People were following their noses to Henley Town Hall on Saturday, April 26 as the smell of fresh baked bread, ground coffee, olives and garlic spilled out into the Market Place.
The Large Hall held the first Maison Artisan deli food fayre which celebrated local food such as bread, cheese, chocolate, wine, condiments and much more. The fayre was well received by the crowds tasting and sampling the fine wares.
Rebecca Crayford and Charlotte Pudney of Maison Artisan saw a gap in the market and knew there was a demand for beautiful food. “There’s nothing like this in Henley,” said Charlotte. “Everyone was saying definitely do it, there’s nothing like this round here.”
Rebecca and Charlotte have another three deli fayres booked at different venues this year. “We’re very excited,” said Charlotte. “We’ve tried to keep it as local as we possibly can. We’re not trying to recreate a Farmers Market. We’ve gone for really lovely, beautiful fine foods.”
The pair took a lot of care in choosing which producers would be a good fit for the event. “We spoke to people individually,” said Rebecca “and make sure their products would be right for us.”
Visitors were sampling locally sourced products such as hand crafted bread from Jung’s Bakery, a local German bakery with three outlets at Beaconsfield, Gerard’s Cross and Windsor.
“It’s really good here,” said Emily of Jung’s, “it’s nice having people who are passionate about their products. It’s good to be able to give people information about how to get hold of really good quality products.”
The Field Kitchen, a café and deli from Nettlebed were doing a roaring trade selling healthy meals with a new twist. Even though the Field Kitchen are used to catering for large outdoor events, the popularity of their delicious food meant they were selling out by the early afternoon.
For a sweet indulgence, Reena Bowden of Couture Treats had a colourful line in French macaroons, original cupcakes, giant chocolates and marshmallows. “Our commercial kitchen is in Marlow,” Reena said. “We are having a successful day, as you can see it’s only one o clock and we’ve sold out.”
For that extra special occasion such as a wedding or a birthday, Stephanie Almeida of Bespoke Cakes makes and decorates a wide range of cakes. “My next goal is to get a shop,” she said. “At the moment I make them and deliver them. I’m trying to get my brand out there so that people know where to come for a good cake. Cakes for all kinds of special occasions, I do cupcakes as well.”
For those who prefer savoury treats Peter Dudwell’s company The Olive Bar was a must. The olives came from various parts of the Mediterranean and came in all colours and flavours. “It’s good fun here at the fayre,” said Peter, “it’s busy, it’s been really good actually.”
For a fun way of spicing up a dinner party there were fabulous chocolate shot cups, filled with toffee vodka from Lovoka.
Loddon Brewery, from Dunsden Green, was selling bottles of real ale. Loddon Brewery have five core beers and a monthly special, so six beers are available at any one time. “It’s really nice doing this market because we can be seen, people can meet us. Normally we’re at the end of a phone but it’s nice to get out and about and meet people. It’s really buzzy here. ”
Tutts Clump cider were there with their award winning real cider made by hand with apples sourced mainly in West Berkshire. Tutts Clump cider is a family run business with proprietor Tim Wale winning many awards including the Overall Cider Award at the Windsor Racecourse Festival three years running.
Another well-kept, award winning secret is the Daws Hill Vineyards from the Chilterns. “We produce English sparkling wine,” said Nigel Morton. “We’re very impressed with the market, it’s beautifully set out, we’ll be here again.”
Keep your eyes open for forthcoming Maison Artisan events, Rebecca and Charlotte are already planning the next deli food fayre.
Maison Artisan are based in Henley on Thames. You can connect with them via their Facebook page or on Twitter, or check out their web site.