One of the very best food markets is held every Wednesday in Winchester. Make sure you arrive early, parking in the long stay car park in Chesil Street is the most convenient, and stop at The Bridge Patisserie, 20 Bridge Street (www.thebridgepatisseries.co.uk). We heartily recommend the lemon curd tart and cappuccino. Sitting in the retro cafe, looking as the busy town workers weave their way to work, you will think you have stumbled across a trendy, retro Parisien cafe.
As you descend into town past King Alfred’s statue, the blue and yellow food stalls of the market come into vision on the far right hand side of the wide central high street. Here are the best foodie picks.
Do not miss the Carlin seafood stall. The whole crabs are fresh from Lyme Bay. Miss. Nattie’s House of Cupcakes and the Devon fudge and sweetie stall is a must if you have children, or a very sweet tooth. The fruit and vegetable stall is truly one of the best we have ever seen, and the cockney accents of the shouting traders will cheer your day.
The Cheese Importers are really excellent, all their cheeses are laid carefully on rattan mats and labelled. Chunk of Honiton, Devon sells wonderful homemade pies, served by Mike with a smile and pride. Gianni is a Southern Italian who owns the Olives Direct business (www.olivesdirect.co.uk) selling authentic antipasti, like grilled peppers, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and roasted garlic. His range of olives and olive oils is really remarkable considering this is a stall and not a shop. You could not walk past the egg seller without smiling, although the man who sells venison, we warn you, does not smile at all.
The Baker Boys stall is a must, and we have written a whole article about it in a separate section, as well as our top lunch recommendation, The Chesil Rectory (www.chesilrectory.co.uk). If you want to stop for a mid morning snack and tea, then you will love Ginger Two For Tea, at 28/29 St. Thomas Street. It is a roomy and beautiful tea room, where you can also buy Keith Bryman-Jones pottery and other kitchenware. We heartily recommend the cakes.
On your way back to the car park, do stop at the florist Mills and Bloom, at 169 High Street, and look at their excellent range of vintage homewares, plants, flowers, herbs and gardenalia. We bought a delightful old wooden trug, and, if not controlled, would have bought much more.
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At The Bridge Patisserie, a delicious lemon curd tart and cappuccino.
The cake and drinks’ chillers in the patisserie.
The seating area in the patisserie.
A quiet corner, with 1950’s red leather sofa – very James Bond!
The first stall is the Carlin seafood stall – excellent, fresh fish.
Look at those Lyme Bay fresh crab, check out the monster at the back, for £15.00.
Miss. Nattie’s House of Cupcakes.
Devon fudge and sweetie stall.
The Baker Boys bread stall (see our separate article).
The fruit and vegetable stall.
More fruit and vegetables.
Gianni, whose family originate from Naples, is the owner of Olives Direct.
Gianni’s range of stuffed olives is really excellent.
Gianni’s roasted artichokes.
Mike, the salesman at the Chunk pie stall.
The Cheese Importers’ stall.
We came away with Pecorino, French goat’s cheese and Parmiggiano Reggiano.
The egg man says it costs £1 to take his photo.
We are more interested in the hens ducks’ eggs, to tell the truth.
The flower stall at the food market.
The cake counter at Ginger Two for Tea.
The homeware range at Ginger Two for Tea.
Keith Brymer-Jones pottery for sale.
One of the cups has the words “overworked / underpaid” etched on it.
One of the seating areas in the tea room.
The outside of Mills in Bloom florist.
The inside display of Mills in Bloom.