I’ve started going to these little markets that have been popping up in the North West over the last couple of years. The combination of Artisan producers coupled with the latest hip, street food purveyors, a foodies dream they doth make.
Traders and the welcoming tunnel
The Flame on the other hand doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm. Working on a scale of 1 to 10, a market being 1 and Fortnum & Mason being a 10, The Flame rocks in at a strong 8. Probably John Lewis territory! So when I said let’s have a ride out to Levenshulme Market it’s fair to say the scheme I had in mind was well short of The Flames idea of a nice ride out.
Still after an uneventful 45 minute sortie down the M62 we parked up on a fairly uninspiring Levenshulme high street. We did toy with the idea of going by train. The market is held on Levenshulme railway station car park which is a five minute jaunt from Manchester Piccadilly. The sun was shining (which probably helped to the keep spirits up) as we ventured down a narrow alley, the neat, off white, Bedouin tents wafting in the breeze each housing an eager artisan, patiently waiting to offload their wares.
First thing that hits is the smell and sound of a gentle sizzle. The sizzle of heat burnishing the soft flesh of a previously happy beast or just as likely the nutritious seed of a fertile plant. If you’re looking for a plastic hot dog on a claggy roll, a splurge of damp onions and a dash of ketchup, this is not the place for you. Much more likely is the delicately spiced haunch of a tiger prawn or a soaked pulse wrapped in the gossamer of a recently culled vine, or the thickly scythed rasher of marmite cured bacon. This is quality stuff.
We ventured around the bijou, eclectic combine of salt of the earth Samaritans, each teasing you in with a morsel of the bootie. Our tact was to sweep round taking stock of the offers before settling in a corner of quiet contemplation with a pleasing brew from the ‘The Buttery’. It is there that we decided where the Cooktwit coffers were about to be placed.
We succumbed to a modest haul in the end but could have easily done more. A rabbit pie, tarte au citron and a scone from the said Buttery started things off. The lemon and scone part of the scheme, superb, the rabbit less so. Not quite matching my pie benchmark set by the ‘Great North Pie Company’. A walnut sourdough, delicately laced with garlic from Trove proved to be a worthy buy, as did the the three seed apricot granola from ‘Morning Glory’, the venison scotch egg from ‘Moocher’, the white chocolate blonde cookie from ‘The Cake Pod’, the Cumberland sausage from ‘Bobbys Bangers’. Particularly impressive was the treacle cured bacon and the marmite cured bacon also from Bobby.
Fine craft ales could have been quaffed but sweetness won the day as I rounded off proceedings with my first ice cream from ‘Ginger Comforts’. A little gin, juniper and cherry number I recall. Very pleasant.
All in all a very pleasant hour was spent. There was maybe fifty stalls selling game, bread, cheese, wine, tea, cakes and plenty more. Street food vendors were on hand if you needed something for lunch to put you on. Even the Flame was impressed. The market is on every Saturday from March to December. It isn’t always food. It alternates between craft and vintage wares. As part of the day out we mooched round Victoria baths after. That’s worth a punt as well.
Top day had, give it a try.
Railway Car park, Levenshulme