London: Foodie Paradise

Posted on June 16, 2006

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by anglofille

Borough Market was on my list of places to go for ages and I finally made it there last Friday.  It’s the oldest market in Britain, located under the elevated railway arches of London Bridge station and in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral. During the week it’s a wholesale market that sells to all the top restaurants and chefs in London, but on Friday and Saturday it’s open to regular folks.  It’s the perfect place to shop if you’re going to throw a dinner party.  However, since I am not in possession of a real kitchen or even a dining table, I just went for the sheer spectacle. 

I wasn’t sure if Borough Market would live up to the hype, but I was pretty amazed by what I saw.  I had fun just browsing around the greengrocers, who must sell the most photogenic fruit and veg in the UK.  For sale you can find artisan breads, stinky cheeses and fish, wine, all sorts of carnivorous delights (including ostrich), jams of every flavour, honey, pastries and of course – flowers.  There are also French, Spanish and Italian goods aplenty and circling the market you’ll find pubs, cafes and bakeries.  Not surprisingly, nearly every person walking around the market was noshing. 

My food choices are limited due to my swinging non-dairy, non-red meat lifestyle.  But even I managed to find something to buy (like there was any doubt).  I found a vegan stall selling brownies, raw carrot cake and veggie burgers.  I also bought a loaf of 100% complete rye bread (a real treat!) from De Gustibus and I looked around the pastry heaven known as  Konditor & Cook, who very helpfully have a handy guide for the picky eater, detailing what’s diary free, egg free, wheat free, low sugar and even low fat (uh, why bother?).  And the pub a few doors down has a nice loo (always important). 

I couldn’t leave without buying flowers, of course.  I snatched up a bunch of Sweet William, which attracted many envious stares from the harried commutes I passed on the tube ride home. 

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As I emerged from King’s Cross station and walked down Euston Road, a shirtless and rather adorable young man behind the wheel of a delivery truck that was stopped in traffic called out: “Did you buy those for me?”  You see, money spent on flowers is never wasted.