Living in London is an amazing experience. There is so much to see and to do. One of my favorite places to go is Borough Market. It’s a lovely market experience full of booths, stalls and shops selling all sorts of fresh and wholesome ingredients. They also have hot and cold food available to eat while you’re there, so you can have a delicious lunch there as well.
They even have a website (http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/).
One downfall is that the full market is only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. While I have managed to play hooky from work and show up on a Thursday or Friday, Saturday is clearly the most convenient day to go. Because of that, Saturdays get packed. Like super-packed. I’m not the biggest fan of large groups of people winding their way through small areas, but I do manage to survive a few trips out there. Needless to say, the best time to go is in the morning before the crowds set in, but even showing up at 9:30 doesn’t mean there won’t already be a bunch of people milling about and shopping. The last time I went, I met up with a bunch of people to check things out and our ETA was set for 9:30 on a Saturday.
One of the most popular places in the area seems to be Monmouth coffee. We started here on our journey so we could get coffee. Unfortunately, even at 9:30 there is a queue. A long queue. And honestly, I don’t get it. The coffee is perfectly decent, but definitely not worth the wait. In fact, if you want a smaller queue at a place which also sells their coffee, head down the street to Rabot Estate. It’s primarily a chocolate store, but the coffee is pretty good as well. I’ve had quite a few delicious chocolates from here to take home (and it’s part of the Hotel Chocolat family).
I love wandering around the market to see all the lovely food and ingredients. One of my favorite places at the market is Tartufaia. They are the truffle sellers at the market. I’ve only bought real truffles from them once, and they were summer truffles (so much cheaper), but they also sell some amazingly decadent truffle oils and truffle honey. I often stop by to get white truffle honey to take home as it tastes amazing on cheeses.
Speaking of cheeses, there are quite a number of speciality cheeses around the area as well. We stopped by one place that had these interesting swiss cheeses. One of them was quite hard and was flavored with garlic and pepper. For me, it was a bit too garlicky and peppery, and it just didn’t taste enough like cheese. However, there were other cheeses in their stall that seemed amazing and worth trying. Another stall had four ages of Comte to try, one of which has been aged for 36 months (and it’s fantastic by the way). Yet a third stall is full of “drunken cheeses” which are cheeses that have been soaked in some sort of alcohol, and I have bought cheese from them on several occasions. If you’re into British cheeses, Neal’s Yard is nearby and they have some of the best Cheddar cheeses I’ve ever tasted. Want something melty and oozy? Kappacasein has a food cart in the area where they sell delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and Raclette.
Want some bread with your cheese? There are plenty of baked goods as well. There are pastry and bread stalls galore. I’ve had some amazingly thick and delicious English Muffins from here. I haven’t had a bad baked good from the Market to be honest. Or if you’re looking for some nice meats for a charcuterie platter to go with your cheese, there are plenty of hams, sausages and cured meats to be had.
There’s also a plethora of fruit and vegetable stalls around. I also always see a lot of delicious meat stalls. You can get offal, exotic animals, chicken, beef and practically anything you could want to cook! Of course, there are also full sit down restaurants in the area as well.
I have also bought plenty of desserts for either home or to eat there. Again the baked goods abound (I always love seeing all the brownies). But there’s a cheesecake place and ice cream. In fact, the last time I was there I tried some amazing goat’s cheese ice cream. Greedy Goat is my new find, and who knew goat’s cheese ice cream could be so good. I sample the raspberry and chili and it was phenomenal.
But a good meal wouldn’t be complete without good wine, and there is plenty to be found in the area. One of our favorite places to stop and get some amazing Sauternes is Borough Wines. But there are several places around that let you sample the amazing wine and bubbly that they have to offer. Another option is Vinopolis. They have a huge selection of wines and spirits. They had the kirsch I needed to make fondue which was hard to find in the regular shops.
Borough Market is definitely a place to check out if you’re visiting London. I often bring family and friends here, but it’s just an excuse to go. It’s a fantastic place with fantastic food, and I love to make the trip whenever I can.