Finnish Fair Church Guild Christmas Market 2011

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Finnish Fair Church Guild Christmas Market 2011

You can't get any Christmassier than a Finnish market, after all Santa – or Joulupukki to use his proper name – himself resides in a rustic Lappish kota or tent in northern Finland, not unlike the one erected outside this annual celebration at a beautiful modern church in a Rotherhithe cul-de-sac. The traditional commercial thrust is still here, you'll be glad to know, with a small entrance fee for the impromptu supermarket sweep of eye-wateringly expensive Finnish goodies, where elbows flail to secure the best imported rye breads, finest gravadlax, Fazer chocolates and strange roundels of squeaky cheese (best served with cloudberry jam).

The bustling festivities really take off in that tent, where typically blonde and woolly Scandi-servers dish up warming bowls of reindeer stew (sorry Rudolph) and what the Finns call their 'National Vegetable': an enormous, tasty pork sausage slathered in mustard and pickle, best washed down with a Lapin Kulta beer; or for rednecks-in-the-know, a delicious Karhu (the one with the bear on the label). Or fight your way upstairs to the beautifully appointed café, featuring furniture by legendary Finnish designer Alvar Aalto. A stiff cup of coffee is twinned with cinnamon buns or blueberry pastries, but there's always room for the ultimate breakfast snack of a warm Karelian rice pie with eggy butter.


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