The Yorkshire Scandinavian Christmas market that once sold pate handmade in a pastor's bathtub
These days, there’s no baths involved but that Danish liver pate remains one of the many products available at East Yorkshire’s Scandinavian Christmas Market.
The market is set to return on November 25 at the Danish Church in Hull. Organised by the church and its partner organisation, the Nordic House cultural centre, it attracts visitors from across the North.
This year, organisers say they are building up the market with more space and extended opening hours as it continues to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the market, which dates back to the 1960s, has not yet returned to a two-day event – and organisers say the effect of Brexit is to blame.
Dorthe Hostick, chair of the social fund at the Danish Church, says: “It is stressful and hard work but we love working together to make it happen. The preparations start at the beginning of the year, but it has become so much more difficult because of Brexit.
“We can still get most of the things that people want to buy but everything is more complicated. Before Brexit we could just order what we wanted and it all came on a pallet from Denmark just a few days later. Now it takes longer and it costs more because of import duty and clearance.”
Dorthe moved to Hull in 1977 and attended the market for the first time the following year. She has been a regular ever since and is one of around 30 volunteers who support Charlotte Theill – manager of Danish Church and Nordic House – in staging the event.
“Since the first Danish Church was consecrated in Hull in 1871 it has become an integral part of the city,” Charlotte says. “The original building was flattened in an air raid in 1941 so the community built our current home, which features some items rescued from the rubble. We’ll celebrate the 70th anniversary of this building next year, but for now it’s all about the market.
“It was first held in 1966 and before Covid we attracted about 1,200 people over two days. We had to miss 2020 but the numbers are picking up now. We’ll be selling Danish produce – chocolates, herring, pickles, gifts, decorations, Danish books, all sorts of quirky things.
"You can’t find them anywhere else in the local area and that makes them extra special. There has always been high demand for Scandinavian design. People also come for the occasion – the hygge, a Danish word which generally means cosy comfort and hospitality.
"We’ll have a pop-up café serving open sandwiches of salmon, prawns and herring and also that home-made liver pate prepared by Danes to their secret recipe – but no longer using a bath tub.”
The Scandinavian Christmas Market will take place on Saturday, November 25 from 10am until 4pm at the Danish Church in Osborne Street, Hull. Admission is £1.50, which includes Danish mulled wine and a festive biscuit, subject to availability.