7am on Saturday morning and our alarm goes off – whilst our friends are nursing hangovers or having a lie-in, Saturday is another school day for us, or to be more precise… market day. Ross gets up first and makes us a cup of tea to have in bed whilst we check the weather forecast one final time before the day ahead. Checking Saturday’s weather several times a week has become a bit of an obsession as wind and rain can have a serious effect on how busy the market is.
We leave our flat in Newington Green in East London and head towards London Fields, both our Kitchen Space and Broadway Market are based here which is great as it’s just a 10-minute drive away. We are passionate about Hackney and our local area. Newington Green, where we have made our home, has a fabulous history and after years of neglect it emerged as a vibrant, multi-cultural and creative community.
After picking up our product, handcrafted gourmet marshmallows, we park up as close to the market as possible to unload and start to set up. Ross normally makes the mallows on Thursdays or Fridays so they are super fresh for market day. How much he makes and which flavours we go for depends on the season (and the weather forecast). We usually make seven different varieties for the market and try to choose seasonal fruit combinations to go alongside our signature flavours; The Stokey (peanut butter mallow topped in milk chocolate), The Canonbury (rosewater with a pistachio praline) and The Kensington (French almond and sour cherry). You may have noticed – all of our marshmallows are named after a different part of London, we feel this gives them an identity and promotes our unique brand further. At some point during set-up one of us will crack and go and buy our first coffee of the day from Climpson’s Coffee Stand, I will usually sneak a Peanut Butter marshmallow to enjoy with my coffee for breakfast (‘eating the profits’ as Ross would say).
Once our set-up is complete we start to package our parcels from that week’s online orders from Yumbles.com. It is usually pretty quiet first thing on Saturday mornings so it is a good use of our time. We also prepare our wholesale orders; we have recently started supplying two local cafés, T & Shop in Newington Green and Blighty Coffee in Finsbury Park.
The market is busier throughout the afternoon and it has a great atmosphere with live music and chatter, it also has the best people-watching in London. We always have tasters out and we let people try them whilst explaining how our marshmallows are completely handcrafted, fresh and gluten-free. We also explain how we use real fruit and natural colours to create the brilliant flavour combinations.
Ross is our head chef and the creative brains behind the mallows, new product development is his favourite part of what he does and making marshmallows is creative yet incredibly scientific. Getting the flavor combination right is so important as marshmallows can easily become too sweet. I think our best ones are the ones where he combines sweet, sour and a little bit of salt. For example he has recently been developing some new Christmas ones and my favorite so far, The Clerkenwell, combines sweet maple syrup and cinnamon marshmallow with a slightly salty pecan praline and sour dried cranberries. It is truly delicious. People often also comment on how beautiful our marshmallows are as Ross gets pretty creative with layering flavours and colours, using pralines, chocolate and chopped nuts and fruit to create texture and toppings for each mallow. It is much more time consuming than making plain flavoured marshmallows but we believe it sets us apart from the rest. Ross studied Fine Art at university and people often say his marshmallows are works of art in their own right, he is such a perfectionist that it is in his nature to always make the best possible product he can.
Unless we sell out early, we finish up at the market when it closes at 5pm. We are usually far too tired for cooking on a Saturday so we often pop out for a quick dinner. From there we would go straight out joining friends in a bar in Dalston or even just the Shakespeare Pub near our flat. Whether it is 11pm or 3am once we get home to bed we always crash out, fast asleep as soon as our heads hits the pillow; Saturdays are always very busy days.
Can’t make it to Broadway Market? Ross and Amy’shandcraftedgourmet marshmallows are available online from Yumbles.com.