Gloucester Green is a square surrounded by several stores, restaurants and some great coffee shops (Combibos Coffee and Caffe Nero both have excellent lattes). Located between Beaumont, St. George and Walton Streets, it comes alive during market times. Both markets are fairly small, but offer a nice alternative to the regular grocery store.
Oxford City Council Market
Every Wednesday, 9am-5pm
To be honest, this market wasn’t anything extraordinary (there were too many cheap clothing stands and not enough produce for my taste). This said, the foodie I am did manage to find a couple unique edibles. First, I stumbled upon some Turkish Delight – only the second time I’ve ever tasted it. I remember reading about this sweet delicacy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a child. What better place to rediscover it than Oxford (where C.S. Lewis spent most of his adult life)? Then, I came across some free-range duck eggs. As I approached the stand, I overheard a man with a very English accent asking his son if he’d “eat a duck egg for lunch,” as though it was nothing out of the ordinary! The vendor told me these particular eggs had been picked up that morning and that the chickens (I mean ducks) drank running water (instead of still water), which gave the eggs a finer taste. They’d be good for about 2 weeks (chicken eggs last 3 to 4) and are great in omelets, thanks to the consistency.
Sketts Farmers’ Market
1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, 9am-3pm
Sketts is a market and events organizer in the UK and has pretty strict trading criteria when it comes to farmers’ markets. Local produce, for example, must come from within 50 miles. I liked this small and friendly market. I spent time looking at old antiques, second-hand books, and, of course, the various food stands. Nearly every one caught my attention and had something enticing to sell. Fresh and smoked trout, vegetarian mushroom pâté, apple and pear juices, traditional Indian samosas (try the Mirch, filled with potatoes and chili- spicy!)… My favorite stall was the Windrush Valley Goat Dairy. They offer a handcrafted selection of soft goat cheeses (the pepper one is nice, and the fresh herb even better). I’d also recommend the pro-biotic yogurt (thin enough you can drink it or poor it over muesli) and the quite perfect cheese cake.