Illustration by Marcelina Jagielka

Last weekend, food markets took over various iconic Oxford spots. There was the vegan market at Gloucester Green, the food and drink market along Broad Street, and the Craft and Flea market inside the Town Hall. Each offered their own foodie delights: I will highlight some favourites which you can look out for next time these markets come around.

First was the vegan market at Gloucester Green. A friend and I went just as it opened, and it was quite subdued. The stalls ranged from bizarre sparkly pom-poms, to homemade halva. We were on a mission, however: to buy some sweet treats for pudding at a dinner party that evening. We had a mooch around the stalls and were spoilt for choice by the number of vegan bakeries present. We settled on one that balanced value for money with nice presentation; although my friend partly ruined that by cycling with them to said dinner party later that day! We also fixated on the brownies, getting four along with a Biscoff swirl, which was light and salty-sweet, as all Biscoff should be. All this was for a mere £10, so we thought we’d done quite well.

For lunch, I went to the Broad Street food market. A lot of these stalls were supplanted from their usual residence at Gloucester Green, so I went for the reliable noodles and momos, with extra spicy sauce. It was hot and tasty, and I rounded out my meal with a crisp and oily vegetable samosa, – just how I like it.

image taken by author

Also at the Broad Street food market was an enormous stall of various baked goods. There were brownies, doughnuts, and even sausage rolls. I got a Biscoff brownie, which was, sadly, underwhelming. It was just a standard brownie base that was used across all of the brownies with some Biscoff spread on top. The let-down of the brownie was made up for, however, by the enormous chunk of bread pudding which I also got. It was moist, stuffed full of raisins, and topped with granulated sugar. I’ll definitely be returning for that one.

Last on my whirlwind food-stop tour was the Craft and Flea market in the Town Hall. I went looking for Christmas presents for my family and was, of course, enticed by the bakery stand. What caught my eye was a “baklava kronut”. I cannot resist anything with a Middle-Eastern twist, and consider it my solemn duty to try and verify their accuracy. I must say that I was taken off guard with this. Admittedly, I have never tried a kronut before, but the flaky croissant pastry solved the cloying starchiness doughnuts can often suffer from. Inside the pastry was a nutty pistachio filling, which wasn’t too sweet and so it perfectly balanced out the rose water icing and hazelnut syrup. This masterpiece was topped with shards of filo pastry, a nod to the baklava that it was paying homage to. I have been dreaming about this kronut ever since.

image taken by author

Food markets are always a source of joy for me: trying different dishes, all the while my experience tinged with the sad knowledge that I might never get to eat it again. I am now looking forward to what the next market will bring!