If the accents, charming neighborhoods, and ease of transportation wasn’t already making me fall in love with London, The Borough Market finished it all for me. I would kill for a loft above or near this place. Like a giggling school girl, I was practically skipping around London after my encounter. Probably more than three times the size of Pike Place Market, The Borough Market is any foodie’s dream. Clusters, rows, and every direction you looked, there was a food stand with local artisan foods. To say I was overwhelmed by the place would be an understatement. I fell in love with the place before I had even gotten through a 1/3 of it. Here’s a taste of what I sampled and some stories behind the vendors I spoke to:
Cream Cheese rolled in ash
The first stand I stopped at. Are you really that surprised? Sampled some yummy cheeses, had a chat with the maker, but told myself not to buy anything to bring home until I had gone through the whole market. Too bad in the end, I never actually came back. The Market was much bigger than I had anticipated so I didn’t feel like walking back to get it. The cheeses for the most part was extremely palatable, creamy, and rich. Not too sharp or strong. I asked about the cream cheese rolled in the volcanic ash since it was only for sale and not to sample. The maker told me that the ash is meant to create a thin rind and helps keep acidity levels low in the ripening process. I wish she had some to sample, I was intrigued by this method, whether it be for aesthetic marketing reasons or for actual product use.
I must be slowly turning Italian because the first thing I bought in the market was Italian. A lover of porchetta, I was intrigued to try what Italians have been cooking up in London. Porchetta is normally served just on plain fresh bread, but this porchetta came with tomatoes, lettuce, and fresh mozzarella. I imagine these other ingredients were for mere presentation purposes. I was a bit disappointed with it to be honest. The porchetta didn’t have enough flavor and the mozzarella and tomatoes surprisingly took over most of the flavor. It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t taste like the porchetta I was used to having in Italy. Not enough salt and grease for me apparently. 🙂
What British daytime excursion wouldn’t be complete without some cider or a shanty? A shanty, I learned the previous night is a mix of cider and lemonade. Unfortunately, the stand I stopped at for cider was out of the ingredients. So I settled for their hoppiest cider, I’m not even sure which one it was…the bartender serving me (pictured above) was a bit of a grump, so I didn’t stay to chat which I was actually looking forward to talking about their brews. But once I got my cider, I went about my way sipping on my cider deciding which type of pie I should bring home for Tim.
Pies pies and more pies
What seemed like an endless supply of pies…I had a serious dilema. I LOVE savory pies, and I wish every neighborhood in Seattle had their own Pie. Since the English are known for their pies, I felt like I had to choose carefully. Debated on the award winning pies…but ended up settling on these pies from Pieminister. The guy selling them was charming and the pies had creative names and great descriptions. So I bought a couple to bring home for later.
If you know me at all you know I have an unhealthy infatuation with bread pudding. I will proudly say I am a bread pudding connisuer. What surprised me, was that I didn’t know it was a traditional english dessert. This excited me because I knew I would be having bread pudding more than once while I was in London. I purchased the one above for dessert, but you can read about my opinion on it later.
I didn’t find this cheese to be anything particularly special but thought I should make note of it here just because the idea of how the cheese is made is interesting. Originating from Veneto, Italy, during the last six months of the aging process, the cheese is soaked in red wine (usually merlot or cabernet). It’s meant to give it a fruity after taste, but it just seemed like sharper creamier cheddar to me. But really at this point, I had sampled so much food and was so full, I don’t think my pallet could handle anything more.
As I finally saw the exit for the Borough Market, one last item caught my eye as I wandered down the alley. For lack of better words, fancy/artisan sausages were being grilled and the smell was marvelous. One of the guys working talked me into getting one, even though I already thought I would burst from from the food I ate and sampled. But the sausage containing venison sounded too good to pass up. Cooked to order (medium for me), topped with coleslaw, mild verde and a sweet chili sauce….I really can’t begin to tell you how amazing it was. I felt like I was stumbling away from the market, but happy as a clam, and already excited to try to pies an desserts I brought home.