Last year, my mom took my brother and I to my favorite city in the world. With London serving as the world’s stage right now for the summer Olympics, I thought I might show you a tasty kaleidoscope that is the Borough Market. Hands down, it is the finest market I’ve visited so far. I remember descending down some steps and being greeted by the strong aroma of fried spicy meat coming from a giant size paella pan, sizzling with paprika red Spanish chorizo. Up ahead, a woman sold at least 30 different kinds of Turkish delights, the colors and the flavors were equally enchanting. I picked up some raspberry, lemon, pistachio, coconut, and the classic rosewater. Even more impressive was the selection of nuts, which was double the amount of the candy selection. To the right, the briny and clean smell of the packed oyster stand. Each oyster so big, you could barely fit one in your mouth. There was a German pastry stand, the homeliest fish I’ve ever seen, a guy that sold whatever type of fruit smoothie you could dream up, and the Thai curry stand, oh I just had to stop. The man had three huge vats (red, green, and white) that he was watching and stirring once in awhile. I watched as he added some chicken into the white one.
Next, a large section devoted to meat pies: wild boar, pheasant, chicken, ham, Scottish beef and even some venison. I bought a classic pork pie. A few steps from the main market was Neal’s Yard Dairy, cheese heaven. Interesting fact, our friends Andy and his wife Caitlin from Uplands Cheese worked at Neal’s Yard a few years ago. Their one of a kind and award winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve is actually available to buy in the shop. According to Caitlin, the only unpleasant thing about their experience in London was having to ride the Tube on their way home, smelly from working all day. I wonder how many polite ways a person might cover their nose?
We tasted about 20 different types of cheeses. I bought a piece of Tymsboro, a pyramid shaped goats cheese and a punch you in the face aromatic wedge of the Stinking Bishop, and a baguette. The latter was so stinky that it made my mom a bit angry. I believe she said “Why do you pretend to like this stuff?”. (She prefers the more polite kind of cheeses.) Besides the incredible selection of cheeses, Neal’s Yard had charcuterie and some gorgeous breads and pastries from Chef Fergus Henderson‘s St. John Bakery. After that we went next door to get some coffee from Monmouth (where they only serve single origin coffee). The line was incredibly long. It extended almost all the way to the main market, a good sign I hoped and it was.
We walked back to the seating areas, ate some lunch, and walked across London Bridge. I definitely missed a lot of stuff to see and to eat (as it always is with travel). The thing I love about most about markets is that no one is ever unhappy. Maybe a little bit from the initial hunger pangs but that could be remedied quite quickly. Next time, I will have Keith with me and we will spend an entire day at the market. I can’t wait!
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