In Germany, where Christmas markets have been staged since at least the 14th century, the annual rites tend to be pretty folksy affairs. The whole village comes together for an outdoor festival with vendors selling handicrafts, plenty of warm mulled wine and lots of bratwurst, schnitzel and other German delights (for that kind of experience, check out our blogger Taraneh’s post on the traditional Vancouver Christmas Market).
Sugar, Spice and All Things Nice, the new market put on by the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel and Urban Fare, is just a little bit different. Staged at the hotel’s upscale Market Restaurant, this Christmas market is a celebration of the finer things: gourmet food, exquisite crafts and jewelry and even a classical piano performance.
The first instalment of the Shangri-La Christmas market is Sunday, Dec. 2. The outdoor patio of Market Restaurant will be filled with vendors offering one-of-a-kind crafts, original jewelry and edible delights, including plenty of items to sample, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
After you’ve worked up an appetite shopping and sampling, head into Market Restaurant for the Brunch with Benefits. This gala brunch ($45) orchestrated by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a benefit for the YouthCo AIDS Society (No word yet on the exact menu – but expect something lavish).
Just downstairs, the hotel’s Xi Shi Lounge will become the scene of a children’s afternoon tea party from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Designed for kids under 12 who want a taste of the good life, the afternoon tea features delicate little pots of macaroni and cheese, miniature beef burgers and, of course, sweet holiday treats ($24 per child).
All the action culminates in a tree-lighting ceremony inside the hotel’s lobby at 1 p.m. No ordinary tree, this year’s evergreen will be decorated with hand-crafted ornaments from local artisans and 4,000 lights. The ceremony will also feature the piano stylings of six-year-old prodigy Shuqi Li of West Vancouver, who has already performed twice at Carnegie Hall. She’ll be accompanied by a children’s choir who will lead guests through a round of Christmas carols.
If you can’t make it on Sunday, Dec. 2, the Sugar, Spice and All Things Nice Christmas Market will be held one more time on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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