Kat Di Clemente on a new food-focused makers’ market

If you’re feeling like you need a boost on a Thursday night, a friendly face or possibly a helping hand with dinner, once a month you can turn up to the Makers’ Monthly Market in Charlbury, near Chipping Norton and find a bustling little social gathering offering all of those things.

We launched the first market in September. The idea was to create a space that could showcase local artisan crafts and food businesses, and bring the community together in a fun and relaxed environment.

We’ve been thrilled with the response from customers so far and this month’s market is going to be the biggest and best yet.

The evening market is not your usual craft fair or farmers market. With live music, a pop-up restaurant, and a bar, you can literally turn up, eat, drink, and be merry.

The focus is on sustainable, eco-friendly produce, and all of the Makers come from a 30 mile radius of Charlbury.

There’s a bar, a pop-up restaurant Fab Cooks and a local makers’ market.

If you have children then you’re in luck, the whole market is child friendly and there’s a special children’s space for creating, playing and eating. A ‘K!DZ’ creative corner means kids have somewhere to hang out and play, as well as high chairs, breast-feeding cushions and soft baby area included. Entry to the market is free.

We live in a sleepy village with not much happening but we’re right next door to lively creative Charlbury, which plays host to many festivals, markets and other community-led social events.

At a family supper we came up with the idea to create this event, as a social space for Charlbury and surrounding villages to get together and support sustainable living.

As a three generation family business, with English, Italian and Nepalese origins. we incorporate our many different skills and backgrounds into the Makers’ Monthly Market.

Clare, my cousin spends her time working with the poorest countries in their response to climate change, so was keen to be part of offering a creative and sustainable way of shopping that was fun and relaxing for those with busy days.

Patricia, Clare’s mother and my aunt is a renowned silversmith who has semi-retired but continues to make inspiring pieces whilst also being active in Charlbury’s Art Society.

Her own interest in eating well but cooking for one means she keeps an eye on making sure that the older generation also get something useful from the market.

Deep is Clare’s husband and half the foodie mastermind behind the pop-up restaurant, Fab Cooks.

Pradeep runs the Bread Shed – creating delicious sourdough bread, using only local organic flours, salt and wild yeast.

Deep’s process ensures almost everyone can eat this bread by fermenting the dough over 24 hours so that the gluten is broken down and then baking it in a wood fired oven.

Deep even chops his own wood (locally sourced and sustainable of course).

His bread is on sale at the market, and he works with Fabio, my husband in creating an exciting menu for Fab Cooks with flavours from around the world, catering to vegan as well as sourcing local (hopefully lower carbon) meats for the carnivores.

Fabio is (probably very obviously) Italian and he’s a chef by trade.

He is in charge of sourcing exciting local produce (this month, Cling Clang Farm’s wild boar) and turning it into culinary masterpieces.

He fuses his love for Italian food with Cotswold artisanal foods, traditional English cooking and Pradeep’s Nepali flavours.

Between them, Fab Cooks is going from strength to strength.

I am always trying to keep them entertained while feeding them healthy food and (fingers crossed) looking like things are at least semi-under control.

I find the food at soft plays is always disappointing and unhealthy and taking the children out to eat in pubs or cafés is always hard work with other diners giving disapproving glances.

It was important to me to create somewhere that parents can take young children with ease, feeding them as well as the family and having some of that all-important ‘you time’.

From 2019 onwards, The Makers Monthly Market will be held on the second Thursday of every month at Charlbury’s Memorial Hall from 5-8pm.

Go along: The next market, ‘A Very Charlbury Christmas’ is on December 20 from 5-8pm at the Charlbury Memorial Hall. Come along for a glass of mulled wine and some Christmas spirit