Normally, my Saturday morning routine involves a trip to the farmers’ market with Mr. KitchenOperas, to pick up my food from the week straight from the farmers. But last Saturday took me away from home, and into the heart of London.
So what was I to do, but meet up with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Francesca (who is currently living in London), and go to market with her!
Our market for the morning: Borough Market, in the southeast end of London. Getting to visit felt like being a part of the city, rather than being a tourist onlooker. It was a perfect way to spend a morning, surrounded by food, farmers, fisherman, and other producers, and chatting away with Francesca. We had plenty of catching up to do, but kept interrupting ourselves to get excited at the food on offer!
Borough Market is London’s oldest food market; a market has been on this site for over 1000 years! How awesome to be a part of a history like that! The stalls tend to be run by the producers, with a focus on environmentally sustainable methods and packaging.
In order to take it all in, we had to start with a drip coffee at Monmouth Coffee. The focus on coffee is on taste and origin (while caring about fair-trade and sustainability): they aim to find coffee beans from single farms or coops, and their care shows. This was the single best cup of coffee I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve been totally spoiled for coffee forever more.
Caffeinated and happy, we were off to market! Our first stop: Ginger Pig — butchers focused on nose-to-tail eating and farming their own heritage and native breeds.
If you eat gluten, they have created a good-looking range of pies:
and of course, traditional sausage rolls:
Onwards on our market journey, as we were looking for supplies for a picnic lunch! So we had to check out all the fresh produce. I love checking out markets around the world to see all the things we don’t get easily at home — like samphire (aka. sea asparagus):
or these gorgeous greengages (dessert plums, which I only know of through following my favourite British chef, Nigel Slater — and by the way: I think you could easily use oats instead of flour in his Almond Greengage Crumble for gluten-free deliciousness; and his dessert of Poached Plums with Lemongrass is totally going on my to-do list.)
These French radishes simply had to come home with us… they were spicy!
Off to see all the eggs:
And a stop at the fishmongers — who focus on sustainable methods (like hand-catching and diving for scallops):
Before we left, we had to make sure we were fortified — so a stop at New Forest Cider got us each a pint of unpasteurised cider made from apples from their own orchards:
On our way out of the market, we stopped at Neil’s Yard Dairy (which will get a post all to itself — stay tuned!), and walked by the greenhouse-like area where you can sit with your provisions and enjoy a meal right in the market.
But we had a different spot in mind, so we walked back up to the Thames, passing this building along the way:
And parked ourselves on a bench in front of the Tate Modern for a serious cheese picnic. We had enjoyed the cheese & radishes so much, that the Ginger Pig pie went home with Francesca for dinner!
HOURS later we dusted ourselves off, and called it a job well done.
Borough Market, I love you. I’ll be back.