Curated is the word that springs to mind when visiting Altrincham Covered Market - it has a remarkable group of traders, each with something special to offer. Helmshore home-reared lamb is available from master butcher J&R Holt. Exceptional sourdough bread is made by Aidan Monks at Lovingly Artisan: try his Mature Cheddar and Chilli or Sultana and Rosemary, both gold-medal winners at the World Bread Awards. Chloe Robinson's stand is an appealing sight with its subtly coloured seasonal flowers and leaves that she makes into customised rustic bouquets, hand-tied and wrapped in hessian. For a more homely look, there is Louise at Oxeye Daisy in her potting shed surrounded by cottage garden plants.
You can also buy organic, locally-grown fruit and vegetables, tempting cheeses, home-made cakes and the freshest fish, but even more of a treat than the produce stalls are the traders selling goods that you won't easily find anywhere else. Small Step is Rachael Wong's zero-waste stall with refillable cleaning products, plastic-free toiletries, reusable beeswax food wraps and biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes as well as unpackaged pastas, seeds and grains to take away in your own containers. A jollier note is struck by Swank, where you can buy Susan Baxter' colourful vintage-style headwraps, sunglasses, crazily patterned socks and scarves. For the stylish male there are Lanx shoes, made in Whalley - proper hand-sewn boots and shoes such as the brand's signature brogues made with coloured tweed. Joe & Co. is another hard-to-find Lancashire brand selling linen and wool grandad shirts, and limited edition jeans in raw selvedge denim.
Next to the Market is the Market House, precursor of Mackie Mayor in Manchester (see ch. 61) - the success of all three is a tribute to the passionately regional, fiercely independent' philosophy of their founder Nick Johnson.