‘Twas a few days before Christmas and all over Bristol…Santa was found scoffing his favourite festive treats.

This being the last #FoodFriday before Christmas, there was only one person we could ask for their favourite places to eat and drink around the city…

Santa's coming to Slimbridge

Image - WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

  • Post-chimney tipple

Pata Negra

Sherry is for life, not just for Christmas. Purveyors of my favourite tipple (as well as delectable tapas), Pata Negra have an ever-evolving list of Sherries to match your mood and your food - everything from dry Manzanilla to sweet Pedro Ximenez. Eat, drink and be merry!

Paco Tapas

This place makes me one happy elf. The motto of this fantastic restaurant – recently awarded a Michelin star - is that no tapas bar is worth its salt without a carefully crafted sherry list. So, they've handpicked theirs, and offer them straight from the barrel, glass, bottle or shaken into excellent cocktails. Bah YUMbug!

6 O’Clock Gin

Yes I’m famed for liking Sherry, but few know that my real favourite is GIN. If any families out there want to treat little old Father Christmas, you can’t go wrong with Bramley & Gage’s brand new specially-crafted ‘6 O’Clock Five Year Aged Sloe Gin’ - a limited edition of 999 bottles. 

Food Friday - Santa - Sherry

Image - Sherry at Paco Tapas, credit Nick Hook

  • For mince pie-related deliciousness

Pinkmans

I’d like to find a way of transporting this sensational bakery to the North Pole. Their Christmas Sourdoughnuts (including a Ferrero Rocher flavour) are out of this world. They also do an excellent line in mince pies and chocolate bread plus a mezze style festive feast. Get in quick though, they close on 24 December at 3pm.

Swoon

The gelato from Swoon in Bristol should go on my naughty list, but it’s SO GOOD. Their festive December flavours include Mince Pie Gelato, Panettone Gelato, Clementine Sorbetto and the vegan Date, Maple Syrup and Cinnamon Gelato, and Speculoos Gelato.

Hart’s Bakery

Follow your nose to this artisan bakery working out of a Victorian railway arch at Temple Meads station in Bristol. Yule be rewarded with dreamy pastries, cakes, bread, mince pies and Stollen. Merry bloomin’ Christmas.

Pinkmans sourdoughnuts

Images - Christmas pudding Sourdoughnuts

  • Festive food

Pieminister

If you’re going to leave out a pie on Christmas Eve, may I heartily suggest one of Pieminister’s delicious Christmassy pies. Hot festive favourites include the Deer Santa pie, stuffed with venison, bacon and red wine, Mistlemoo (steak and port), The Cracker (turkey and cranberry) or Christingle (veggie parsnips, chestnut and cheese). Add a stick to enhance the pies by a Yuletide mile!  There are branches in Stokes CroftBroad Quay or St Nick’s Market) or you can order online.

Bristol’s Christmas Markets

My magical reindeer help me follow the smell of churros and bratwurst to Bristol Local Christmas Market (until 23 Dec) and Bristol’s Christmas Market (until 23 Dec) where they sell everything from sweet treats to Yorkshire pudding wraps (also available at Millennium Square’s Winter Fair). I’ll often pop into the Jägerbarn bar and beer garden for a spot of merrymaking.

St Nick’s Christmas Market (until 24 Dec)

Prepare to feel awfully festive with a trip to Bristol’s famous St Nick’s Market in the Old City. It’s a great spot to pick up quirky stocking fillers from all sorts of artisans and feast on seasonal delights – I should know! Plus it has the same name as my alter-ego, so it must be good.

Tobacco Factory Christmas Market (23 December)

The yummy treats and mulled drinks have all been prepared, harvested, cooked and made in the local area. I like to stop by and pick up some stocking fillers and a bit of mistletoe for Mrs Christmas, as Bristol choirs serenade me with carols. 

Pieminister Christmas Pie Food Friday

Image - Pieminister 

  • Winter warmers

Après Bar

It’s like being transported to alpine realms in the wonderfully wintry wood cabin Après Bar at the Winter Fair and ice rink in Millennium Square. Pop in for a post-skating mulled wine, hot cider or draft beer and cosy up under blankets before browsing the food stalls and fairground rides.

Racks Bar & Kitchen

Getting super toasty next to the crackling fire at Racks with a glass of spiced apple mulled cider or some other wintry cocktail concoction makes me feel right at home. I heartily recommend. Cheers!

Bristol Cider Shop

You can’t fail to get a twinkly festive feeling with a glass of something mulled. Bristol Cider Shop do a dazzling mulled cider – extra yummy with one of their West Country cheese toasties.

No.1 Harbourside

Head to No.1 Harbourside to give their warm Gin and Tonic a whirl. They also do hot toddy or mulled cider. Sister bar, The Old Market Assembly also has some delightful warming winter cocktails on offer too.

Xmas Tavern

Jingle all the way to the pop-up Xmas Tavern at Nailsea Electrical on Gloucester Road, open from Tuesday-Saturday until 23 December. Toast marshmallows on flickering fire pits under snuggly blankets while sipping mulled wine, cider or hot choccie.

Espensen Spirit

Much to my delight, the team at Bristol Spirit have concocted a unique cocktail called 'Bristmas Bubbles' (Espensen Spirit Ruby Cuby Rhubarb and Custard Vodka,
Morello cherry and Prosecco)! Jolly or what? I'm also a fan of their True Romance Sloe Vodka. Ever so lovely when it's cold out.

Apres Bar - Winter Fair Millennium Square - Jon Craig Photography

Image - Apres Bar, Winter Fair Millennium Square, credit Jon Craig Photography

  • Carrots for the reindeer

Better Food 

After flying around the world, my reindeer deserve the best. Independent health food store, Better Food (with branches in St. Werburghs, Wapping Wharf and Clifton) sells organic, locally-grown, ethically-sourced and Fairtrade produce. If I’m in need of a healthy pick-me-up after all those mince pies, the café serves organic home-cooked meals and snacks, fresh juices, teas and superb coffee. Cracking.

Better Food Company Bristol

Image - Better Food Company

About the author: Father Christmas, deliverer of Christmas gifts to children (and lucky adults) via chimneys around the world, is well-known for his penchant for mince pies and a nip of Sherry. Word has it Bristol is one of his favourite places to stop for festive treats on his long overnight journey around planet Earth, and who can blame him with that delicious lot?

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