To all the fellow travellers out there, here is the story: I was born a foodie.
A (very) picky one, to be more precise. And you can blame my paternal grandmother for this, as she was the one always running into the kitchen to cook something special for me every time I was fussy about the meals prepared for the whole family. Probably a mistake, I would say.
The good thing is that I developed a taste for healthy food – I eat loads of fruits and vegetables and always prefer homemade food vs ready-to-eat from the supermarkets/fast-foods.
Oh, yes, and I have a sweet tooth as well– hmmm, ok… maybe a few sweet teeth…
Now, that I’ve confessed my food creed, you’ve figured out why my very first article on this blog will take us to a place that no genuine foodie can miss.
Ladies and gentlemen (let the drums roll!): the one and only, Borough Market!
As one of the biggest and oldest markets in London, dating back to the 13th century, for an avowed foodie like me, this place is a kind of Paradise on Earth! A Paradise that happens to be a 5-minutes stroll from my office, so I go there a few times per week, in my lunch breaks – and I go even there is nothing I want to buy, but just to walk around, feel the energy of the place and cheer my senses.
The place became more sough-after only a few years ago, once the Bridget Jones books and films hit the market – yeap, you can see the famous pub (“The Globe”) and the windows of the flat where Bridget used to live in the movies right here, in Borough Market! (The flat itself cannot be visited, as far as I’ve read, it belongs to the pub, but it is empty and not used for anything).
In Borough Market, you can find anything your heart (and belly) wishes. Cooked food from all the corners of this word – from rich Spanish paella to spicy Indian curries, from Turkish kebabs to German Bratwursts, from British fish and chips to American burgers, from East European bites to Scottish eggs, from roasted Herdwick lamb coming down from the Lake District to aromatic Chinese duck wrap with plum sauce. And the list can go on and on…
French (smelly) cheese and saucissons, Italian oils, balsamic vinegars and truffles, all kind of breads you could imagine, Greek olives, mustards with flavors that never ever crossed your mind, fresh fruits and vegetables, rare-breed meats, fish and seafood that are still alive, spices you have never heard before – they are all there in Borough Market, begging you to take them home (or at least, this is what I am imagining I can hear when passing by…).
Then, the cheery on top, there are the sweet treats: fudges, cakes, pies, biscuits and cookies, chocolate coated dried fruits and nuts, ice cream, fresh smoothies and juices. Oh, My God! It doesn’t make your life simple at all, isn’t it?
To give you a hand, I will tell you my top 3 favorite things I usually buy from Borough Market.
1. Artisanal bread. You can find a wide variety, made of different flours and with a wide array of fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and other spices. Personally, I have a crush on walnuts bread – as simple as this, only walnuts (not caramelized walnuts thou, I didn’t quite liked that one…)
2.Paella. There are 2 places serving paella in Borough Market, cooked in huge pans – one is generously topped with shrimps and chorizo, the other one, called Bomba paella, peppered with chicken and sea food. In one of the places, if you just want to make the paella slide more easily down your throat, you can pair it with a sangria, that ambrosial Spanish drink made with red wine and fruits…Mmm, God give me strength…
3.Ice cream. One of my favorite desserts ever. And I am telling you, there is no ice cream in this world like the Italian one. Just there, hidden in a market’s corner, there is a small Italian place – Gelateria 3-Bis – serving quality ice cream. I always go for 2 scoops and my fav combo is Morello cherry and chocolate – how colleague, Julian, would say, “it’s to die for”! Hehe ?
Now, I would like to stop at 3, but I can’t because I would do injustice not to mention the fudges as well. Oh, the fudges… Funny enough, the fudge is not quite my cup of tea when choosing the dessert, but when I fancy something to mend my sweets craving, they serve well. And there is plenty to choose from in Borough Market: rum&raisins, vanilla, chocolate, liquorice, clothed cream, peanut butter, sea salt caramel, cinnamon, apple cider, dark chocolate, café latte, butter scotch, peppermint, malt whiskey, maple, banana, orange, coconut – please, someone out there to stop me!
And you know what is the best part?! If you go in Borough Market in the first part of the day, you can actually try most of the goodies as the stands are putting handy tasting boards to attract the clients – I just love to go around and nibble some cheese, dip some bread in truffle oils or pick up morsels of spicy sausages.
Now, after practically dragging you to come to Borough Market, I should warn you about a couple of things. First and foremost, be aware you will become addicted to the place. Ans you should take it seriously. Secondly, it might not be quite the kind of place to go for your daily shopping as it tends to be a bit pricy, but more like a fancy place where you can buy posh delis every once in a while, when you feel like spoiling yourself. Lastly, please be aware of the hordes of tourists which you most likely see around all the time, especially when it is nice weather.
Did I leave you salivating to death and day-dreaming?… Well, you can always pop up around, and if you come around mid-day, we may bump into each other as I will be doing my lunch break stroll.
See you soon!