Naturally, being a food-obsessed dietitian, the first thing on my London bucket list was a food market. Borough Market is London’s oldest food market; its existence can be traced all the way back to at least 1014! Over 1000 years ago!!! Obviously it has changed forms over the centuries and nowadays it is a progressive organization that is described as “a participant in the wider debates around what we eat and where it comes from.” The Market is a perfect representation of the worldwide Slow Food movement as it values supporting local producers and small-scale operations, preserving global food culture and traditions, and promoting sustainability in every step of the process.
“For producers, this means using methods that value quality and sustainability over profit. For consumers, it means eating with the seasons, questioning the provenance of ingredients, favouring pasture-fed meat, prizing meat and fish as items of value rather than everyday staples, buying only what’s needed and eating every bit of it.”
*swoon* Wish everyone felt this way.
We visited on a Friday in the late afternoon, by which time the morning crowds had dwindled. The market is in the city center on the south end of the London Bridge. As you meander your way through the charming labyrinth of booths you’ll find every type of food: tons of fresh produce, endless varieties of artisan cheeses, bread, olive oils, meat, eggs, sweets, and wine (by the bottle or enjoy a hot cup of mulled wine while you shop)!
While researching quintessential foods of England, one name I kept coming across was “salt beef.” I didn’t know what that meant but didn’t look into it further because, well, it didn’t sound appetizing at all. But when I saw a booth selling it, I had to find out what this thing was. The vendors were really friendly and eager to tell us all about their product. Turns out salt beef is what we Americans call corned beef! Duh. Since we talked to them for so long, we felt that familiar obligation to buy something and ended up splitting a sandwich, which they layered on rye bread with crunchy, brine-y pickled veggies. While the corned beef was nothing new, the real surprise actually came with the mustard they slathered on. It cleared my sinuses like wasabi! Phil had a good laugh at my reaction to “English mustard” – they make it really hot and spicy with a mix of white and brown mustard seeds, flour, and turmeric of course.
After that salty sammie I was craving something sweet. I stopped by a booth selling all different types of baked goods and asked for the owner’s recommendation. He suggested this one, which was a soft spice cookie made with oats that hinted of gingerbread. It was yummy, and felt very festive, but I’m not a big fan of icing or candied fruit. To be honest I preferred the other two treats I bought: the ultra-fudgey brownie and the shortbread cookie O:)
If you ever find yourself in London, Borough Market is definitely worth checking out! If visiting London doesn’t exactly fit in your budget, check out their website here to learn more about them/their philosophies, get yummy recipes, or read foodie articles!