MARKETS and festive food are two things that signal Christmas time to many.

So the team at Bents Garden and Home must have known they were onto a winner with the Winter Food Market which has returned for its second year.

We were invited to give the food and drink experience a try which is decked out like a mini German Christmas market in the Glazebury garden centre’s all-weather ‘Open Skies Glass House’.

It also features cabin-like seating with fairylights and Santa-style blankets to cosy up in as you enjoy your break from Bents’ many shop sections and outlets.

New this year is the latest foodie craze – the Yorkshire pudding wrap – which I could not resist.

It was a first for me but I quickly saw what all the fuss about.

Packed with pulled beef brisket and topped with smoked cheese, it was absolutely delicious.

Meanwhile my wife Sarah, a vegetarian, was impressed by the meat-free options.

She went for the hearty vegan German sausage cooked on a charcoal swing grill and served on a pretzel roll.

There are also a range of tipples like gin, Prosecco, beer or more Christmassy options like mulled wine or non-alcoholic apple toddy.

But we were in the mood for a coffee and there were plenty of tasty options for caffeinated treats as well as hot chocolates with all the trimmings.

The market is open until 8pm on Wednesdays to Fridays with live entertainment from acoustic performers so that is generally the best time to go. It had a great atmosphere on the Wednesday evening that we went.

One of the biggest disappointments was that we did not have time for a dessert before the market promptly closed at 8pm.

It was slightly annoying given the centre is open for another hour after that – but gives us another excuse to come back for the amazing sounding cheesecakes or ‘supreme crepes’ which can be topped with the likes of smashed Oreos, cinder toffee, maple syrup and cinnamon sugar.

The only other downside is the Winter Food Market is fairly small so you quickly feel like you have seen it all.

But that perhaps is not really fair. After all where else can you have this kind of experience in a garden centre?

The market itself was also immaculately presented and we were really impressed by the attention to detail

The food and drink stalls and seating areas were decorated with garlands and fairylights and there was even a reindeer on the roof of bratwurst stall, all adding to the overall effect.

For a little taste of Christmas, the Winter Food Market is a joy.

Bents Winter Food Market opens at noon every day of the week until Christmas Eve. It runs until 5pm on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, 8pm on Wednesday to Friday and 4pm on Sunday