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Monthly food market for Chorlton

The inaugural Chorlton Food Market and the tricky art of making a macaroon

Published on September 24th 2010.

Monthly food market for Chorlton

Well known for its delis, restaurants and specialist food stores, foodie haven Chorlton is a place where an interest in good, ethical food is practically a pre-requisite for residents.

So it's with open arms (and shopping baskets) that local residents seemed to welcome the Chorlton Food Market on Saturday 18 September. The market was the first in what will be a monthly event on Manchester Road, taking place on the third Saturday of every month just outside Chorlton Library.

Traders and tasters alike were out in force, with around ten stalls selling a mixture of locally sourced meat, baked goods, sweets, and fruit and veg.

Produce available included black puddings from the Real Lancashire Black Pudding Co, fresh fish from city centre regulars O’Neils, home-made cakes from Peach Pie, fresh poultry and game, freshly baked bread, roasted coffee beans, preserves and more.

A stall which caught the eye almost immediately thanks to its brightly-hued, gorgeous confectionery was The English Rose Bakery. Created by ex-fashion product developer Emma Brown, this Manchester-based company creates and sells French style 'macarons' – synonymous with eighteenth century aristocratic decadence, thanks in part to their starring role in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette.

These dainty, colourful macaroon cakes have enjoyed centuries of popularity in Paris and are now beginning to rival the cupcake as the sweet treat of choice for Manchester's trendsetters. "At the moment people are still learning about the macaroon." says Emma. "Customers who know about the product and can't find them anywhere apart from London or Paris are happy to see me."

Since starting her business in June, Emma has enjoyed considerable success in Manchester with her macaroons taking pride of place at various exclusive events. She has also started selling at other farmers markets, including the Didsbury Food Market.

Talking about her macaroons, which she currently makes at home, she described them as "a niche, unique product which is really difficult to make. It's taken four months of practice to perfect the recipe. After so many batches of failed attempts, it was really only after hours of practising and trying numerous techniques that I was finally able to bake a macaroon the French would be proud of."

And while the French might be proud, the Chorltonites were positively enchanted with Emma enjoying her first sell-out market yet. "Next time I will be making double the amount," she said.

Moving from a market newcomer to an old hand, a trader who is no stranger to Manchester's food markets is Shaun Partington of Savin Hill Farm in Cumbria. A farmer with over a decade of herd management experience, Shaun, along with partner Angela, is a regular face on the city centre Real Food Market where his rare breed beef and pork produce is a firm favourite.

"We enjoy attending farmers markets," he says. "It gives us the rare opportunity to talk to customers and find out what really matters to people, but it also lets the customer talk to the farmer about food production and animal husbandry."

At the end of his first day on Chorlton Food Market, Shaun was pleased with how things had gone. "After speaking to different customers, it seemed like the market was providing something that local people wanted," he said. "There was lots of positive feedback, and I'm sure it will be a huge success for future markets."

One such local person was Caroline Reynolds. "I hadn't heard about the market, so I was really excited when I came across it on the way to the Barbakan," she said.

"It's a great idea. The bars and restaurants come and go but the delis always do a roaring trade, and anything that supports small independent businesses is always going to go down well around here. I hope it gets bigger, especially when it gets near Christmas."

Chorlton Market will take place on the third Saturday of every month, from 9am to 3pm, outside Chorlton Library on Manchester Road.

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