Keep the hunger pangs at bay with these alternative treats – whether you prefer gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian, low sugar, low fat or dairy-free, as far as snacking goes this is snacking good!
The Veggie Deli (1st and 2nd Saturday): offering the best choice in vegan and vegetarian snacks, the Veggie Deli brings a variety of goodies depending on the time of year. Right now expect to find vegan delights such as chickpea frittatas (a great alternative for breakfast), forest mushroom slice with its flaky layers of puff pastry encasing a filling of earthy forest mushrooms and creamy béchamel sauce and Caribbean Baja pie to bring a bit of warmth to winter days. Vegetarian treats include veggie deli tarts with crisp pastry, roast seasonal vegetables and cheese and yoghurt topping, veggie Scotch eggs and leek and stilton bakes full of lentils, eggs and tarragon.
Fresh Olives etc (every week): regular market-goers will be familiar with the hordes thronging Chrissie Hossack’s stall every Saturday! Rich in good fats and full of vitamin E yet surprisingly low in calories, olives are the ultimate healthy snack. The variety on offer is eye-boggling – from green Greek mammoth olives to traditional kalamata olives to Moroccan black olives, each is chosen for its quality. But it’s what Chrissie does with the olives to make them come alive that’s the real crowd-pleaser – carefully washed to extract the salt, then marinated with a myriad different marinades using fresh herbs and garlic from the market when available, there’s a flavour to please every tastebud. Other Mediterranean treats include sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
Za Za Maroc (every week): if you’ve ever joined the lunchtime queue at Za Za Maroc, you’ll understand why these falafels are so popular! Naturally vegan and gluten-free, these chickpea pellets are deep fried and wrapped in a sturdy flatbread and crammed full with salads of your choice. Home-made sauces, including houmous, harissa and coriander pistou, are lavishly drizzled over, and the whole thing is wrapped in foil for you to take on your merry way. As well as the traditional falafels, there are seasonal variations and if you’re gluten-free, you can omit the bread and buy a box of falafels and houmous. Children-sized portions are also available.
BigHorn Biltong (4th Saturday): for healthy, low fat, high protein snacking, BigHorn Biltong is where it’s at. Simon and Carole Brown are artisan food producers of air dried beef biltong and jerky. They use grass-fed British beef from the award-winning Martin’s Meats in Todenham, and the products are all gluten and sugar-free and contain no E numbers or allergens, making them perfect for diabetics and coeliacs. The range of biltong comes in five flavours: Original, Garlic and Coriander, Red Chilli, PiriPiri and Cracked Black Pepper, and new product, Sriracha Beef Jerky with its take on the original ‘Rooster’ sauce, is proving to be very popular.
Severn Spots Charcuterie (3rd Saturday): Rich and Nicky Harper sell chorizo and salami, made by hand on their farm in Worcester. The products are all produced from free range pork using authentic style recipes and are naturally gluten-free. The Spanish-style chorizo is sweet smoked, spicy and HOT! The salami flavours are traditional: Tuscan, Sopressata (with chilli pepper, white wine and garlic) and Peppered with two new flavours launching shortly: Blueberry and Rum and Peppercorn.
The Cotswold Curer (1st Saturday): Peter Crumby makes these salami and chorizos using free-range meat and the products are all gluten and dairy-free. The snacking salamis are perfect for lunchboxes or snacking on the go – for just £1 you can get a small French saucisson or sweet chorizo to keep you going until teatime! The larger range includes salamis, sweet or spicy chorizos and air dried beef. Popular flavours include the black truffle salami, the fennel and red wine salami and for something a bit different, the sloe gin salami.
Jack Bakes (1st and 3rd Saturdays): it was when cake-maker Sarah ‘Jack’ Jackaman turned vegan in 2013 that Jack Bakes was created as a way of devising a recipe that could allow her to still enjoy cakes that were light, gooey and moist but without the eggs or dairy. With a brother who was gluten intolerant, she decided to experiment with gluten free flours too and now has a collection dairy and gluten-free goodies that she brings to Stroud Farmers’ Market. As well as savoury leek and broccoli tarts, treats include Bakewell tarts, chocolate, carrot and coffee cakes, cookies and biscotti, all fulfilling her intention that everyone should be able to enjoy cake!
Studio Pastry (every week): as well as running a fabulous pasty stall, Naomi Walker runs the Farmers’ Market café. On her pasty stall you will always find two vegetarian and two meat options, made using produce from the market. The spiced up beef is a good option to warm you up for winter, while the tartiflette pasties (meat and vegetarian options available) are comfort food at its finest. As spring moves nearer, the spring greens pasty may appeal with its nutritious filling of chard, kale, herbs and wild garlic and cheesy sauce. Naomi also makes soups using seasonal produce, such as leek and potato, a fantastic-coloured borscht and an uplifting lemongrass, ginger and squash. The £4 lunch deal is a steal, giving you a pasty and a pot of homemade soup.
At the café, indulge in sweet treats such as fennel seed and salt flapjacks, salted caramel brownies, sticky dark gingerbread and rhubarb meringue cake.