“Food Heaven in SE1” was the original title of this piece which I wrote in 2009 for Mardi at eat.live.travel write. I recently visited the market again and this prompted me to give it a refresh and repost it here!
All London foodies know just where to go for some of the best produce around: Borough Market, just south of London Bridge.
Now the food may be just out of the estuary/sea/abattoir/soil but the notion of a market here is very old indeed with trading in this area going on from, oh, about 1014AD. In fact the market is currently celebrating 1000 years of trading – I don’t think you get much older than that! The current location has been in existence since 1755 and today it has become a successful, thriving, quality food market attracting locals and tourists alike.
Sited in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral and close to London Bridge Station, the market sits underneath a series of Victorian railway arches. As you weave your way around the interconnected areas via alleyways and arched tunnels it has a truly Dickensian feel. Entering the market you are first assailed by the noise. The vaulted brick arches echo back the cries of vendors and customers alike creating a buzz of excitement that you just cannot ignore.
As you move further into the market you find yourself gradually being accosted (in the nicest possible way) by the stallholders, people who are passionate about their produce and keen to share this passion with everyone they make eye contact with. You can easily talk and taste your way around the globe, jumping from Turkish delight to Italian focaccia and onto French saucisson, and taking in some English Stilton as you go. I was there for lunch and particularly enjoyed the fresh pumpkin filled pasta from La Tua Pasta, whilst my colleagues had a very purple looking beetroot gnocchi; all of us thought it was an excellent value meal on the go.
Produce is varied – you’ll find all the essentials: wine, olive oil, spices, speciality bread, and prize-winning cheeses. The greengrocers’ stalls are laden with seasonal fruit and veg. When I last visited rock oysters were also a hot favourite as they can be sold in the UK all year round, unlike the natives, which can only be sold when you have ‘r’ in the month.
As you emerge from the market, back into the bustle of Borough High Street it’s guaranteed you’ll be lighter in the wallet because you’ll be carrying bags full of some of the freshest, most delicious food you might ever hope to eat. If you’re ever in London, go visit this award-winning centre of food heaven!!
©Chez l’abeille 2014