Who’s coming?

VH Xmas Pantry pic

So here it is, the final list of stalls at The Pantry Christmas Market!

As usual, there’s a mixture of old friends and exciting newcomers – not to mention some stallholders who are certainly both. You should recognise a few familiar Piddington faces among people who are taking a stall for the first time.

I hope to feature at least some of these in more detail over the coming week, but for now, in alphabetical order, we have …

Zena Ashdown: A firm favourite at The Pantry, Zena offers a fantastically affordable range of gorgeous handbags and baskets

The Beer Stall: Local ales from Oxfordshire Ales, Vale Brewery Co. and XT Brewing Co. Tasters are of course available, served enthusiastically by the ace team of Ian and Andrew. Why not choose from our selection and make up your own mixed case of ales – for yourself or as a gift?

Jennie Bosher: Cushions, knitted toys, cot blankets and more

Kathy Chalk: Individually designed decorative glass pieces. Offering unique gifts and decorations, Kathy’s stall was very popular last Christmas

Christmas Lights: Assorted lights to make your home sparkle

Debbie’s Home Cooked Food: Another very popular stallholder at The Pantry, Debbie produces ‘proper’ home-cooked food using local ingredients. If you’d like to order in advance to collect at the market, Debbie is happy for you to contact her on 01296 770196 or 07966 148130 or email debbiesfood@outlook.com. Her website shows what is available

Event and Party Essentials: Lots of great Christmas gifts and stocking fillers, plus ideas to make your party go with a bang (or a bong – ask at the stall!). Lynda has supported village events and initiatives for many years, so do come along and support her own brand new venture – and add some fun to your Christmas preparations too

Forever Living: Range of aloe vera products, including Christmas hampers

Horton Accessories: Chris will once again be offering his range of fine-quality accessories for ladies, gentlemen and the home – you may find the ideal gift for that chap who is so difficult to buy for!

The Piddington Bakers: This village community stall selling delicious homemade cakes and bakes needs no introduction. Go on, treat yourself! All profits are in aid of St Nicholas’ Church fabric fund

Alex Simmons: A first-timer as a stallholder at The Pantry and a resident of Piddington, Alex is selling a hand-picked range of beautiful and eclectic home accessories and gifts, from ceramic tea light holders to reindeer hides

Liz Tagert: Another Piddington villager and first-timer at our market, Liz will be offering household goods, including kitchen wares, ceramic storage jars and lanterns

Waddesdon Deli Company: It’s hard to imagine The Pantry without Sandy and her stall packed with delicious home cured and smoked produce, cheeses and more. If you sample some of her products, it’s guaranteed you’ll want to take them home with you!

Richard Walker Photography: A newcomer to The Pantry, Richard is a photographer who will be selling mounted and framed prints, cards and calendars featuring his work. Richard is married to …

Jenni Walker (The Hat Hire Company): Another very popular stallholder at The Pantry, who’ll be bringing her collection of seasonal fashion accessories and contemporary jewellery

Toys: Lots of children’s toys at bargain prices, including plenty of stocking fillers

As well as all these stalls you’ll find …

The Pantry Raffle

Fantastic prizes include:

  • a round of golf for four plus spa session at Bicester Golf Club
  • a ladies handbag from Zena Ashdown
  • a car valet worth £17
  • a Christmas hamper
  • six bottles of local ale
  • a bottle of vodka

Make sure you buy a ticket!

 

The General Store

General store collage

All your favourites, including products from Just Biscuits, Little Shop of Cheese, Cornfield Bakery, Jim and Jules (including a new batch of Piddington Christmas Chutney made from Piddington apples!), Rosemary’s Hedgerow Jams, Littlecote Soap Co., Jacobs Field Lavender and more. There’ll be lots of special offers and Christmassy gift packs of toiletries and foodie delights. And once again we’ll be offering ‘A Piddington Pair’ – a jar of Piddington Christmas Chutney paired with a jar of Rosemary’s Hedgerow Jam in a ready labelled gift bag – which proved so popular last year. Or why not make up your own hamper from the tempting array of goods on offer?

And last but certainly not least …

The Coffee Shop

Coffee shop collage 1

Homemade cakes from the Piddington Bakers, croissants and pain-au-chocolat from the Cornfield Bakery, legendary bacon and mushroom baps and now the SUPERBAP (it’s even BIGGER, with THREE rashers of bacon in a whole ciabatta!), hot chocolate with marshmallows and more, all served up with frightening efficiency by the dazzling duo of Maggie and Karen and a crack team of volunteers

By the way, all the images in this post are taken from various Pantry markets over the years. If you appear in one of them and would prefer not to, please email me at hazel@piddingtonvillageoxfordshire.org.uk and I’ll make sure your photo is removed.

 

 

 

Stir Up Sunday

I almost forgot – it’s Stir Up Sunday today, the traditional day to start your Christmas baking.

St Nicholas Pudding, mentioned in the previous post, sounds like a lighter alternative to the rich dark puddings disliked by quite a few people these days. But if you’re a fan of the traditional pud, here’s a recipe for Christmas pudding soaked in English Ale. And, note, it doesn’t really have to be Theakstons ale. Try a dark winter ale from one of our local breweries – you may find the perfect one at The Pantry!

pud

Feast of St Nicholas

stnich2

I wonder how many people have spotted that the day of the Pantry Christmas Market, 6 December, is also St Nicholas’ Day, or the Feast of St Nicholas. The historical 4th-century bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey), St Nicholas, had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself a corruption of ‘Saint Nikolaos’. His Feast Day on 6 December is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe, and there are many traditions associated with it. For example, in the Netherlands children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint’s horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts, and in France a little donkey carries baskets filled with children’s gifts, biscuits and sweets.

St Nicholas is also the patron saint of bakers. I was particularly delighted to discover this because our lovely church in Piddington is dedicated to St Nicholas and, as you’ll know if you are a Pantry regular, one of our most popular stalls is The Piddington Bakers, the cake stall run to raise funds for the church fabric fund. The standard of baking is very high in Piddington, and has been for many years, so it is particularly appropriate for our village that bakers should rate a special mention on this date.

st nicholas cookies

Many traditional food items are associated with St Nicholas across Europe, including Dutch and German spiced cookies and cakes. You can find recipes for some of them here. But here’s an ancient English recipe for a light fruity fresh plum pudding, which probably originated as part of the ‘Boy Bishop Celebrations’ that were held on St Nicholas Day during the Middle Ages: St Nicholas Pudding.

I’ll post very soon to let you know which stallholders are coming to the market – there are a lot of them this time, and we’re having to be very creative with how we use our available space!