FOODSTUFF: Clever cupcakes and nibbles at The Palms Market

dsc_0005.jpg I can’t remember when cupcakes became trendy again, but isn’t this ‘Happy Birthday’ gift box a clever twist? It would make a fabulous gift for that friend who already has everything who’d appreciate something unusual. Stefanie Antonier (below right) of Tres Chic Catering Tres Chic adds a stylish European touch with her miniature birthday cupcakes in assorted flavours, sold at R75 per box. She also sells cupcakes individually, and this private chef, baker and caterer will happily pipe a different message in cake… dsc_0006.jpg

I found those cupcakes at The Palms Market in Woodstock last Saturday. This weekend gourmet space comes with plenty of free covered parking and you don’t need to arm-wrestle crowds to a stall. Isabella Niehaus is behind the market and the focus is on prepared foods to eat on the spot rather than on gourmet raw materials. dsc_0007.jpg But a few breads, cakes and savouries can be taken away. The outdoor fountain area is a good spot to chat with friends and to let littlies run around.

Other highlights: grilled Elgin free-range chicken wing skewers are ultra tender and tasty, with Darling Slow beer. Savoury nibbles are limited aside from boerie rolls, muffins and samosas. The friendly Plattelandse couple selling tempting curried mince and venison jaffles were apologetic that their bread was already plastered in margarine, but lost me as a customer. I’m a butter or nothing purist.
I preferred plainer biscuit-like round Liege waffle from The Wicked Waffles to the rectangular Brussels version with cream and (too watered down) Belgian chocolate sauce. The pickled fish we took home didn’t quite have the vinegar sweetness ratio right. But it’s those quirks that make this a gourmet market run by real people, not an impersonal supermarket. dsc_0003.jpg

THE PALMS MARKET, 145 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock Palms Mkt. Open every second Sat during winter, open every Sat from Nov 2012.