Last week I was invited to a wonderful tour of Ely market, organised by the lovely Alex from Bone White China. I work in Ely quite a bit as I visit the school there to help them with employment training for their students, but I’ve never really spent much time there otherwise.
Ely is LOVELY. Especially on the weekend when parking is FREE!!! Yes, Cambridge, did you hear that??? FREE!! Without a doubt, people were just more chill and friendly there than in Cambridge. The whole day was just a joy.
But anyway, I was there with some other amazing bloggers to try out the food on Ely’s market. Every second and fourth Saturday the market is a farmers’ market, which it was when we went. So, some of the things below might not be available every week.
I wanted to include every spot on the list as they were all so amazing, with such great stories, so this post will come in two parts.
I started off with a coffee from Silver Oak Coffee – but I didn’t get to speak with the owner until the end, so you’ll have to wait until the next post for that!
We then went over to I Am Dumpling, a stall run by a guy called Andrew who spent years working as a chef all over the world, and has come back to the UK to get back to basics – making simple, tasty dumplings (Japanese gyoza).
He makes then with a few different toppings – we had the “easy Japanesey” one, and a Thai themed one. Both with some pork scratchings on top, a little sauce and some rocket. They were SO good. I loved the easy Japanesey one, it really did use all the ingredients to make it authentic.
We also had some pork buns as well, which were simply delicious. The food he created was clearly made with love, skill and a dedication to making simple, good food.
Next on the list was Al Chile, who I’d actually caught before at Bury St Edmunds farmers’ market. They were SO busy in Bury, I wasn’t able to try what I wanted, but they put out an amazing selection for us.
I love Mexican food – guacamole and nachos are pretty much my favourite thing. And these guys do their food WELL. They’re unique because, with one or two exceptions, all of their food is also gluten free.
Their tacos and topped nachos were out of this world – and I LOVE their guacamole.
They were explaining to us about how they were close to bankruptcy until Ely Markets took them on, and now they are booming. This is why it’s so important to shop local and support local businesses at places like local markets. I saw so many people with shop bought sandwiches and coffees that day, I wanted to shake them and tell them they need to be buying from the stalls.
Next, I have a real treat! George’s Bakery was a stop on the list a few of the other bloggers were getting excited about – and once we got there I could see why!!
George is a darling young man who bakes cakes in his mum’s oven at home. All the things he made were a feast for the eyes – but even more so for the mouth!
HUGE cakes decorated with love and care – as well as savoury treats as well. We tried his brownie (which was probably the best one I’ve ever had) as well as his gin cake, made with gin from The Ely Gin Company. You really need to follow George on Instagram – instant food porn!
The Ely Gin Company is a great example of how you can grow from a market stall into a bricks-and-mortar business. The founder was working in IT and just wanted to escape the screen! He and his Belgian wife started making gin at home, and after more and more friends were requesting bottles, they decided to make a business out of it.
They have a number of different flavours of gin, but my favourite was the best-selling pink grapefruit gin. It was really lovely, but their flavoured vodkas were also really appealing.
You could also try baking with it, like George!!
Lastly, we have Harpers Deli, who sell wonderful deli foods made only in East Anglia. We tried the yummy chilli oil, some wonderful chocolate and my favourite was by far the chilli ginger ale!
With so many amazing bread shops on the market, it’d be a shame not to combo them up with the wonderful dipping oils there.
So that’s that for part one! Part two will come shortly!
I recieved the tour and samples for free in exchange for a post – but all opinions are honest as usual and I genuinely endorse going to Ely Market as it is a wonderful place.