I don't think we could have picked a more beautiful morning for a visit to Ely's market. It's always a pleasure to visit Ely and whenever we come we always wonder why we don't venture out here more often. There is the magnificent cathedral, beautiful riverside walks, independent shops and tea rooms, free city centre parking and of course a fabulous market which was the purpose of our visit. You may remember we had a tour of the market's food stalls back in September and we returned this morning for another chance to sample the wonderful produce available.
We started the morning at The Lemon Tree Deli, run by Debbie and her husband. They started out with a market stall but have successfully transitioned to running an independent shop, which is not surprising given the wonderful fare we sampled.
We tried a savoury "afternoon tea" in the form of a cheese scone with cream cheese and a tasty chutney, some cheese and crackers with an amazing chilli marmalade ( I really want to try making that!) and then some lovely sweet treats - chocolate orange brownies, caramel shortbread and good old fashioned bread pudding. It was tempting to clear the plates but we knew there was plenty more to come!
The next stop was to see Suzannah who is relatively new to the market. She runs Hum-Closen who work with small producers in rural Europe, bringing natural organic wines and raw milk cheeses to the UK. We sampled several of the excellent cheeses, buying a very tasty "1924 Roquefort" blue cheese to bring home and also tried the Prosecco Suzannah is holding. Okay, I know it was only 10.30 am but do not judge me... it would have been rude not too! And in case you were wondering it was light and refreshing, not a typical Prosecco should you be used to the supermarket stuff but delicious nevertheless!
And with it being Mother's Day in the UK tomorrow we all appreciated the blackboard sign!
Next was another newcomer to the market Jonathon, The Dessert Man, who specialises yummy desserts... as you might have guessed from the name! We got to sample millionaire's shortbread and brownies, both very good, and if that wasn't enough we all got a slice of cheesecake to bring home. I'm looking forward to my Mint Aero cheesecake later!
From there we went to see Andrew who runs the food cart I am Dumpling. We sampled Andrew's wonderful food last time we were in Ely and once again he didn't disappoint. Excellent quality Asian dumplings served with fresh herbs, fried shallots, sesame seeds and freshly prepared sauces... plus excellent and entertaining conversation from Andrew whilst we waited for our dumplings to steam.
Next up was Al Chili, one of my favourite stops last time. This is a food truck founded by Mexican brothers Octavio and German, serving authentic Mexican food. Unfortunately the samples this time were meat based so I didn't get to try them but I was very tempted by the slow cooked pork tacos... and that's from someone who hasn't eatem meat in over twenty years!
From there we headed to Ely Gin who were celebrating their fifth birthday. Nancy and her husband are another Ely Markets success story having started with a market stall and now they run a shop and a successful online business. They have launched a "Breakfast Marmalade" gin to mark their fifth anniversary and we got to try it... it was after midday by now, okay... and in case you were wondering, it was good! We also sampled some fun gin " infusions"... little bags of herbs and flavourings that you can infuse into your gin... hooray for gin teabags! The strawberry and mint was very tasty.
After that we scooted by George's Bakery, picking up some cakes for later and headed to Replete to try some delicious flatbreads...
and then we stopped at Lizzie's stall to try some of her vegan food which I enjoyed far more this time around... good savoury rolls and scotchless scotch eggs.
After that it was time to visit another newcomer Cha Kombucha where Esther introduced us to her fermented green tea, which I never even knew was a thing. It was surprisingly refreshing and apparently very good for us... possibly a good thing after all the cake and alcohol consumed. Although I confess that the scoby culture that was growing in the fermenting tea was rather alarming!
It was then time to try some delicious preserves from Cambridge Preserves Kitchen, where I bought a jar of raher good beetroot and orange chutney. We then moved on to Sudesh and his Luxury Samosas. All I can say is that these were the best samosa I have ever tasted... and no Sudesh, I don't say that to all the samosa sellers! These were cooked on site in a giant wok in true street food style.
We also got to sample some delicious African inspired chilli sauces from Madam Sunshine who was indeed very sunny and smiley! Her sauces were very good too!
And we finsihed our tour at Silver Oak Coffee where we ate cakes from George as well as fabulous cakes from Audrey too. All of Audrey's cakes are vegan and although it feels a little insulting to say so... you would never guess!
I'm not a big coffee drinker but it was very good coffee!
So yet again, a fabulous tour of the passionate food and drink producers and suppliers at Ely Market. Many thanks to Michelle for organising it as well as to the team from Ely markets. If you are close enough to Ely for a day out then I urge you to just do it... don't put it off, just go! And if you live too far away then please make yourself a cuppa and spend half an hour clicking on the links checking out what these people have to offer. Not only becase I think it is increasingly important to support small independent suppliers... and these are all excellent independent suppliers... but it also took ages to add all the links and write this post... make it worth my while!
You can find the general market open on Thursday, Craft and Collectables along with the street food every Saturday, the farmers market on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month and there are also Sunday and bank holiday markets as well as special events.
And I would like to finsih by saying it has taken so long to write this that I've now eaten my dinner and have finished my mint aero cheesecake from The Dessert Man which was top class!