A few weeks ago I attended the Bowhouse food weekend which is held once a month at the Balcaskie Estate in East Neuk Fife. The location is home to many family farms which grow fresh produce, aided by the fertile volcanic soil of the surrounding area.
The indoor market was filled with many fresh food vendors selling produce, bread, coffee, and many more market fresh treats. Several of the vendors only sell exclusively to these types of farm to table markets, making many of the products unique to the Bowhouse event.
The Bowhouse Balkaskie Estate location is also host to an array of food trucks and carts that sell hot food for lunch after shopping in the market; of which you can enjoy while listening to their live musicians. I chose to have a barbecue brisket sandwich which was paired with home made sauces and coleslaw, while our photography chief, Sammi, went for mac and cheese. The barbecue stand has been to events in St Andrews before and the owners were cheerful to chat about the origins of their business and authentic Texas meat smoker. However, all of the hot food options looked amazing and it was a difficult decision between barbecue brisket, stone fire pizzas, burgers, and pulled pork for lunch.
On the off chance that a day trip to a farmer’s market is not for you, they also have a petting zoo where you can meet some of the animals from their surrounding farm.
From chilli jam and chorizo pies to coffee, ice-cream and cocktails, all of the food that I tried was reasonably priced and delicious. If seafood is what you are after, Bowhouse visitors can even pre-order fresh langoustines to pick up from the vendors Langoustine the Box, when you arrive. Some recognisable St Andrews names are also showcased here, including brands such as I.J Mellis. One of the vendors that I talked to from Unorthodox Roasters was happy to give his professional advice about the best way to brew coffee at home with resources that students would have in their kitchens. His small batch coffees were popular among the shoppers and sold ground or in whole bean form.
I myself got a bit too excited and purchased an excess of items from the market including fresh bread from GH Barrett, fresh spiced blackberry jam from a vendor named Ovenstone Organics, and premixed cocktails from Milk Money Cocktails. All of the vendors were incredibly passionate and eager to talk to the shoppers about their unique products.
The French loaf bread that I purchased from GH Barrett was perfectly baked and was great for packed sandwiches the next day. I also used the spiced jam as filling for raspberry macaroons.
The market itself seems like it would take up your entire day, but it is surprisingly easy to get to. Instructions can be found on their website detailing the best ways to get to the market from St Andrews. I took the St Andrews to Edinburgh X60 bus and stopped at the Station Road stop in St Monas. From there, the market is just a 5 min walk down the road.
The next Bowhouse food weekend will be held on May 12 and 13 from 10 am to 4pm, making it the perfect de-stressing trip before the start of our exam period.
Its easy to get wrapped up in the stress of university life and forget about doing things that make you happy, but talking to the vendors at this market really reminded me of why I love cooking. The passion that these people bring is certainly felt and it is hard to leave the market with anything less than a curious excitement for what kinds of dishes your fresh new ingredients will bring you.