Grab your foodie friends and enjoy a flavor-filled day at the oldest gourmet market in London, Borough Market. Located in Southwark, this historic spot is always abuzz with shoppers who are drawn by the fresh produce and festive atmosphere that’s been on offer here for a thousand years, give or take a few. However old it actually is–the first written mention occurs in 1276–it remains a perfect place to shop for a gourmet dinner at home, a picnic in the park, or just a savory afternoon snack, so swing by and get to the serious business of food shopping.
The beauty of this market is that you purchase the food directly from the people who produce it, so feel free to ask them any questions. They’ll welcome the chance to tell you about the care, quality, and passion that goes into what they sell. At De Calabria, for example, they’ll explain why raw, unpasteurized honey is much more nutritious and flavorful than its supermarket counterpart, and give you a sample to prove it. At Brindisa, you’ll learn what makes Ibérico Bellota ham so delicious (it has to do with acorns) before you splurge on a jar of rich homemade tomato jam and some salty anchovies. At Cartwright Bros., you can find out what to pair your new bottle of rosehip wine with. You can even have a heated argument about salt at Spice Mountain, as you debate whether pink Himalayan or Hawaiian black lava is the superior seasoning.
As a fully independent market, Borough takes its core values very seriously, aiming to serve the community, not just with high-quality wares, but with support and education. Check out what’s going on in the Demonstration Kitchen, where you might learn to make your own sourdough starter, or how to be a more eco-friendly chef.
All of the produce is carefully sourced from trusted suppliers and family businesses, and vendors bring delectable foodstuffs from across the U.K. and around the world. As you follow your nose around, you discover there is a lot of takeaway food available for a quick taste. Warm cheesy pastries from Eastern Europe, hot vegetarian bites from India, and fresh olive-stuffed crusty breads whet your appetite quickly. Your sweet-toothed friends are tempted by pastel French macarons. A jar of exotic rose petal preserve from Turkey calls your name, and you start seeking some gourmet gifts for your family–and yourself.
When you’ve completed your culinary world tour, kick back at Vinopolis, where you can compare notes and purchases as you sip on a glass of chablis, which you now know will pair beautifully your braised octopus carpaccio.