In August 2015, I discovered a completely magical place. A place I have daydreamed about finding for years. A place I have envisioned myself stopping by after a long day of work, as my way of relaxing. No, I’m not talking about a spa, Disney World, or an-all-you-can-drink alcohol buffet. I am talking about the ultimate food lovers dream…a cornucopia of smells, flavors, cultures. This 8th wonder of the world is better known as BOROUGH MARKET in London. I have been to my share of food havens (coming from a person who used to go wander around the aisles of Whole Foods for fun). I love farmers markets, organic shops and farms. Any place where I can go and aimlessly meander around looking at food, while picking up on new ingredients and flavors and concocting recipes in my head as I go along.
Borough Market is located in the heart of London, underneath London Bridge. It is the only independently run market in all of London. The market dates back to 1756, still in the same location. I was most astounded at the variety of things going on in this place. The market boasts over a 100 individual stalls, with local artisan meats, cheeses, produce, vegetables, drinks and flowers along with a huge variety of international fare. To top it off there is a food truck lot outside with cuisines galore (goat milk ice cream sundaes, anyone?) There are literally about 17 different vendors here that only sell varieties of cheese. But, let me cut to the good stuff. Here is a sample of what I saw in my 4 hour venture around Borough market:
cheeses raised on local British, French, Italian, Swiss, and Irish farms. Meats imported from Spain, Gelatos handcrafted from the boys in the North of Italy. Locally crafted liquors, Wines from vineyards in France, Whiskeys from Ireland, a beer Shoppe from Germany, an espresso bar from Italy, and teas imported from India and around the UK. A giant selection of the freshest meat and still-swimming seafoods, and an oyster bar. Spice and condiment shops to be paired with freshly baked breads and pastries made by plump French ladies in flour-dusted chef hats. A shop selling fresh pastas (you can watch the guys in the back rolling the pasta sheets out), and a stall specializing in craft sangria flavors. A full on jungle-themed shop, with tropical flowers everywhere. A stall that sells only different varieties of mushrooms from around the world. A craft paella stand. Freshly pressed juices and an organic smoothie bar. An olive oil boutique. A stall specializing in truffles, and truffle-infused oils. There is even a French stall that sells antiques.
Borough Market quickly made its way to the top rankings of my ongoing favorite-places-in-the-world-list. Just walking around for a couple of hours will entirely expand your knowledge of food and worldly cuisines. The market embodies a hustling, vibrant atmosphere with the buzzing of different languages alongside aromas sent down from the Heavens. This place is a truly gratifying learning experience with lots of free samples. An experience where all 5 senses are awoken and stimulated in new ways. Thank you London, you’ve outdone yourself again.