The hard work began in earnest in the last week of October, when I was blooded on the market stalls of Borough and King’s Cross for the first time. I have always loved almost any food market; no market is ever the same, never boring. There is a special buzz and energy (awful word) that you can’t replicate in a shop or supermarket. This is primarily down to the people. Market workers are perennially energetic, positive and passionate about the produce they sell. So with this relatively glamorous image in my head I donned my apron and went behind the counter for the first time.
My timing was admittedly poor, as was my range of thermals which I found out extremely quickly would soon be a lifesaver. The Christmas rush was building up and I had to learn the ins and outs of over 12 different sausages on the hoof – sounds slightly ridiculous I know, but they do differ massively in taste, texture and style. A challenging experience with an Italian man who refused to believe our products were British aside, things went rather smoothly. My sales patter soon changed from bumbling um and aaahh-er to partially assured and prattling, and remarkably I managed to sell some sausage.
As December kicked in I moved permanently to King’s Cross’ Real Food Market, a small market providing an amazing range of bakeries, cheeses, honeys and of course British Charcuterie. We worked in to the bitter evening, entertaining ourselves with Danish Christmas Carols (my Scandinavian colleagues insisted) and the occasional mulled wine… As is the case across London, we met an amazing array of customers eager to sample the best of British salami; city workers on the commute, French and Belgian families fresh from the Eurostar and last-minute Christmas shoppers desperately needing something to give that difficult Aunt.
The temperatures were hovering around 0 by the time Christmas Eve came. In any other situation this may have caused tempers to fray and wicks to be got on, but the festive spirit endured and our customers’ endless enthusiasm for British salamis meant there was no rest for the wicked. Fingertips turned blue and knees ached, but my first real taste of market life was a good, incredibly meaty one.
After a short hiatus at the beginning of the year, we’re extremely excited to hear that The Real Food Market at King’s Cross is due to return soon. Come and find us there soon, sample some beautiful cured meats and say hello! Look forward to seeing you there.
For more information go to www.realfoodfestival.co.uk/real-food-markets/kings-cross-market/
If you can’t get to the market to see us, go to www.cannonandcannon.com/shop/ to sample some meaty goodies!