Every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, the little street of North Parade turns into a little market where small local businesses come and sell their products. I headed by myself on a rainy day to take some photos, try some food, and chat a bit with the sellers.
Jericho and the Summertown are such lovely areas of Oxford which are fortunately not crowded by tourists as they tend to stay in the town centre. Their are really nice cafés, restaurants and cute shops which I still have to discover.
North Parade Market takes up a very narrow street in-between Jericho and the Summertown where there are colourful christmas-like lights all year long.
My first stop was Plantation chocolates. The woman who created it, Vivien, makes all the chocolates in her own kitchen at home. She makes very fine chocolates filled with very interesting ganache flavours, pralines or caramel of course. I bought myself a small cardamom and dark chocolate bar (3£) and it was truly irresistible. The spice of the cardamom married beautifully with the bitterness of the dark chocolate and I absolutely recommend it!
Next, I couldn’t resist chatting with the guy running a coffee stand of course: Varsity Coffee! What led me to it was the smell of his wonderful flavoured roasted coffees. Now, don’t freak out: although it’s flavoured, it has nothing to do with sugary syrupy flavoured coffees you get in coffee shops. There actually isn’t any sugar added to the coffee and the flavour is all in the coffee bean. The flavour is infused into the bean during the roasting process which gives it a strong punch smell but very subtle flavour. I spent 5 minutes smelling every single flavour, seriously. It was addictive. My favourites were French vanilla, Cinnamon, Chocolate, Pecan and the one I ended up buying: Rich Hazelnut. Oh my, that one is incredible and so comforting! I’m actually sipping it right now… The gentleman who sold it to me grinds the beans to order and I find that 3£ for a 115g bag of ground up delicious coffee is a very good deal. My top recommendation if you go to this market!
My second top recommendation of course is Barefoot Kitchen but I’ve already blogged about the incredible brownies and cakes these guys make…
I then moved over to the cheese stall at the Oxford Cheese Company which had a beautiful selection of cheeses. I tried a very mild and creamy cheddar which I had the delight to eat on some toasted sourdough bread when I got home.
I was hungry before leaving so I queued at Simply Food to Go. My mom always taught me to go where the queue is in markets. I was intrigued and slightly worried about the fusion food but still went for a spicy beef empanada which I ate on the way home as I couldn’t wait to heat it up. But even cold, it was super tasty. The pastry was rich, flaky, buttery, the filling ad the good amount of spice and was really satisfying. I couldn’t try the rest of what they make but I urge you to try that beef empanada ;)
Overall, I spent less than 10£ and still got to try and eat from various food stands and I will definitely go back, hopefully on a more sunny day when more producers come so I can try even more things!