Sunday, February 5, 2012

Borough Markets Adventure

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the famous food haven that is London's Borough Market. My companion was Kristy, my cousin who gets (almost) as excited by food as I do and is up for trying anything, making her the perfect food market accomplice.

As soon as I crossed the road from London Bridge station the smell of barbecue and Spanish food hit me. "It smells like meat! Charred meat!" I said. I was quite excited.

We had a great day ambling around the different market areas, tasting a ridiculous amount of cheese and just devouring food in general, all while taking in the colours, the people, the cultures, the traditions. There were so many gorgeous, vibrant picture opportunities. I tried to capture them as best I could but (disclaimer) I don't think my photography skills did this place justice...

The Borough Market has a long history, having been the location of a food market in different shapes and forms since the 13th century. Given this, the market has a rich, bustling, heritage feel to it and there is a massive variety of food available - including fully feathered pigeons if that's your thing.

There are also some gorgeous fruit and vegetable stalls. I think fruit and veg stalls were the winners on the day when it came to displaying their produce. They have the benefit of colour to work with and the stalls at Borough Market made good use of this, piling the produce high and wide. Like with these oranges.

And all these tomatoes.

And these perfect cabbages.

We tried cheese and bought lard(!) from this happy man below. The lard was, as bad as it might sound to some, pork fat sold in paper thin strips like prosciutto. We were dubious about it and were standing there discussing it's existence when this moustachioed man kindly offered us a taste. We were both sold on the spot. It had a strong, salty, smokey bacon flavour and it was really, really good. He suggested we serve it on hot toasted bread so that it melts into the bread like butter. How could we say no to that?

If buying lard isn't your thing, there are numerous pastries to try. The best I had were some tiny caneles, little doughy pastries with a tender custardy centre and a thick caramelised crust. They didn't look like much but they tasted incredible and I intend on doing more research on these little gems. If you find them and eat them!

My final purchase was a loaf of the pillowy yet crusty Rosemary and Olive Oil bread that you can see below. I spent the next few days eating it with my Aunt's Parsnip Soup and fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and olive oil. I was a happy girl.

If you love food and love history, a visit to the Borough Markets while in London is essential. We went on a Saturday and it does get quite busy after midday so I'd recommend getting there around 10am if you can. This way you have a little more time to peruse and chat to the vendors. It's still a great vibe once it gets busy though.

The markets are open Thursday 11am - 5pm, Friday 12pm - 6pm and Saturday 8am - 5pm. You'll find all the information you need here. Enjoy!

P.S. One last photo, just because I think this girl looks cool.

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