Slow Food Market: a brief report
Matthews Hall, filled almost to bursting for the first Slow Food
Devon Topsham Market
Devon January 21, 2008 What
a huge and satisfying relief: the first Slow Food Topsham Devon Market
which took place yesterday was a resounding success! Almost the minute
the doors of Matthews Hall opened at 11am, the hall was packed with interested
market goers who came to learn, to taste and to buy. By noon, the hall
was as busy as I have ever seen it, and the general consensus is that
we attracted well over a thousand visitors throughout the four hours
that the market was on. Many producers were so busy that they sold out
within the first few hours.
a wonderful range of producers there were, all offering truly quality
produce and products that adhered to Slow Food's underlying ethos
of food that is 'good, clean and fair', including meat from nearby
farms; organic vegetables picked that morning; locally made, world-class
farmhouse cheddar and other cheeses; handmade chocolates; authentic
Devon straw-pressed cider; outstanding breads and other baked goods;
fruit preserves, juices and chutneys; beer, Devon and Italian wines
and more. Publisher Tom Jaine brought along a fascinating selection
of food and food history books.
Parkin of Emma's Brreads
aim was always to create a space where people would gather to relax,
meet friends, taste great foods, eat and drink, and generally gain
a sense of community and friendship based around the shared enjoyment
of foods. Near the stage there was a café area of seating
and this proved to be popular, with foods on offer that included
a Laotian stew of smoked pheasant and sticky rice; warming homemade
winter vegetable soup; quiches and cheese platters; and sauteed diver's
scallops and bacon. Live
music was provided by the always popular Alex Harding.
on the stage of Matthews Hall, we had put in place a program for
a series of Slow Food Taste Workshops on a variety of fascinating
topics. Jason from the South Devon Chilli Farm gave a talk and tasting
of different varieties of chillies; David Kerley of The Fish Shed
showed an interested audience how to prepare fish; and Natacha Du
Pont De Bie spoke passionately about the cuisine and culture of Laos.
Slow Food Taste Workshop on the cuisine and culture of Laos.
Dudbridge, leader of Slow Food Devon,
response to today's market has been absolutely fantastic! It has been
a great day, and it demonstrates how many people really do care about
where food comes from. All the producers and suppliers here today
support Slow Food values and ethos. But it's more than that. Slow
Food is also about the simple enjoyment of food among friends and
we have experienced that today."
we did. For this first market was as much about community as
about food, and it demonstrated what a very special place Topsham
is.Good food, enjoyed slowly
away from the rush of modern life, really does bring people together.
Choosing and buying food carefully, talking and learning about food,
and eating and drinking above all are social activities and markets
like this should be at the heart of local communities.
in all, it was a great day of enjoyment, learning, tasting and friendship,
in true slow style. The Slow Food ethos clearly can sit very well
within our community. Well done Freddie! And a big thanks to Steve
Hilton, Veronica Coe, Liz Hodges, James Clark, Alex Harding, Dave Kerley,
Antonia Littlemore, Natacha, Bill and Yolanda, Jane, Alissa, to all
the stallholders and producers, to the Slow Food Devon committee members
who allowed the market to transfer here, and to everyone else who made
the day such a brilliant success.
a little tired now (and Freddie, I imagine, is exhausted), but we're
already looking forward to the next market on Sunday February 17th.
Put the date in your diary!