Kirkstall Deli Market

June 17, 2015

You know when you have something that you want to do, and for some reason or another you don't get around to it for months? Then, when you do, you wish you'd done it earlier? That's what happened when I visited the Kirkstall Deli Market on 30th May with Martin and one of our friends. I'd heard about it at some point last year, and thought "I'm going to go to that one day" - and it's taken me until the next year to do it! Ah well. Kirkstall Deli Market is held on the last weekend of every month from March to November, and is a culinary delight. If you love street food, it's an event that you must go to at least once. Not only is there an excellent and varied selection of food, it's held in the beautiful grounds of Kirkstall Abbey and is free entry too - what's not to love?

Kirkstall Deli Market
Kirkstall Deli Market
Kirkstall Deli Market

On this particular weekend we were blessed with the most gorgeous sunny weather, and as you can imagine this works brilliantly for the businesses as the crowds were pretty spectacular! Kirkstall Deli Market consists of around 40 stalls, most of which sell food but there are a few others too, such as homemade garden ornaments and plants. There was also a stall offering face painting whilst we were there, so if you have little ones you can bring them along and they can be kept entertained. It is also dog friendly, as I made friends with lovely Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross who was very interested in my cheese toastie! It runs from 12pm-3pm, which doesn't sound long but actually is just right. A lot of the food vendors had sold out by the time we left at 3pm.

Beer from The Hop Box at Kirkstall Deli Market
Little Yorkshire Pie Company at Kirkstall Deli Market
The Yummy Yank at Kirkstall Deli Market
Olianas Doughnuts at Kirkstall Deli Market
Plant stall at Kirkstall Deli Market

The first vendor we spotted was The Hop Box - draught beer being sold from the back of a horse box! If you know me, then you will know that I was very much up for that and I got myself a pint of Sheffield Pilsner to drink whilst checking out all the stalls. The Hop Box was actually stationed outside the abbey, presumably because they couldn't fit the horse box in through the narrow doorway, but this seemed to work in their favour as there was often a queue of thirsty market-goers forming! Walking around, there was a lot to take in and we didn't know where to start. Not only were there vendors selling hot food to eat then and there, but there was also several that were selling items for you to take home and enjoy later. Off the top of my head I can think of hot sauces, pies, cheese, cakes and shortbreads - to name a few! It would have been all too easy to get carried away and bring most of the market home; I managed to restrain myself, knowing that I will be back again in the future.

Artisan Toasties at The Old Bakery at Kirkstall Deli Market
Crabby Melt from The Old Bakery at Kirkstall Deli Market

Trying to decide what I wanted to eat was a bit of a tall order, because there was so much that I wanted to try! However, after much deliberation (and the comforting thought that I can try something else next time), I went for a cheese toastie from The Old Bakery. But this wasn't any old cheese toastie - dubbed the "Crabby Melt", it was filled with fresh crab, spring onions, herbs, chipotle mayonnaise and three kinds of cheese on sourdough bread. I couldn't turn it down, could I? The toasties were grilled in front of a drooling audience, and the smell was just incredible. Considering how much I enjoy the ones from The Cheese Truck, I had high expectations from The Old Bakery; and it did not disappoint. It was stuffed to the brim with melted, gooey cheese and a very generous helping of crab - extremely tasty indeed. The chipotle mayonnaise added a bit of a kick, with the herbs and spring onions complementing the other flavours. I will definitely be back for another one of these!

Smak! Sausages at Kirkstall Deli Market
Smak! Sausages at Kirkstall Deli Market
Smokin Blues Sliders at Kirkstall Deli Market

In time, we were joined by two more friends and they had the daunting task of deciding what to eat! I have tried Smak! Sausages before, when I went to the outdoor screening of the film Halloween on (funnily enough) Halloween last year. I remember them being fantastic, and served with a giant pickled gherkin, you can't really go wrong. You could choose from the sausage of your choice being served in a Polish baguette or with sauteed potatoes, and the latter is what my friend went for, with fried onions on top. I cannot remember which sausage it was he chose in the end, but it was very spicy and he added to that by drowning it in hot sauce. I did try a bit and it was just as good as I remembered, if not better. My friend thoroughly enjoyed it, although he made the mistake of not having enough beer to wash it down with! Afterwards, Martin left and came back with three sliders from Smokin Blues, stationed along with The Hop Box outside the courtyard. These were small but mighty, and were devoured quicker than you can say "burger"! I had the "Smoked Cajun Chicken" one with lettuce and lime and chilli mayonnaise, and the other two were "Pulled BBQ Pork" with pickled cabbage and "Texas Beef Ribs" with pickled shallots and barbecue sauce - all equally delicious, and done just right. They were served in little brioche buns, which somehow worked, adding a hint of sweetness to an overall savoury dish.

Meringues from The Sawley Kitchen at Kirkstall Deli Market

After we had sat on the grass for a couple of hours and consumed a few more beers, it was time to head on to the local pub. Before I left, I made sure to grab some meringues from Sawley Kitchen before they sold out - a lot of their items had already gone! If I remember rightly, it was three for £5 and I got vanilla, raspberry and lemon. I have since eaten them and they're exactly how meringues should be - crisp on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle and of course - incredibly bad for you! I certainly didn't need three and I think if I buy more in the future I will stick to just one, but it would have been rude not to try more than one flavour, right? So, all in all we had a fantastic afternoon at the Kirkstall Deli Market, and we've made a pact to go every month until the end of the year. There is plenty more food that we want to try, and enjoying it in the sunshine with friends is a fine way to while away a few hours. Keep an eye on my Instagram over the next few months to find out what else I try!

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