Tobacco Factory Market, Southville: Review

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We’ve noticed, over the years, that it can be notoriously difficult to get our friends who live north of the river to come south for a day or night out. I don’t think it’s anything against the south of the river itself – more a feeling that it’s too far to come, and that there’s nothing on the south side that can’t be found on the north.

Neither of those is true. Bedminster and Southville, for a start, are just a short walk from the city centre, there are plenty of bus routes that serve south Bristol, and even the taxis come down this way, don’t you know. And as for the second point – the lack of uniqueness – I have no words. If you want to know more about what south of the river has to offer, follow the relatively new South Bristol Rocks! account on Twitter – you’ll find plenty of sharing of venues, events and activities to entertain people of all ages and tastes.

I digress, slightly. What I’m actually here to talk about is one of my favourite things about Southville: the Tobacco Factory Market, which takes place every Sunday in the Tobacco Factory car park, sometimes even spilling out onto Raleigh Road itself.

 

Tobacco Factory Market

 

Every Sunday between 10am and 2.30pm, you’ll find up to around 40 stalls selling everything from plants and pies to paintings and preserves. There’s a real focus on locally sourced food, drink and crafts to promote buying local, and it’s a great chance to chat to the products’ creators to find out more about what you’re buying, directly from the horse’s mouth.

As well as the regular market, the market team also host one-off events throughout the year (see their listings here), including seasonal street food night markets, their Retroville vintage market, art markets, a Christmas gift market and more. At the start of October, it was the turn of their Harvest Market – and with the promise of a distinctly foodie theme, we headed on over.

And we weren’t disappointed. With some markets, I find that the stalls are pretty same-y: too many producers selling virtually the same product, where it’s obvious that the organisers have focused purely on filling the space, rather than diversity. Here, though, there was a bit of everything: fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables; breads, pastries and cakes; chocolate; cider; wine; cheese; preserves; sweets; soft drinks; beers; hot drinks; snacks…the list went on. And while the list of food and drink producers was longer than at the regular markets, the concept was the same. It’s somewhere you can buy produce that makes up your weekly shop, as well as treats and gifts – in my eyes, that’s what a local market should be about.

I’m not going to run through every stall in detail, but here were a few that caught our eye.

We loved the concept at Pip’s Real Hot Chocolate Co – solid chocolate discs in a range of flavours that you stir through hot milk to make amazing hot chocolate. They smelled amazing, and with flavours like black forest, cinnamon and cherry Bakewell on offer, we had to buy some to take home.

 

Tobacco Factory Market - Pip's Real Hot Chocolate Co

 

Bordeaux Quay were there, offering a vast range of breads and both sweet and savoury pastries – we picked up a delicious half-focaccia which was a bargain at £2, as well as a venison sausage roll that we shared, its flavours deep and rich and herby.

 

Tobacco Factory Market - Bordeaux Quay

 

Cheese-wise, we bought from two big names that will be familiar to many in Bristol, starting with Trethowan’s Dairy, who make a truly beautiful Gorwydd Caerphilly. We spent ages chatting to the lady behind the stall about the way in which their cheeses are made, and were treated to a sample of their new washed rind cheese, Wendolyn, which was fantastic.

A purchase from Bath Soft Cheese was a must, too – their tasters were flying out when we were there. We left with a chunk of their new Merry Wyfe (which won Gold in the Organic category at this year’s Global Cheese Awards) – it’s pressed and washed in cider for a fantastic flavour.

 

Tobacco Factory Market - Trethowan's Dairy

Tobacco Factory Market - Bath Soft Cheese

 

Next on the list were two Scotch eggs from Chin! Chin! – the pork & black pudding and the pork & apple still with lovely soft yolks, and flecked with chunks of black pudding and apple respectively for bursts of flavour.

 

Tobacco Factory Market - Chin! Chin!

 

I totally forgot to take a photo of our other purchase, which I’m gutted about…but if you haven’t yet discovered Jack-Flap, you need to head over to the market and have a taste of their savoury flapjacks. We particularly loved the cheese and onion ones, topped with seeds for added crunch, they’re seriously moreish!

The list of stallholders is updated each week, and you’ll find them posted on the Tobacco Factory Market Facebook page so you can see who’ll be there before you arrive. There’s always street food on offer too, from the likes of Agnes Spencer, Parson’s Nose, Socarrat, Rolling Italy and Pieminister – plus outdoor seating so you can enjoy a bite to eat while soaking up the atmosphere.

If you’re a fan of the market, or know someone who is, you can also buy market gift vouchers which are accepted by every single trader – simply head to the Tobacco Factory cafe bar to purchase.

 

Tobacco Factory Market - Gift Voucher

 

It’s a market that really does have a true community feel, regularly changing stalls, fantastic one-off special events and a great location – what’s not to love? You can follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to find out more about upcoming events…and if you’re one of those who tends not to head south of the river, the Tobacco Factory Market is a pretty damn good excuse to change that, pronto.

 

Please note – we received vouchers to spend at the market, but these in no way influenced our opinion. The market team did not see this post before it was published.

 

 

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