‘If you don’t love it, you don’t do it’ says Norwich market stallholder
- Credit: Geraldine Scott
Whether you are a vegetarian, a vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free you are not stuck for eatery options in Norwich.
But as one of the newer kids on the block celebrates their first year of trading on Norwich market, they spoke to us about what they had to offer.
Paul Dacre, 56, and his wife Marie set up Norfolk Kind Food in 2013, and started touring markets and events such as the Royal Norfolk Show.
With everything from breads, cakes, and biscuits, to alcohol-free beer the stall in row F is an Aladdin's Cave for anyone with a dietary requirement.
'We'd been doing the business for about two years before moving onto the market, building the product range,' said Mr Dacre, who has a background in retail.
'We needed a central point for business and I wanted to be in an open space.'
And since opening the shutters last year the business has gone from strength to strength.
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'It's been really good,' said the father-of-three. 'We've had lots of support, we've built up quite a good customer base.
'We get people for their lunch and we get a nice family setting too as we've got a place for people to sit.'
And a family feel was a theme on the stall, as while Mr Dacre spends a lot of time on the market itself, 43-year-old Mrs Dacre - who is due to give birth to the couple's fourth child in three weeks time - works hard behind the scenes in the bakery attached to their Norwich home.
The pair built the bakery from scratch, to make sure there was no cross contamination. And now, working together, the family make everything fresh every day using local ingredients - and those which are in season.
'If you don't love it you don't do it,' Mr Dacre added.
A traditional bakery with an unusual twist
Mr Dacre said he liked to offer traditional products, which those who shop at his stall might otherwise miss.
One example was a bakewell tart, at £3.50. He said: 'It's gluten-free, it's dairy-free, it's quite a traditional item.'
He said there was a tendency with businesses like his to go off the wall with flavours but he preferred the tried and tested recipes, naturally with a few tweaks to suit people's diets.
The same was true of his vegan pizza, popular with workers on their lunch breaks at £3.50. And of his lemon meringue pie at £2. 'We make every bit of it,' he added.
As well as those favourites, Mr Dacre launched a new batch of vegan bread this week.
'It's quite difficult,' he said. 'It takes a lot of experimentation to get the ingredients right.'
Why the market matters
Mr Dacre agreed with many other traders, that variety is the spice of life when it comes to the market.
'I think there's a lot of variety of stalls, ' he said.
'But I think you need to see an influx of people shopping here to make traders want to come on the market.'
Worries about out-of-town shopping centres taking businesses out of town were shared by Mr Dacre.
He said there should be more done to encourage new traders, such as a temporary rent freeze so new stalls could get started,
'The market managers should be based on the market for a couple of hours a day,' he said.
'So that traders and customers have got somewhere to go to give a complaint or make suggestions.'
He pointed to an empty stall opposite his own which had double glazed windows. He said it would be perfect for an office.
'The public has a lot to say about the market,' he said.
'And if we don't have the shoppers, we don't have the market.'
He said he saw the city becoming a destination where people wanted to come.
'It's very cosmopolitan, very foodie,' he added.
'And that's not a bad thing. It's become a very cool place to live.'