THE Bournemouth Christmas market is well underway, hosting a plethora of food and craft stalls.

It has proved as popular as ever, with residents and visitors flocking to the market to browse handmade items and taste local produce.

The market is also home to the ever-popular Alpine Lodge Bar and ice-skating rink in The Lower Gardens.

A returning stall to the market is The Chocolate Bar, a luxury hot chocolate company that specialise in warming, extravagant treats.

Ellie Tripp, an employee of The Chocolate Bar, described the variety of hot chocolates they offer: "We sell 41 different types of hot chocolate flavours. You pick a milk chocolate or a white chocolate as a base. We also have a vegan version with soya or hemp milk."

Creating hot drink masterpieces isn't the only thing the company hopes to achieve.

Reusable, light up mugs are available to purchase with a hot chocolate.

Ellie explained the importance of their reusable mugs: "We're trying to reduce our use of single-use plastics and takeaway cups. When people bring these cups back they get their hot chocolate for £3.95 rather than £4.95."

Being a part of this market is extremely important to The Chocolate Bar as a small business, who hope to get their name out there to more people.

Ellie added: "As a consumer as well, I think it's so wonderful for the town."

The notion of supporting local businesses was emphasised by many of the stall-holders, many of whom enjoy supporting their fellow traders.

Tom Bew from The Baked Cheese Co. said: "The market seems to get better every year which is good. We also like supporting other people who are at the market."

The Baked Cheese Co. specialise in baked, gooey dishes that have Petit Camembert from France as the main ingredient.

All British produce is used (bar the cheese) and a local baker is employed to bake their signature sourdough ciabatta.

Tom added: "It's all baked in our oven and cooked daily."

A variety of smoked meats, chutneys and condiments are also available, as well as a weekend special on November 23 and 24; baked cheesecakes.

They will be offering a limited edition baked vanilla cheesecake and baked spice apple crumble cheesecake, adding further explosions of taste to their menu.

However, cheese isn't the only important aspect of the business.

Tom explained: "We are 99% eco-friendly. Apart from the plastic that the cheese comes in, everything is bio-degradable."

The Baked Cheese Co. are keen to remain sustainable whilst offering quality, local food to market-goers.

Local food is also a focal point for The Dorset Hog Roast.

Dan, owner of Neals and Sons Butchers, said: "All our products are made in house from my butcher shop. It's all local, quality products."

The local products are used to create their fantastic range of dishes, from their Festive Hog Roast to their Turkey Burger, both full of festive favourites.

This year is The Dorset Hog Roast's third year of trading at the market, and they hope that their success will continue throughout the merry season.

Paul, a fellow employee, said: "We sell a unique dish that everyone can enjoy."

Patty Cake's owner Alaina also offers unique dishes and flavours, with cupcake flavours ranging from vegan chocolate to salted caramel gingerbread.

Many seasonal treats are available at her stall, one of which being a mince pie slice.

Including vegan and gluten free alternatives is very important to Alaina: "I take allergy awareness very seriously, so I think it's important to offer vegan, nut free and gluten free options for everyone to enjoy."

As a small, developing business, holding Patty Cake's first ever bake stall at the Christmas market was a huge risk for Alaina, but something that she hopes will fulfil her career aspirations: "We're a very small, local business with a big ambition. If there's something here we don't do, we will try and bring it out."

Alaina will be bringing something new to the table this weekend by offering a warm selection of treats.

Hot Christmas pudding bites and hot brownie bites will be available with a selection of sauces.

Aruba has returned to the Christmas market this year with its well-loved Yorkshire Pudding Wraps.

With a wide range of fillings for the Yorkshire Wrap on offer, everyone is catered for.

They offer beef brisket, turkey and vegetarian options to satisfy all Yorkshire Pudding lovers.

Fred Jennings explained the inspiration behind the concept: "Yorkshire's have always been considered a small part of roast dinners. We have made them to be the most important part and we think that putting the roast within the Yorkshire wrap is what makes us different."

* The Christmas Market is open daily from 10am every day except Christmas Day, until January 1 2020.