This post is about a fantastic market in downtown London that is a treat for the senses. As we entered Borough Market from the Southwark Tube stop, a choir of school age children was performing for the lunchtime crowd. I expected my senses of sight, smell, taste and touch to be exhilarated but my ears enjoyed the serenade as we walked about the market.
I learned about Borough Market after reading an article in the paper that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, frequents this market. If it is good enough for her, it is certainly good enough for me!
We arrived shortly after the market opened so it wasn’t too crowded and some of the vendors were still setting up their goods for sale. My husband and I did a quick walk through to find out which stalls we wanted to visit first to make sure we could see everything before we left.
Most of the stalls offered a huge array of fresh produce. Everywhere I looked, the food was high quality and beautiful. Fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, cheese, bread and sweets were for sale. Their colors were bright and vivid. A few of the items that were on sale were ones that I have seen in books and read in recipes but are not available in the U.S. like pied bleu mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms and ramps.
One stall sold the most beautiful tomatoes. Rows and rows of all kinds of tomatoes, red, yellow big and small, heirloom, everything I could want. Since I love delicious fresh tomatoes, I wanted to buy a few for a snack but I wasn’t sure they would survive the day without being crushed.
Have I mentioned the fresh seafood? Just looking at the variety of fresh fish, my mind was churning with the possibilities of different recipes I could create.
The bakeries sold the most beautiful breads and other baked goods. The aroma was so vivid I could almost taste the fresh breads. Ahhh.
I particularly enjoyed the stalls that featured freshly cooked hot food. Huge pans, about 4 feet in diameter, filled with hot steaming paella drew people to investigate and sample the tasty dishes. Other stalls featuring various Indian curries, kebabs and Ethiopian delicacies had people lining up to buy a plate full of heavenly dishes.
Wine merchants occupied several stalls with bottles and individual glasses of English wine and bubbly. Often they were paired with local artisanal cheeses and cured meats. I wish I could have spent more time sampling here.
I enjoyed my visit to Spice Mountain. With its wide array of fresh spices and spice blends I found myself in sensory overload. Since spices don’t weigh much, I purchased several Moroccan spice blends to use when cooking in my tagine.
The flower stalls were filled to the brim with freshly cut flowers. So many varieties, so many colors, so little time to enjoy.
Just outside the market we found a popular Indian Restaurant called Silka where we had a lovely lunch before we had to leave the area and continue our tour of London.
Borough Market is open every day of the week. Check their website to confirm the hours and the listing of vendors at http://boroughmarket.org.uk/.