Markets, Manor and more as foodie favourites return

The Chimney Cakes stall at St Albans Farmers' Market.

The Chimney Cakes stall at St Albans Farmers' Market. - Credit: Archant

Local Foodie writer Becky Alexander welcomes back some old favourites as lockdown is eased...

After months of closure, the farmers’ markets are back! I went along to the St Albans market on Sunday, and it had such a lovely relaxed atmosphere, with all the stalls spaced along St Peter’s Street, so plenty of room for looking and queuing – I preferred it to the usual set-up!

You could buy hot food from Wood-fired Pizza, Peru Sabor and Delhi Streetfood, and all sorts of delicious cheeses, fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and more.

Longshore Seafood were back, with Norfolk crab, lobster and shrimps and was very popular. Meah’s sauces, which is always a favourite; just add vegetables, paneer, chickpeas, fish or meat to these for an easy, flavourful meal.

There was a stall with a great selection of apple strudels and pastries, as well as chimney cakes. I need to go back for those when I have lost some COVID-weight! You could also buy Wobbly Bottom Cheese, Chiltern Brewery beers, Brown’s Bread, Totally Cultured vinegars and sauerkrauts, Lime Tree pies, Just Biscuits, Foxholes Farm meats and cheeses, and more.

I was really pleased to be able to buy granary bread from Redbournbury Mill too, and it was so much more relaxed than queuing up for a supermarket. There was live music, coffee and plants too. Go early if you want it to be very quiet (it opens from 8am) and the next one is Sunday 12 July 12.

Harpenden farmers’ market will be open on Sunday June 28 (10am-2pm). It will be moved to the Common to give everyone more space, and there will be a one-way system. Harpenden won’t have hot food. After the last three markets were cancelled, the stallholders will be very glad to be back trading and seeing their old customers.

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I was so pleased to see some of the hot food stalls open at the Wednesday market in St Albans. Comida Brasil, Rolling Burritos and Papa Paella are back! They are perfect for takeaway, of course, and with only these three open at the moment, there is space to spread out and queue safely.

If you are working at home and missing your lunchtime streetfood, head to town for a take-out lunch. Papa Paella is a favourite with my teens (we order the vegetarian and the chicken and the chorizo) and it reheats easily if you want to eat at home. Papa Paella are at the White Horse in London Colney on Saturdays.

Rothamstead Manor in Harpenden has an amazing team of chefs and you can now buy their lunches to take away. Cottage pie, baked cod and vegetable moussaka are just some options, and how about cherry cheesecake too? A short walk from Harpenden town centre and with plenty of parking, this is a very easy option if you are bored of cooking for yourself, or working nearby. Prices are very reasonable, with main meals at £7.50 and puds around £1.50.

The Smallford Farm Shop has reopened! This is a great place to shop, with plenty of parking, and close to the Alban Way if you prefer to cycle. With a spacious shop, it is very easy to socially distance, and they do amazing home-grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergines, which are perfect right now. Ideal for low food miles. The café is not open for sitting in, but you can get coffee and snacks to take away, and there a few benches outside.

Lussmanns has been doing well with its dining at home range, and has now also started selling barbecue food outside the St Albans restaurant at the weekends – perfect for taking

away, to perhaps sit in the park. Check their social media for timings and menus.

DavVero is a very popular Italian restaurant at the Quadrant in St Albans, and it is tricky to get a table in normal times. They have just launched a click and collect service which is easy to use on their website The menu includes gamberoni piccanti, pizzas, mare pasta, pollo Milanese, Sicilian lemon cheesecake and homemade tiramisu.

If you fancy some delicious Chinese food, The Regent Chinese takeaway in Southdown has reopened. 01582 760056. I am sure locals will be happy to order their favourites again!