Diary | 29th May 2021 09:36
I am often asked why I shop weekly at the market, almost as if it is regarded as a kind of aberration; an oddity. There are many answers covering everything from climate change to the local economy, but in the main it is because I enjoy good quality food.
It is a warm sunny morning and shaping up to be a very pleasant bank holiday weekend. I am very lucky to live in south Devon, where it is easy to find good quality local produce, whether this is bread, biscuits or marmalade, or farm produce like milk, eggs and vegetables.
The westcountry has, in my view, the best selection of quality cheese in the world. There are great cheeses from around the world; for example I often buy Montagnolo Blue from Germany in the market deli; truly excellent and the closest I can find locally to a blue brie. Today I stuck to Devon, not intentionally – that was just where my taste buds took me. I bought a wedge of Beenliegh Blue, an excellent ewes milk cheese, a wedge of Sharpham Rustic with garlic and chives and a good old Taw Valley Tasty cheddar.
The milk is self-serve; I washed out my two bottles and filled them up this morning: one litre each of whole and half-cream. The milk is from Cornwall and very good, but high quality milk is readily available all over Devon and Cornwall from various suppliers.
The locally made scotch eggs are the best I know and come in about five flavours, everything from chilli to black pudding. The ham off the bone is very good, as are the other hams available.
This weekend I did not buy the home-made vintage cheddar and spring onion flan as I shall not be at work on Monday. Nor did I buy Devon tea or Somerset whisky marmalade or Devon Hogs Bottom Garlic, Lemon and Horseradish mayonnaise, as I have enough to keep me going. But I did treat myself to two packets of biscuits from Dorset, which should last the weekend!
After the deli I stopped off at the greengrocer to pick up some local vegetables and also two loaves of Hallet’s bread – one a white farmhouse and the other a granary. The bread is from a bakery in Paignton and very good. The white farmhouse will be sliced and covered in Devon organic slightly salted butter later this morning, and served up with two local jumbo boiled eggs from the deli. Can’t wait.
There is a great pleasure in shopping in the market. Good food is guaranteed for starters. But I also know that local farmers, cheese makers and other artisans are making a living, and the money that goes into the till stays in the local economy.
I am now going to make a cappuccino and enjoy a Dorset biscuit or two. The questions is, which do I open first: the orange with chocolate chips or the brazil nut with white chocolate chips?
Shopping at Newton Abbot Pannier Market: Stoneman’s Deli and Ashford’s Fruit and Veg. Highly recommended.