Today I felt like a true Sheffield local (and just a healthy dash of hipster) by supporting the wonderful Nether Edge Farmers’ Market (NEFM). It reminded me of the perfect cup of tea; rich in flavours, bold in character and warming to one’s cockles! Now, whilst this isn’t a strict tea post – in fact I was very much coffee beans’ bitch today – I did pick up some scrummy things that go pretty damn well with a cuppa. It was also thrilling to dance with the caffeine devil slightly more raunchily to discover some talented local coffee roasters. So if you aren’t too mardy with me – look at me being all Northern – for bending the rules, do read on.
Before I give my witty repartee, thought it best to fill you in on the history of NEFM. A bit like we are stalking it on Facebook and trying to work out if it is prettier than us…
NEFM began in 2008 and is run completely by volunteers from the tireless Nether Edge Community Group. A staple of the Nether Edge scene, it runs four times a year and regularly attracts over 80 local stall holders, with the next one on 6 December 2015. Their wares cover almost everything you could possibly want on a Sunday afternoon, right from artisan baking and art work through to boutique jewellery and books. Some folks you will recognise, and others you will delight in getting to know; from local celebri-teas Birdhouse Tea Company, Nether Edge Pizza and Sheffield Honey Co., to gems from further afield like Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, Pattisserie Lola Artisan Desserts and Kostas Olives from Doncaster, who’s name almost escaped me as I was too busy trying to stuff as many free olives into my mouth as (in)humanely possible to notice. I have to have the ‘numbers of olives in gob at one time’ world record by now.
All proceeds go to local charities, which is £32,000 at present count. Who doesn’t love a market that combines social justice with an inordinate amount of baked goods?! This year, funds raised go to support Cavendish Cancer Care and Baby Basics – both very valid causes that have certainly legitimised my indulgence in cheese, cake, tea, coffee, honey, oils, bread, chutney, biscuits, experimental dance and juggling many packages at once whilst trying to simultaneously take arty Instagram photos and look horribly cultured at the same time.
Nowt to scoff-ee at: my coffee picks
Caffeine coma status-stand by to be induced. I began my first market experience by tickling my tea-bone with a ritual visit to the wonderful ladies at Birdhouse to drop off a new business card (it’s their bad influence that got me into this blogging lark), and sample some of their iced tea – in two words, it was ‘quintessential loveliness!’. I was then lured in to try my first coffee of the day by the cheeky devils at Twin Cafe. I have had some of their Dark Roast before as it is stocked at work so I tried their beautifully smooth Light Roast Single Origin instead. It had a silky, chocolate-esque flavour that would not go amiss with a croissant and some political literature. The lovely Twin Cafe worker beans even gave me a sample to try for the blog in the comfort of my caffeine crack den-thanks guys! Don’t worry, the crack den is just an IKEA Poang chair in my kitchen where I drink my hot beverages; no need to call the Priory yet.
Caffeine coma status – nicely giddy. Next I stumbled across the utter gentleman Frazer from Frazer’s Coffee Roasters. Captured by the skilfully arranged coffee packs and Frazer’s vintage quoiffed hair (told you I’m an Elvis fan girl), I sipped on his African King of Coffee that had a warming nutty flavour and much needed caffeine poke. Impressed with my lovingly handmade luggage tag business card, Frazer generously gave me a bag of the King to try at home – true gent. Can’t wait to give it a full appraisal in my upcoming coffee review. Frazer is a wholesaler, so you can find his glorious blends in places across Sheffield, including the popular Gertie’s in Walkley that I am desperate to try!
Caffeine coma status – I think my teeth hurt? No Nether Edge visit would be complete without a dalliance with Foundry Coffee Roasters , and I simply could not resist their Van Gogh rivalling coffee art and 50s diner style special board. I could almost hear Elvis on my imaginary juke box… After being recognised as ‘oh you are THAT witch lady’ which was enormously flattering (I think?!), I had a Columbian flat white and made the cardinal sin of requesting sugar. I quickly learned from the looks of horror and ‘you might as well jizz in your Columbian’ vibe from the die hard coffee drinkers around me, that this was a moderate coffee social faux pas. Luckily, the kind Foundry barista saved me with the diplomatic ‘err…sorry we don’t actually have any.’ And I’m so glad I didn’t have sugar; it was actually the best flat white I have ever had. Creamy, pure, and full bodied with a deep cocoa -ey flavour, I felt like I was really appreciating the taste of the bean for the first time rather than just tasting coffee scented sugar. It made me look forward to my coffee brewing class with Foundry at Birdhouse on Wednesday even more – review on the way. Contravening the first, second and third rule of Coffee Club and mild social humiliation have made me realise I have so much to learn.
Final Caffeine coma status-shit, I can’t feel my face.
Best of the rest
Once I had finished repeatedly slapping myself in the face to regain feeling post caffeine exposure, I moved on to see what other delights NEFM had to offer. I was definitely on the hunt for something sweet at this point and stall holders were more than happy to oblige. Patisserie Lola first caught my eye with their mouthwatering array of the most humongous cake slabs I have ever seen, and with labels like ‘ENORMOUS CHOCOLATE CAKE!’ I knew we could be life partners. However, I resisted this time. My actual partner Steph has the unfortunate affliction of lactose intolerance and I couldn’t break her heart by eating a piece in front of her whilst her eyes said ‘I hate you, you milk tolerant hoodlum’. This shouldn’t stop you though!
I did indulge in a macaron from Cakes by Cherry Pie as Steph had found a dairy free Cornflake slice to calm her down moments earlier. The chocolate orange beauty did not last long though as it’s perfectly gooey meringue and heavenly blended choccie orange centre was too irresistible. Highly recommend! Another notable mention should go to the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Company. Their Double Barrel was everything a cheese should be – tangy, creamy and melt in the mouth. But shhhh, the lactose intolerant might be listening… Finally, we needed some hearty bread to go with our Sunday lamb stew and plumped for the good looking white bloomer from Seven Hills Bakery. It was so artfully formed that I didn’t want to eat it…I managed though, and it was bready bliss.
- NEFM is one of the best local events I have been to for its fantastic atmosphere, variety and commitment to a great cause
- Coffee is almost as nice as tea. It also has potentially beneficial face numbing effects when drunk in large quantities
- Cake should only ever be served in size SLAB!
Who else went to NEFM? What were your top picks? Remember to check out the next one on 6 December.
Look out for my coffee brewing class review next week, and more Around the World in Eigh-tea Days!