Friday, 25 March 2016

For the love of food!


What a lovely way to spend Good Friday, being ridiculously spoilt by my sister who bought Glen and I vouchers for a Gastro tour of Borough Market for our birthdays.
The tour is run by Celia Brooks ( ) an American author and tv chef who has lived here in London for over 20 yrs.
Borough Market is an amazing place for anyone that loves food. I've been here a few times now.
It is nestled under the shadow of London Bridge and Southwark Catherderal and is a buzzing and vibrant place to be, you are assaulted from every angle by the noise of hustle and bustle and deliciously delightful smells in the air.
The market itself has been there in one form or another since the 11th century and in the 13th century it relocated to its current position where it has remained ever since. 
In 1755 it was closed by Parliment but the Southwark residents joined together and raised £6,000 to buy a plot of land called the triangle, once the courtyard of St Margarets Church where they opened the market in 1756.
Today it is a haven for the very best British and international produce, very niche and providing exceptional quality and provenance. It hosts 100 individual stalls and is now run by a charitable trust. The pitches are like gold dust and to get one they have to prove that their produce is of the very highest standard but the trust only charges them £50 a day.

So, our tour started with a meet and greet at Rabot 1745 ( Hotel Chocolat ) where Celia introduced herself over coffee and pastries. There were 12 of us on the tour including a family from America.
Our first stop on the tour was at The Exotic Meat Co which I was already familiar with as I buy Ostrich steak from them, one of my sons favourites.  We sampled the crocodile burger which was a first for me and unexpectedly tasty.
We moved on to New Forest Cider, a bit early for me and cider not really my thing but Glen enjoyed it.
We sampled a carrot dipping salad, olives and assorted Turkish delight ( not something I'm very fond of especially the Rose flavoured ones but I ended up with mint which was unusual) at the Turkish deli before moving on to Northfield farm where we had the most amazing beef skirt, lamb and pork, cooked to perfection. It always amazes me to eat something of such superior quality than you are used to on a daily basis. You really can taste the difference and appreciate the extra cost involved.
We moved on to Shellseekers where we sampled hand dived scallops fresh from the south coast and then on to Brindisa, Italian deli and Jo's happy place. She and Glen went to ham school there and learnt how to carve the Iberico. The lads serving us have to taste each new ham and out of the hundreds they have sampled they said today's was possibly the best they had ever tasted so we really had a treat!
Then back outside to the street food stalls. Egyptian Koshari, a street dish of rice, lentils, vermicelli, spicy tomato sauce caramelised onions and chickpeas. Delicious followed by Khanom Krok at a Thai stall which are little coconut puddings. A mouthful of heaven.
These are just the highlights, we also sampled, olives, Balsamic pearls, liquorice, mushroom pate and lots of lovely cheeses amongst other things before finishing up in Bedales for a little wine tasting, a white Colombard and a very nice Rioja and some more bread, cheese and chacuterie.
Celia was delightful, bubbly and passionate, she knew the stall holders and families and had a great knowledge of the market and the foods and their provenance.
From there we said our goodbyes and waddled off to the tube station and back to Bond Street where we fell into a pub and had another bottle of Colombard!
It occurred to me that this would possibly be the most perfect date ever if you need some inspiration! Seriously though, if you have never been to Borough and would like to, let me know and I will take you, everyone should go at least once.
Don't worry, it doesn't have to be a date and I can give you a free tour!

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