Ever since I first moved to Edinburgh, Scotland’s gorgeous capital, I’ve been in love with Stockbridge. One of Edinburgh’s most affluent and tranquil suburbs. Stockbridge is quaint yet has its own magical bustle. It’s Old Edinburgh meets New Edinburgh in style and atmosphere. It has an invisible forcefield that disconnects it from the rest of the city and when you walk through this barrier you feel the soothing effects of the area instantly (I’m not exaggerating). It features modern day brands but retains its own charm, never succumbing to complete retail modernisation.
Every Sunday the Stockbridge Market takes place. It’s an orgy of culinary delights, from homely Scottish recipes to Japanese cuisine and from delicious Highland home baking to great tasting healthy baked hipster alternatives. There are health juices, aromatic coffee, freshly baked 1kg bloomers (yes 1kg of bread!), pastries, cheeses and paella, as well dog treats and an array of home crafts and organic beauty products. I hate to whip out a cliché, but there is something here for everyone.
Last Sunday I trotted, sashayed, sauntered down into Stockbridge in high spirits on an otherwise dull, damp and miserable day. I felt great because I knew as soon as I walked through that barrier into the comforting arms of my favourite suburb I’d feel content, relaxed and carefree (I’m still not exaggerating). I walked around the corner of St Stephen’s Street onto Kerr Street and there it was, not quite a sea but perhaps a large pond of pointed tarpaulins and people spilling out into the street. I walked to the entrance nearest Saunders St and pushed my way into the gridlocked crowd. I had to go around the market three times before being content that I hadn’t missed something amidst the chatter and human traffic madness. Normally I would find a situation like that stressful and frustrating, but the Stockbridge vibes prohibit any anger from seeping out.
My haul was modest, mainly because I wasn’t in the market to spend big, but you could. You could do your full weekly shop here. One day I’ll realise that dream. My circuits got me a box of two delicious cakes from healthy cake sellers Grams, a chocolate protein ball and a magnificent chocolate matcha cake that unfortunately, fell victim to global warming before I got it home. Their raw snickers is their signature cake and it’s even tastier than a real snickers… how can that be? Before I got home and filled myself with cake / melted cake sludge, I tucked into a scrumptious quartet of organic, free range pork gyoza, courtesy of Harajuku Kitchen. The soy sauce and fresh coriander were a lovely touch and I took a seat out of the crowd to fill my stomach. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach and my fear of small portions is very real, but just four of these absolutely stuffed me.
The popularity of the market is really reassuring; people aren’t completely forgetting the importance of local produce and local business. The queues for the Gusto stall (selling mouth watering pulled pork sandwiches) and the Steam Punk coffee van were outrageous, and the banter around the bread stall was brilliant. You really couldn’t move for people, so I took a break and wandered into the Dene, discovered a Roman looking ruin I’d never seen before and a mini wooden walkway over the River Leith where all you can hear is the water and the birds.
Edinburgh is beautiful.