This morning I head over to Lower Marsh Market, nestled just behind Waterloo Station.
Throughout the month of July, SE1 is playing host to Waterloo Food Festival once again. There are a series of outdoor events, including an evening food fair, cocktail making, a quiz and family fete, which you can read about here. New for this year are ‘Super Saturdays’, when Lower Marsh Market will take on a celebratory feel with a series of guest markets. I was there today for one of them, Start-Up Saturday, which is a showcase of food entrepreneurs.
With pre-noon sun beaming, it was a fantastic day for it. Lower Marsh is a small market (less than 10 stalls) with some real gems within, culminating in the ever-so-wonderful Greensmiths ‘supermarket’. But I’ll come back to that.
We were greeted by some of the kids taking part in International Citrus Saturday, also today, which aims to teach young people entrepreneurial skills by setting up lemonade stands. They really were great, luring us in, and pitching very well. After scrambling for some change (and convincing them to raise the price of their mini cup of strawberries from just 5p!), we walked away with an absolutely delightful bottle of lemonade for just £1.50. It was a total fluke that our visit coincided with this, and I was super pleased to be able to support them. Really impressive.
Our next find was Wendy’s kitchen, with Wendy herself manning the stand. She was there to show off her fiery pepper sauce, which is handmade in Brixton, the same place she runs her catering company from. Using traditional techniques from Trinidad and Tobago, Wendy’s sauce has KICK, but it’s full of flavour – something that’s truly rare to find in a hot sauce. I loved the freshness of it; which you can see from the beautiful orange colour and taste in the product.
Next up was L’été Cookies, made by a wonderful couple in London from all-natural ingredients sourced locally with no nasties (trans fats, milk or egg powders, artificial flavourings). Unique flavours like Lemon Madness (lemon zest, juice and lemon curd, with poppy seeds & white chocolate), Strawberry and Cream (English strawberry jam with white chocolate) and I Dreamed a Coconut (rum, coconut & creamy white chocolate chunks) really made their stall stand out. The pair (of French and Chinese heritages respectively) also import tea, and so make a whole range of tea-infused biscuits with a twist as well; English High Tea (made with Earl Grey), Masala Chai Tea Latte (a rich, spicy and vanilla flavour with dark chocolate chunks) and A Taste of the Orient (refreshing green tea and creamy white chocolate).
I tasted the Lemon Madness, which had *really* good lemon curd on, and Strawberry and Cream, which really did taste creamy. The dough was also less sweet than most cookies, which meant the flavourings really came through and they weren’t sickly.
Final stall of the day was Marsh Produce in Kent, which specialises in rare breed lamb & pork, Dexter beef, duck eggs, free range eggs and homemade pies. I took home some of the owners’ daughter’s sausages (thanks Zoe!) in preparation for a post in a few weeks’ time – so I’ll stay quiet on that for now. But needless to say, the fresh vegetables and fruit they also grow are beautiful, and I couldn’t resist taking some strawberries as well!
As if all this wasn’t enough, Lower Marsh Street is also host to Greensmiths local supermarket – a butcher, baker, greengrocer, coffee specialist and a wine merchant – as well as all the other daily food needs you would expect to find in a supermarket. Plus there’s a kitchen (which you can sit and watch) preparing food only from fresh ingredients in the store to eat in the cafe or takeaway. It’s like a British Whole Foods, but better.
Greensmiths is a wonderful, multi-floored cave of a place, packed full of amazing produce at incredibly reasonable prices. I was thrilled to find such a great range of dairy, and you’ll see the result of that haul in tomorrow’s Wimbledon post. For now though, I can’t recommend the place enough; lovely people, well-chosen foods, and really great value.
All in all, a pretty amazing day out 🙂