Henning heads to the Deutsch market
When it comes to lazy stereotyping of foriegners, the Germans probably get it worse than most and Germany’s Comedy Ambassador to Britain, Henning Wehn, has heard all the jokes about the war, the World Cup, and trains running on time during his five years on the stand-up circuit, writes Will Gore.
So what better way for him to break free of such stereotypes than by popping down to Kingston’s authentic German Christmas Market and posing for a few pictures while munching happily on a bratwurst?
Wehn, who has recently finished a stand-up tour supporting the critically acclaimed Stewart Lee, says the sausage he sampled during a trip to the market last Friday evening more than matched the ones on offer back home.
“This is even better than the bratwurst in Germany,” he says. “I bought some sausage to take away, too – I love a nice bit of black pudding. It’s great to come down to this market and get some proper German food.
“What I miss about back home is that whatever town you are in, there is at least one decent place to eat. I have just been in St Helens for a gig and, I can tell you, that it is not the case in England!”
The market has been bringing a taste of Germany to Kingston’s Market Place for the past five years and, as well trying out a barbecued bratwurst, visitors can also enjoy speciality cheeses, Black Forest ham and Haribo sweets, and then warm themselves up with a cup of mulled wine.
But the market, which runs until December 27, is not just about the grub – it also offers Christmas shoppers an alternative to department stores and chain stores with a great selection of gift stalls, housed in traditional wooden huts, open for business.
Could Wehn imagine it the other way round, with an English market opening up in Germany? “Nein,” is the firm response.
“I don’t think it would work,” he adds. “What would they be selling? Chicken tikka masala and umbrellas, probably.”
There are a number of special events and offers for visitors to the market to make the most of.
On Thursday nights there is a two-for-one offer on mulled wine and Sundays will be family day, with youngsters getting a free non-alcoholic punch with every mulled wine ordered by their parents. There will also be carol singers, face painters, jugglers and magicians.
Gordon Buller, who runs the market, says he is delighted the people of Kingston have taken the German Christmas Market to their hearts.
“I run a market stall through the rest of the year and, by October, lots of people ask me when the Christmas market is coming back,” he adds.
“People come back every year – the traditional Christmas decorations we sell are very popular but people also come for the food and the Christmas feeling.”
German Christmas Market, Market Place, Kingston, 10am to 8pm daily, until December 27, for more information, call 020 8547 5757.