23/52 – Borough Market
Hidden just beyond London Bridge is one of London’s true little treasures – Borough Market, possibly the capital’s worst kept secret, is frequented by tourists, locals and pedestrians from far and wide finding their way into the market for delicious food, artisan produce, abundant fruit and veg, and a belly full of free samples.
The covered market is divided into two parts, both open for business and bustling with trade from Wednesday to Saturday all year round. Not quite knowing where to start, and wanting to make the most of (and get our mouths around) everything, Rob and I set ourselves a little challenge, a £20 budget (for both of us, the same we’d probably spend on a lunch or dinner at a restaurant), and set off to sample everything.
You really could sample everything. Show enough interest in cheese or salami (and salami is genuinely one of my primary interests), and before you know it you will have tried every single variant known to man, and eaten pretty much a full lunch. You can choose to scuttle away with all your free salami, but the chances are you will find it too delicious and will purchase a salami to bear home to your flatmates triumphantly.
Rob and I started off with some yummy strawberry samples, and because they were fresh and only £2 a punnet, we quickly made them our first purchase.
Next up, a stall full of freshly baked focaccia, ciabatta and sourdough breads. I was tempted by the pesto and tomato focaccia, but the plain rosemary loaf was just too tempting and we snagged a huuuge piece for £3. It was delicious.
Rosemary Focaccia (£3) – Money remaining: £15
The salami stand (of course) caught my eye next and after sampling some delicious ‘alpine Biltong’ (a dried meat snack similar to Jerky), we settled for a wild boar salami – a really nice mellow flavour which even Rob (not usually a lover of that kind of thing) really liked. How exotic! And only £2.50… nom nom nom.
Wild Boar Dried Sausage (£2.50) – Money remaining: £12.50
After sampling so many cheeses, we found a delicious aged Gruyere and asked for the teeniest tiniest slice they could give us. It set us back £2.50 but it was so worth it. It is so flavourful, I could have gobbled it up straight from the packet (classy, George – classy…) but we’ve saved it to make a flavourful pasta dish with some of the wild boar salami later on.
Aged Gruyere sliver (£2.50) – Money remaining: £10
We swerved the healthy Wheatgrass (ew?) and instead opted for three juicy nectarines – three for a pound!
Three Nectarines (£1) – Money remaining: £9
Starting to feel the pinch and craving something sweet (when am I not?) we headed over to a gluten (and dairy) free stall and I selected a super chocolately Rocky Road Brownie. They had a great selection and I ended up choosing a goat’s cheese and red onion gluten free tart as well. It was pricey at £3.50 but gluten free options are often much more expensive, and it was so yummy I reckon it was worth it.
Rocky Road (£1.50) and Goat’s cheese tart (£3.50) – Money remaining: £4
Looking out for budget friendly but filling options, we spied some amazing sweet potato fries (at a stand primarily selling scotch eggs, which also looked yummy), and the lady gave us the biggest portion ever! She really stuffed the fries into that tiny packet and we had to eat them up quickly to stop them from spilling everywhere. So satisfying and one of my favourite buys.
Allll the Sweet Potato Fries (£3) – Money remaining: £1
With just £1 left, we were considering squeezing an extra 50p into the budget for a ‘sausage on a stick’ because the freshly fried Cumberland sausages looked (and smelt) amazing, but we struck lucky because they had run out of sticks, and gave us a ‘sausage in a cup’ for the discounted price of £1. It was delicious, and left us right on budget.
on a stick in a cup (£1) – Money remaining: £0
We got so much for our money, and brought lots home for our evening meal, and to keep and use for all sorts of things. Rob is still munching away on his massive piece of focaccia, I’m stocked up with cheese and salami, and we’ve also discovered the best place for sweet potato fries! My rocky road brownie disappeared pretty sharpish, but the nectarines and strawberries will last me for a couple of breakfasts. Borough Market is so fun to explore and I would so recommend going in with a bit of cash in your pocket and seeing just how much bang you can get for your buck. It’s a total wonderland, and with everything looking so delicious, you really really can’t go wrong.