The best part of traveling to cities I’ve already visited is that I can skip the touristy crap and actually take in the place. A few weekends ago I hopped on the Eurostar train to London to visit my friend Rachel, who is studying there this fall.
We spent Saturday and Sunday sleeping in late (a luxury I’m not accustomed to these days), venturing to some of the city’s markets, indulging in delicious food and clinking beers at pubs. All in all, it was a relaxing and filling two-day trip.
If I was in London for only a few hours, I would spend that precious time at the Borough Market – the mecca of all food meccas. We escaped the afternoon downpour under the huge covered market and went on a cross-cultural gastronomic tour in two hours. I’ve never seen more food in my life – stall after stall of prepared cuisine of every ethnic variety.
Rachel took the lead showing me around the place, which might I add is HUGE. We began our over-consumption with free-range, naturally raised burgers from Northfield Farm. We both chose the Classic Beef Burger with Blue Vein Cheddar Cheese. Considering we demolished them within two minutes, I don’t even need to go into how amazing they were. I doused mine with ketchup and one of the many offered spicy mustards from the condiment bar. The “salad”, grilled onions and cheddar rounded out the burger. I’m now on the pursuit to find blue vein cheddar cheese because it was sensational.
Within seconds of our last bite, we made our way to a station full of gigantic woks filled with paella and curries. I regret not getting a bowl full but the free samples sufficed. Note to self when going to Borough Market: free samples are everywhere.
We chose to wash down our burger with some good, ol’ hot mulled wine. The warmth of the cup was the perfect sidekick as we made our way to the next section of the market where we tasted several sauces, jams and dips. Some noteworthy mentions include the Gooseberry & Elderflower jam from England Preserves, Mexican salsas from Cool Chile Co, and cheese from the Bath Soft Cheese Company. We also got a little goût of brownies, truffle spreads and fruit cake. All in all, our free samples rounded out to a meal itself. But why stop?
From there we passed by amazing sandwich stands and other ethnic offerings like a Mediterranean table full of fresh salads and hummus. After sampling chutney from Westcountry Preserving Company, I had to buy myself a jar of their Red Pepper Jelly. We couldn’t resist sampling fudge from Whirld Far Out Fudge – filling a small bag with the classic, salted caramel and chili chocolate flavors.
Just when I thought we had had enough, we spotted some girls with a plate full of cheesy potato goodness. After asking where it was from, she pointed us to the Pieminister table. These personal-sized, traditional English pies come in an array of savory flavors, served hot or cold. Rachel and I split the Big Cheese full of Somerset cheddar, buttered onions and garlic cream. DA-LISH.
Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London