“More Christmassy than the North Pole”
Guest blog by Richard Johnson
Our Christmas Eve market promises to be something REALLY special. With Esme and Ellie from Chiswick Theatre Arts (Elsa and Anna in the school’s recent production of Frozen) singing a selection of Christmas carols, FIFTEEN of London’s coolest street food traders serving up menus bang full of seasonal specials, mulled wine and mince pies AND our secret recipe reindeer food to take home with you and scatter by your fireplace, Chiswick High Road promises to be more Christmassy than the North Pole.
No-one wants to cook on Christmas Eve. Take it easy. Hang out with the neighbours, and get filled with Christmas cheer. How about the roasted peppercorn duck bao (with onion gravy and cranberry chilli oil) from Malaysian specialists Lime Face? In their signature green van? Or homemade choux buns from Polly Eats London, filled with Christmas custard cream, homemade jams and jellies, topped with whipping cream, mascarpone cream, and decorations? Sure feels like Christmas to me.
Images above: Homemade choux buns from Polly Eats London
“I use only homemade butter in the choux pastry” says Dominika “and no artificial colouring or flavours. My grandmother was a master of choux buns; she indulged us – the children – with delicious homemade buns when we visited her. She taught me basics, and I mastered the flavours of fillings and toppings.” Perfect for Christmas Eve, when everyone’s excited to be out and about – but equally excited to get home and shut the door in readiness for the big day.
How about treating the family to Lucien’s signature Christmas cheese toastie? That combines a seasonal four-cheese blend with tomatoes, slow roasted in garlic and thyme? “The tomatoes are a labour of love, taking about four hours of gentle cooking to extract their sweet, concentrated flavour” says Lucien. “The outcome is a toastie of perfect balance, with the richness of the cheeses beautifully offset by the tangy, aromatic tomatoes”. Modesty never got you anywhere in the street food game.
Images above: Roasted Peppercorn Duck Bao with onion gravy and cranberry chilli oil; traditional mince pies
Have you tried The Mighty Soft Shell Crab from Herefordshire? If not, you should. One of the street food OGs, TMSSC have perfected their soft-shell crab tempura – “plus our homemade sweet chilli sauce, full fat creme fraiche, and seasoned leaves” says Nick. “With a soft tortilla to mop it all up.” The sweet chilli sauce is available as a stocking filler. While Hush Hush Chefs, the West London artisan bakers, will send you home with baskets full of quiches, pies and rolls. And Sprouting Pea, will happily box up THE most delicious vegan minces pie to go.
That’s not all. With the freshest Egyptian falafel, traditional Turkish gozleme, Cape Malay curry, Brazilian ribeye steak sandwich, momos from Nepal, London’s hottest dogs, Nigerian barbecue, French galettes and crepes AND the ugliest ugly dumplings, it’s our best Food St yet. So we’re ending 2023 with a bang! And our three-month trial comes to an end.
The deadline for emails of support (to email@example.com) is January 2, and then the council will convene to decide if we are allowed to return with more space for seating, traders and maybe a place for food demos.
We have litter picked like crazy (in fact, there was very little litter to pick up in the first place, but we wanted to show willing), plus we’ve worked with lots of Chiswick food and drink businesses – and lots more want to get involved in 2024. We are bringing lots of different cuisines, and different ways of eating, to the High Road.
The local cafes and restaurants have been rammed on both Sundays that Food St has parked up. We commissioned an official survey – by a member of the Market Research Society – which shows what a benefit we are to the local economy. In a world where we’re being told to Save Our High Road, fingers crossed we are allowed to continue.
Richard Johnson is the Chiswick-based organiser of the Food St market.
The Christmas Eve market will be open from 11am – 4pm on Sunday 24 December in Old Market Place, outside the old police station on Chiswick High Rd.
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