Huddersfield is not renowned for being the most cosmopolitan of places but for one weekend every year it boasts authentic delicacies from around the world.
Up to 50 specialist traders set up stalls this morning selling delicious produce from France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Morocco, as well as Indian, Lithuanian and Thai foods.
New Street, King Street, Cloth Hall Street and Market Place Square was a hubbub of activity today as office workers ditched their usual sandwiches and took their jackets off before settling down to enjoy the good weather and a lunch ranging from Catalonian meat balls to German-style hot dogs, all washed down with Polish beer.
And there were sweet treats on offer too including freshly-made delicious French crepes.
As well as plenty to eat and drink there were all manner of special gifts from the arts, crafts and jewellery stalls. Not only are there beautiful Italian silk scarves and handmade metal sculptures but also Baltic Amber jewellery which is made in Poland.
One of those enjoying the hustle and bustle of a vibrant lunchtime was bank worker Dave Howton, of Newsome.
He said: “It’s another great addition to the town centre calendar following the massive success of Huddersfield’s annual food and drink festival but I have not seen it advertised so it came as a welcome surprise when I walked through the town today. I immediately called my friend Dale and he’s coming over at 4.30pm.
“I only heard about it thanks to the Examiner. It’s almost like the council forgot about it before it turned up! It must be Huddersfield’s best-kept secret.”
One of the traders, Jaspal Bansil from Bradford, who was busy selling a selection of classical Indian food said: “It should be OK, I came two years ago and it was all right. As well as Huddersfield we visit Halifax, Leicester, Carlisle, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield and Belfast.”
Chris Cotton, Kirklees’s markets manager, admitted that compared to Huddersfield’s food festival in August which “takes care of itself” in terms of publicity, this particular one was less established but he said it was an excellent companion to it with every stallholder an authentic example of the country’s cuisine.
He said: “This is the biggest one we have had apart from 1996! Looking towards the weekend I think we will be mobbed especially as the weather is set to be fair.
“The joy of this festival is that there are a lot of things that are not normally on sale in the town.”
Clr Peter McBride, joint cabinet member for economy, said: “Huddersfield has a history of hosting great food events, with the food and drink festival being a highlight of the summer calendar. I am sure that this event will be equally popular – and I hope it will be the first of many similar events in our town centres.”
Clr Naheed Mather, joint cabinet member responsible for economy, said: “I am delighted that Marketplace have selected Huddersfield to host one of their international markets, this four day event will bring a real buzz to the town and I am sure it will attract lots of people looking for a day out with a difference.”
The market is open on Thursday to Saturday from 9am until 6pm and Sunday 10am until 5pm.