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I love shopping locally where I can – there is something about meeting the people who are passionate about the products they’re creating that makes the food just taste so much more enjoyable. Which is why, when the Barnstaple Real Food Market launched last month, I was one of the first people through the door! Held in the pannier market once a month, it was a chance to meet a selection of traders from those supplying grass-fed meat, organic produce, posh kebabs, pies, sausages, cheese, chocolate and cakes – as well as some less coeliac-friendly goods like freshly baked bread.
This month was my second time of going along, and not only did I pick up some delicious gluten free goodies and learn about some suppliers in the area which can cater for my diet, I also had a chance to chat to the traders. It was clear to see they all had a clear passion for their products, and many were interested to hear my thoughts on what was available on the gluten free market.
My first stop was Glampig – a local sausage company – as I had seen on their Facebook page they were launching a brand new hot dog and I wanted to see if I could eat it. To my delight, this gourmet sausage was 90% pork and completely gluten free – a healthy and safe option. I think the stallholder was a little surprised when I snapped up a pack so quickly! These sausages look so delightful in their paper packages tied in string, it made me feel I was purchasing something really authentic.
Steve and I had these hot dogs for dinner and they were possibly they best sausages I have ever tasted! At £3.50 for a pack of four, they’re probably a little pricey for regular buying, but they were so worth every penny as a treat. They reminded us a little of chorizo, with that hint of smokey, spiciness in every bite. I can’t recommend them enough – I think I’ll be stocking up at the next market!
Another stall which really impressed me was Johns of Instow and Appledore. This is a local deli company which I hadn’t yet had a chance to explore, and I was instantly lured in by the most incredible looking giant meringues! Sue, on the stall, recognised me from my blog and guided me around their delicious display. It was packed full of gluten free goodies all with tasters – from lemon polenta cake and a summer tray bake to a brand new product – gluten free pork pies. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had one of these – definitely pre-coeliac – and as soon as I tasted some it all came flooding back to me. In the end I opted to buy one (how could I resist?) and also purchased a slice of the tray bake.
Now, this deserves a whole paragraph of it’s own, because it was absolutely incredible. I have never had a gluten free cake which is so moist – Sue tells me this is because they use their own home made apple sauce in it – and it didn’t have that usual gluten free ‘gritty’ feeling. Oh my, it was so amazing, I am actually pining over it right now! I could easily have gone back and guzzled the lot but as I’m on a strict eating plan at the moment I had to settle for sharing a bit with Steve and our friend Darren. They both concurred this cake was truly awesome – as soon as I have managed to get down to my target body fat percentage Johns is my first stop!!
Our final stop was the Seadog stand. There were such delicious smells wafting from all of the street food stalls in the market but I had been wanting to try some of Seadog's goodies for a while. The choice was simple - I saw squid skewers on the menu and when they confirmed they were gluten free, I had to have one. I absolutely love seafood and it's great to see companies making the most of the catch landed on our coasts. These skewers were delicious, with a tangy Asian sauce, I could have easily gone back for more!
I was so impressed with how each trader took their time to talk through their products with me. The market had a really friendly vibe and I have a feeling it is going to get bigger and better as time goes on. Although I can’t afford to always buy local produce, I hope I can use this opportunity to support the amazing standard of suppliers we have down here and stock up to get me through the rest of the month!
The next Barnstaple Real Food market is on Sunday, August 10. For more details visit their Facebook page - see you there!