There is nothing quite like the sight and fragrance of delicious looking fare when you are hungry. The different aromas seem to hide behind each other, and suddenly appear as if on a special round-about. The moment you start to follow one another summons you with a delectable urgency. And there were so many to identify – glorious pancakes with a wide choice of fillings, freshly baked breads just waiting for the spreads to melt into their warmth, wicked sausage rolls, fresh biscuits, cakes and tarts, a range of smaller delicacies – including scrumptious looking pies, melktarts, pastries and ‘tasties’ that simply begged to warm the hand and delight the mouth. And this was before I found the tables groaning under masses of cheeses, the biltongs, fresh hot coffee with its own deep aroma, and the ready-made meals for one.
On top of all the food stalls there were the others of a non-edible variety. I had an absorbing conversation with a young man from Zimbabwe who was selling vibrantly coloured tray and table cloths that he had made. Then there was the lady selling very attractive coasters and table mats both of which looked like small carpets. I particularly liked the coasters as they were larger than normal, would absorb any condensation and remain on the table when you lifted your glass! A selection of colourful hand-made pottery items, artwork, tables packed with ‘rings and things’, and others, completed a relaxed and sociable gathering.
This is the Mediterranean Market that meets every Saturday morning in the Melrose Arch Piazza from 09h00 to 14h00. Some of the products are said to have originated in Italy, Greece, Portugal, France and surrounding Mediterranean countries but, obviously, with the addition of some more local items and flavours. Although not large, it is worth a visit just to look around. However it would be virtually impossible to come away without both sampling some of the wares and carrying others off to enjoy a bit later by oneself or, even better, with friends. Think twice, though, about purchasing any of the foodstuffs as gifts – that might be pushing your self control a little bit too far!
I also discovered that Exclusive Books had sales tables set out on the floor above, and spent another half-hour happily browsing. One book in particular caught my eye as it dealt with famous wartime speeches and words of encouragement, including the classic remark, “Retreat? But we’ve only just got here!” Reading snatches from it I was reminded of how some people have the capacity to inspire others. These are not only the great leaders – although their words tend to be the one’s recorded for posterity. At all levels there are those who, by word or action, and often both, encourage people to carry on, to have another attempt at something, and even to have another go at life. It is a very special quality, and one which we could all exercise far more often.
So give yourself time because the surrounding shops are also open and are worth having a look at. Then, of course, there are the restaurants themselves. Many people were sitting outside in the warm sunshine enjoying coffee and breakfast, and a quiet chat, or merely wandering around the open spaces appreciating the sense of freedom and quietness. Pay it a visit – I think you’ll enjoy. And if you don’t – well then it just goes to show doesn’t it!