I'm a working mum writing about life in Edinburgh (and anywhere else we go) with two curious, adventurous, and imaginative children. Visit my blog at www.linzertortes.blogspot.co.uk. Follow me on Twitter: @LinzerLaw
Published September 18th 2012
Little market, lots of variety
A well-established event that describes itself as "Edinburgh's other farmers' market", Stockbridge Market is nestled between Saunders Street and Kerr Street. It manages to fit a lot in this deceptively small space.
The market has a wide variety of stalls from sustainably sourced fish to hand-crafted soaps. It's in a snug, winding layout, which gives it a friendly atmosphere and ensures that you can quite easily do a surveillance run before you begin your shopping proper. On this occasion I was only browsing for a few bits and pieces, but the market has enough stalls that I could quite easily have done my weekly shop. All the staples are covered, and some with a couple of stores to choose from: bakeries, fruit and vegetables, cheese and dairy, meat and fish.
There are specialist stalls selling seasonal produce (strawberries and raspberries when we went). And if all the food is making you hungry, check out the stalls selling ready to eat food like paella, curry and crepes. There's also a seating area attached to the cafewagen so that you can have a rest once you're loaded up with bags.
We stopped off first at The Caurnie Soapery, who sell hard and liquid soaps. Both my daughters have eczema and I was looking for something which would be more gentle to their skin than the supermarket brands that are filled with harsh chemicals.
After a chat with my daughters about our day, and letting them smell all the unusual soaps, the owner recommended a slice of nettle soap or a bottle of the liquid nettle soap because I could also use it for shampoo. It lathers very well despite the lack of sodium lauryl sulphate. She was also able to give me some advice about the best kind of laundry liquid to use for eczema sufferers. Without all the chemicals and intensive processes used by factory-made detergents, these soaps are definitely kind to the planet as well as your skin.
Setting off again round the market, our attention was caught by a tray of biscuits and lots of pots of jam. The stall-owner of Perthshire Preserves then proceeded to let my daughters taste as many of the open pots on a biscuit as they wanted before we bought a seedless blackcurrant jam and a rowan jelly. The rowan jelly is a great accompaniment for meat. The blackcurrant jam has the most intense sharp but sweet blackcurranty flavour I have tasted for a long time. It's a perfect foil for a warm rice pudding and Josie and Lori have been clamouring to have it on sandwiches and toast at every opportunity. The other pots we tried were of the same excellent quality - the rhubarb and ginger was especially delicious.
Finally, on our way to our next Sunday activity we stopped off at a German bakery. It caught my eye because of the unusually shaped breads that were on display. It caught Josie's eye because it had a tray of caramel shortbread, with which she is currently obsessed. I bought her a piece of the shortbread, and Lori a citrusy chocolate brownie. Both were very tasty, and Josie and I agreed that the caramel shortbread was one of the best either of us had ever tasted. The caramel had a rich flavour and squidged wonderfully when you bit into the chocolate. We don't have pictures of these because we ate them too quickly.
At every stall we went to we were greeted with a friendly smile, and everyone seemed really knowledgeable about their own products and happy to share their enthusiasm and answer the girls' questions like, "Why are there flowers in that soap?" or "Is the rowan jelly poisonous?" with good humour and patience. In short, Stockbridge Market is a warm and friendly experience and I would highly recommend a visit on a Sunday rather than the usual supermarket shop.
Super little market which I visit most Sundays because I'm lucky enough to live locally. What I like most about it is the fact that the stall holders are really laid back and very friendly. A great place to while away an hour or so.