Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What Sharon did next

Closing the café left me with a huge hole in my life. I've filled that hole by spending more time with family and friends, focusing more on my journalistic writing (something has to pay the bills!), relaxing and thinking about where I want my life to take me in the future. 

It sounds crazy but I actually still have a lot of time left over after doing all of that, which goes to show that running a café is a whole lot more work than anyone realises. It may also sound crazy to anyone who knows how burned out I was when the café closed that I still yearn to work with food, not just writing about food, but actually producing food for people to eat. 

This is why I've returned to Dingle Farmers' Market where I have a weekly stall selling baked goods every Friday from 9 am until 2 pm. I've been back since the beginning of May and have been experimenting with different flavours and options to suit my customers' tastes ever since. 

I've brought back old favourites that people loved when I last had my stall there three years ago and I've started introducing some gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free treats to cater for the growing number of people who are careful about what they eat for health or philosophical reasons (a growing number of people that now includes me).
It's been great to be back. I've re-engaged with old customers, met new ones, enjoyed the banter with fellow stall holders and I'm really appreciating once again doing something with food.

Here are some pictures I've taken of my cakes and my stall in the past few weeks, just to give you an idea of what I've been doing:

Chocolate cupcakes with a creamy peanut butter icing - these contain butter, chocolate and cream (all things I shouldn't eat) and I seriously struggle not to scoff the lot!
The most adorable marzipan bees to go on top of my spiced honey cupcakes
Dan Lepard's chocolate custard muffins topped with chocolate ganache - chocolate on chocolate; it's a classic!
Zingy with lemon and always a winner
No flour, no dairy yet oh-so deliciously good
My white chocolate and raspberry cupcakes are on the left at the back and they have once again proved to be my bestsellers. The mini cheesecakes and banoffee cupcakes are pretty popular too!

I have some questions for you before I bid you farewell today:

1: Based on your own experience of cake eating, what flavours and combinations would you like to see for sale at farmers' markets? I'd be particularly interested in hearing about options that are gluten, dairy and sugar free.

2: I'm also thinking of signing up with EatWith and hosting supper club evenings in my home. Do you think people would be interested in this? Being at the market is not really enough to satisfy my cravings to feed people while enjoying their company and I think this new concept could be just the thing for me. Has anyone tried it out before? Or do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

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