was a lot of gluten free on offer here so many different stalls I am bound to have missed some it was just so busy.
Clewbecks Farmhouse Kitchen
Coconut macaroon from New Cathedral Street
Gluten free cumberland sausages and they also have buns but you do need to wait for 20 minutes for it, they also do bubble and squeak.Brooks Mill Coffee Bar
Gorgeous hot chocolate, the guy behind let me check the bottle as he wasn't sure and there was absolutely no gluten or may contain, really rich hot chocolate (beats the Cadbury one most of the other stalls were using). They were doing other drinks too but the hot chocolates were proving very popular.Sillfield Farm Foods
Fridge full of sausages to take home, all sausages gluten free, loads of varieties including cumberland, wild boar, pork, wild boar chorizo etcContinental Cottage
I didn't actually look at signs on this one, I heard the stall holder shouting "and they are all gluten free" so I doubled back, salami and other continental sausages were being advertised as gluten freeLittle Spain
Little sign on the stall said may contain for every allergen but each year this stall proves popular amongst Coeliacs so ask the staff about them, Paella seems a popular choice year in, year out. I didn't eat there myself but it did look good.N and P Events
There is actually two or three of these floating round, an Italian stall with nougat, chocolate, biscuits etc Most of the nougat is marked gluten free and all the slices had cellophane round too so less risk of cross contamination than some of the other stalls (but always be careful and ask if they have any in the back). Couple of the biscuits are gluten free too but all close to the non gluten free and same tongs used so I'd stay clear of them.Porkys of Yarms
I didn't check myself, not with the size of the queue but from what I have heard from others they can serve the hog roast without the stuffing and bap, but remember to bring your own bap, unless you want to eat the pork out of your hands.
Bavarian Swing Grill
Range of gluten free sausage to take home from Sillfields on Albert Square
As far as I could see only the buns weren't gluten free according to the allergy sign, so if you take your own bun you can get the sausage or pork steak.Naturally Nuttily
Double check this one as I only glanced as I passed, but it all appeared to be naturally glazed nuts, nothing that screamed gluten, double check before you buy though!Little Fairy House in the Dairy
Homemade jams, preserves, honeys, chutneys. I couldn't see any that contained gluten on all the jars I looked at, but double check before buying
I was actually fairly impressed by how much gluten free was on offer, some parts of the market were better than others though! it would have been nice if there was more sweet options (come on Manchester, give me waffles and crepes next year!) but I can't grumble to much at all the amazing food there is on offer, I won't turn down one of those wonderful coconut macaroons for pud!
Remember that I can't check every stall, so there may be ones I've missed! If you spot anymore, feel free to drop us a comment!