The Italian job

Outdoor food markets are bringing an international flavour to South Chingford, says Arnie Hemmes

 Italia in Piazza

The Italia in Piazza market held in Albert Crescent, South Chingford

It’s early morning, and yet Albert Crescent, in the heart of South Chingford, is a flurry of activity as the stall holders of the Italian market are spreading out their delicious wares, ready for the day ahead.

And what a splendid day it turned out to be! For the second time in six months, Italia in Piazza transformed our corner of London into a bustling market with an authentic Mediterranean feel.

For most Italians food is a serious matter, something that becomes immediately apparent by the pride the stall holders of this Italian market take in their produce. They all have an infinite knowledge of Italian food and are more than happy to share this with their visitors. They are passionate about fresh produce and travel frequently around their native Italy to source the best they can find.

There are stalls with an abundance of delicious cheeses and mouth watering soft nougat, both originating from Lombardy. The amazing array of pasta and sauces are produced in Puglia, the same area where the wide selection of extra virgin olive oil is sourced. The bread stall offers the most delicious home-baked breads and it proves to be impossible to walk past the pizza stall without sampling one of their freshly-made slices.

There are meats, irresistible homemade antipasti and olives, pesto, chillies, a wide selection of the most delicious sweets and much, much more. And perhaps best of all, the sun is shining and all around me people are chatting, eating and sampling food and generally enjoying themselves.

The idea of hosting country-specific markets at Albert Crescent was the brainchild of the founder members of Love South Chingford, a campaign to rejuvenate and improve our high street. Hosting these markets is far from the only thing the team is working on, but it has already proved to be popular; on both occasions residents and visitors alike came out in force.

It shows our community appreciates events like these and there are now plans to expand the size of the markets. Hosting regular markets is a first step towards restoring the appeal of our own high street and ultimately Love South Chingford hopes this will attract more of the type of quality shops the residents of South Chingford want.

Italia in Piazza is certainly not meant as a market for your weekly shop. Instead it’s a rare treat to sample food that can only be found in the Italian regions where it is sourced from, an opportunity to try out new and unknown tastes, a chance to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy time in the community, with the community.

Job well done, South Chingford!


The next market planned for South Chingford is in August. For more information:

Visit www.lovesouthchingford.com

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