“Shop outdoors this weekend instead of suffocating in a garish mall” punted the Jozi Food Market website. What a great way to spend a morning I thought and I duly set out for Parkhurst on a warm day tinged with the smell of Spring in the air. The market sets up shop under a collection of colourful umbrellas every Saturday on the lawns of the Pirates Sports Club between 8.30am and 1.30pm.The market is not large by any means and therein lies part of its charm. It’s small and personal, the majority of the products are organic and only a limited amount of freshly made products are sold every week.
The first victuals to catch my eye were Graziella’s Italian Pasta’s and Sue’s Karoo Lemonade products. Crammed into a fat tin and sprinkled with cheese, Graziella’s salmon lasagne looked particularly appealing and Sue’s ice-cold lemonade hit the spot. My only regret is that I didn’t buy her cherry slices which sold out before I returned to her stand.
Next on my meander through the stalls were Lavender Lane’s pies. And what pies! You won’t find the usual boring steak and kidney at this stall. Think pork and pineapple, beef and ale, duck and bacon and turkey and plum just to name a few. All the pies are preservative free and although more expensive than your average Pick ‘n Pay pie, are well worth the price. Fresh cordials, pickles and chutneys were the order of the day at Kuhestan’s Organic Farm stall and the nearby ‘All About Muesli’ table offered a variety of tasty low GI muesli’s as well as a honey baked granola, dark chocolate covered goji berries and a variety of fruit and nuts.
La Bomme Cuisine’s organic chicken liver pate´ is one of the best I’ve ever tasted and had I come to the market earlier I would probably have bought one of the egg and bacon rolls at the ‘Breakfast in Bread’ stall. As it so happened I settled on a beef and ale pie from Lavender Lane and a cup of Rwandan coffee from The Green Bean which I ate at one of the tables made available for the purpose. Apparently Rwandan coffee is currently “the best in the world” and imparts dark chocolate, berry and stone fruit flavours. The Green Bean is based at Casalinga restaurant and offers a wide variety of coffee from across Africa roasted to order.
Other tempting ‘on-site’ nibbles included sweet and savoury pancakes from Marcel’s House of Crepes, ice-cream and bunny chows, curries and gourmet boerewors rolls complete with toppings such as peanut, coconut and achar courtesy of‘Sharp’s’ stall.
‘Goat Peter’ was selling delectable goat’s cheese, yoghurt and milk; ‘Raw Honey’ offered all manner of bee related products such as mead, honey, fudge and skin cream; ‘Simply Wild’s’ merchandise included pesto, flavoured mayonnaise and chutneys; La Cucina produced a wide range of outstanding Italian vegetarian antipasti and ‘Froggit’ is fast earning a reputation for its scrumptious products which range from pomegranate dressing and luxury chocolate to liquid nougat and whiskey marmalade.
The most intriguing products of the day were Heartwood’s smoked goods and the Mushroom Factory’s DIY mushroom kits. Heartwood prides itself on its traditionally smoked bacon and the Mushroom Factory takes all the work out of growing your very own oyster or button mushrooms at home.
But it was ‘Soup ‘n Stuff’ that really made an impression. Over 50 incredible types of soup are sold at this stall including peanut and potato, pomegranate, mussel, spicy chicken and almond, honey roasted parsnip and pear and Roquefort which was my ultimate favourite.
There were numerous other products such as edible pet treats, a variety of olive products and baked goods including a particularly tasty carrot cake from Sandra Dacey’s stall, wire and bead crafts and fresh vegetables from ‘Charlie’s’. The vendors are friendly and ply visitors with samples, the setting under trees is appealing and children friendly and the products are worth coming back for. I know I will.