A Taste of Torrington 2023

Another day, another big local food and drink market; hurrah! One of my favourite food and drink pastimes is popping along to markets/festivals and taking all the wonderful edible and drinkable things home in either my memory or my trusty backpack. So when the opportunity arose at the beginning of the soggiest March ever to visit the super local, small and quirky town of Torrington for their “A Taste of Torrington” market, I was there in a flash, with my backpack replacing an over the top cape.

Sometimes even the backpack isn’t enough!

A short drive from the little white town of Bideford, Torrington is known for being a traditional, proper family town with a thriving community surrounding food, drink and all things in between. A main focal point of the humble town is the Great Torrington Pannier Market. Full of local traders on a daily basis, it was one of three venues on this (surprisingly dry) Saturday in March showcasing all our local area had to offer. With the second and third venues of the Town Hall and Castle Hill Community Centre in close proximity, you got some steps in whilst not having to lug your excellent purchases around for miles on end; the joy of living in such a quaint area! Plus, the majority of my husband’s family call Torrington their home and have done so for many years, which means it’s definitely worth a visit; they’re a hoot! And there are bloody hundreds of them.

Inside Torrington Pannier Market!

Yes, I would love a Brownie!

Before detailing more on the fabulous festival and to ensure I was fully fuelled for my upcoming venture around the town, I took the opportunity to visit my awesome friend Tineke, of Tineke Cooks, a cookery school in the heart of Torrington itself. With her door open all day to welcome visitors to visit and learn about her small, but hugely mighty, cookery school, the smell of her freshly cooked indulgent brownies cemented my visit. Along with a lovely mug of hot fresh lemon tea and a good old catch up, it was the perfect start to my solo foodie venture! But, most importantly, Tineke offered cutlery to enjoy my rich brownie with. If that isn’t a proper cookery school, then I don’t know what is!

Tineke Cookery School and that amazing brownie!

Chocolate, Chilli Sauce and Sourdough

It is amazing sometimes how much you can fit into smaller than average spaces, for which I have three examples. First, my zippy blue Swift may look small from the outside, but it is, in fact, a Tardis, minus the ability to travel through time with some odd looking individuals. Second, I sometimes amaze myself, as well as others, with how much food I can consume in one go or across a period of time. And finally, the three Taste of Torrington venues that crammed in more traders than you could shake a cake fork at (always eat cake with a fork, always). From chocolate, chilli sauce and the freshest olive sourdough loaf all crafted on Exmoor, to a full blown hog roast, cider, candles, arts and crafts and so much more that I can’t even remember!

As you walked into each venue, your ears were greeted by the buzz of customers and stallholders chatting as exciting goods were purchased from the talented individuals, whilst your nose was bombarded with an array of aromas and your eyes an abundance of produce and handmade items from all angles. Chatting to the amazing people behind the businesses and learning about what they do is always my favourite part (well, apart from the eating and drinking, obviously, but that’s a given!) and it was another great privilege to pick the brains of those I have met before and new faces I was ready to pounce upon with my phone and bank card in tow.

Every stall had something to offer beyond just what they were proudly showcasing; creative business cards pinpointing the most important details so you won’t forget them (I am always popping them into my backpack!), if it’s a food or drink stall, samples of their products to entice you to put your hand in your pocket (I was guilty of this, but came away with a deliciously punchy sweet chill sauce!) and finally, smiles! So many smiles from those behind the stall as well as in front of it. Smiling because you’ve supported their small business. Smiling some more because you damn well did.

It’s difficult to support small all the time, but when you’re able to, it makes you feel pretty awesome and, I imagine, it makes the small business you’ve supported feel that a hundred times more too. I, for one, look forward to another Taste of Torrington in the future because it tasted pretty damn good!

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