Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Fate of Borough Market

I thought I'd break from the normal posts on clothes and do something different in response to a couple of enthusiastic comments of fellow food lovers amongst my more regular visitors.  I love cooking and I love eating even more, so I would like to share some images we snapped the other day of the culinary delights available at Borough Market.

Cheese at Neals Yard Cheese Company
The wall of cheese
Horseshoe crab
Wine merchants
Wild Mushrooms
Vegetable stall
Free tasting of West Indian Chicken Curry
Would you buy Sangria from these guys?
For the French Gourmet
Blowfish lanterns at the Fishmongers

It made me sad to learn over the weekend that the future of the market is under threat with traditional traders embroiled in a court case with trustees. The traders claim they are being pushed out of the market unfairly and against signed agreements to make way for more luxury end retailers. Do we really want to reduce Borough Market to a posh food hall catering only for tourists and the rich?

A shop at Borough is not cheap. Most of the traditional traders that once operated here offering cheaper fruit and vegetables have moved to Hackney. The place is already dominated by a wealth of high end stalls and boutique stores to addle the gourmet lover with their wares and these items, although high in quality, are extremely pricey if you want to indulge. But there remain enough traders still offering high quality, inexpensive seasonal produce to make it a home chef's dream.  Borough supplies several London restaurants and is still a place to get quality ingredients you wouldn't readily find in your local supermarket.

On our Saturday outing we bought the largest portabello mushroom I've ever come across which lasted us two meals, some mixed wild mushrooms, unusual cherry pomodorino tomatoes, venison sausages and a couple of aged Aberdeen rump steaks. It is the only place I know that stocks fresh horseradish which when grated into crème fraîche makes an instant piquant sauce to accompany beef. I once bought kumatos there, greeny orange versions of the tomato with tiger like stripes and reportedly packed with antioxidants.

As we progress further into Autumn I can rely on Borough Market to stock rainbow chard with bright pink, red or orange stalks, or species of curly kale with dark violet stems and it is one of the few places I have found the elusive cavolo nero in Winter. There are every species of wild mushroom and squash available. It is a place to marvel at the football sized truffle which is gradually shaved away and sold off to restaurateurs and at the impressive variety of game the English countryside has to offer.

At the Neal's Yard Cheese Company, in addition to cheese, you can find pale blue eggs laid by English hens and clotted cream butter on sale. The knowledgeable staff offer you the chance to taste any cheese on offer before you buy it and will always encourage you to try the cheese of a local producer similar to one that has been imported.

To me there is nothing more romantic than the feel of a real market, perhaps even more so now because it feels like a concept that belongs to a fading era as the supermarket chains continue to take over. London has a habit of ruining its traditional markets, tearing down what has history, charm and vibrant character only to replace it with banal and sterile commercial developments with no soul. I hope this doesn't happen to Borough.


Pensé que iba romper de los puestos normales en la ropa y hacer algo diferente en respuesta a un par de comentarios entusiastas de los amantes de la comida entre mis compañeros más asiduos visitantes. Me encanta cocinar y me encanta comer mucho más, así que me gustaría compartir algunas fotos del otro día de las delicias culinarias disponible en Borough Market.

Me puso triste que aprender el fin de semana que el futuro del mercado está en peligro con los comerciantes tradicionales envueltos en un caso judicial con los dueños. Los comerciantes afirman que están siendo expulsados del mercado de manera injusta y en contra de los acuerdos firmados para dar paso a más minoristas de lujo extremo. ¿Realmente quieren reducir Borough Market a un patio de comidas de catering de lujo sólo para los turistas y los ricos? Hacer las compras en el Municipio no es barato. La mayoría de los agentes económicos tradicionales que una vez operada aquí y que ofrecen las frutas y hortalizas más barato se han trasladado a Hackney. El lugar ya está dominado por una gran cantidad de puestos de gama alta y tiendas de boutique para el amante gourmet a volver loco con sus mercancías y artículos de estas, aunque de gran calidad, son extremadamente caros, si usted quiere complacer. Pero sigue habiendo suficiente comerciantes que todavía ofrece alta calidad, de bajos precios productos de temporada para cumplir el sueños de la concinera de la casa. Hay todavia restaurantes de Londres que compran ingredientes de Borough y el mercado sigue siendo un lugar para obtener los ingredientes de calidad que difícilmente podría encontrar en su supermercado local.

En nuestra excursión Sábado compramos el champiñón portobello enorme que he encontrado con que nos duró dos comidas, algunas setas mixtas, tomates inusuales pomodorino cereza, salchichónes de ciervo y un par de filetes de solomillo de Aberdeen. Es el único lugar que conozco que las existencias de rábano picante en que quando esta fresco rallado y mezclada con crema fresca se hace una salsa picante para acompañar carne de vacuno. Una vez compré kumatos allí, verdoso versiones naranja del tomate con el tigre como franjas y, al parecer lleno de antioxidantes. As que avanzamos aún más en otoño que puedo confiar en Borough Market de vender acelga con tallos en colores brillante como rosa, rojo o naranja, o especies de berzas con tallos de color violeta oscuro y es uno de los pocos lugares he encontrado el cavolo nero en invierno. Hay toda clase de setas y calabaza disponible. Es un lugar para admirar una trufa como un fútbol  que poco a poco seria afeitado y vendido a los restaurantes y la impresionante variedad de carne silvestres que se ofrecen el campo ingles.

En la tienda Neal's Yard Chesse Company, además de queso, se pueden encontrar huevos azul pálidos puestos por gallinas Inglés y la mantequilla de nata espesa a la venta. Hay la posibilidad de degustar el queso que se ofrecen antes de comprarlo y las atiendientes siempre se animan a probar el queso de un productor local similar a uno que ha sido de extranjero. A mí no hay nada más romántico que la sensación de un mercado autentico, tal vez incluso más ahora porque se siente como un concepto que pertenece a una época atenuándose a medida que las cadenas de supermercados continúan tomar el relevo. Londres tiene la costumbre de echar a perder sus mercados tradicionales, destruyendo lo que tiene historia, encanto y carácter vibrante sólo para reemplazarlo con desarrollos comerciales banales y estériles sin alma. Espero que esto no le suceda a Borough. 


  1. What a wonderful post! I adore markets and always buy my fresh produce from our local market, which having been around since the 12th century has vastly diminished since the arrival of a huge 24hour Asda slap-bang in the town centre.
    Nothing beats the banter with the market traders, does it?
    Your market looks absolutely amazing. That cheese! think I'd have to be forcibl;y removed for salivating all over it...yum! xxx

  2. oh no! in my (touristy) mind, Borough Market, is a part of London because of what it has been and is. this makes me sad to think these producers and vendors are being pushed out.

    we have weekend farmers markets, but it's not usually a year round, but only during the warmer months. purchasing from these traders has such a personal touch with friendships ensuing. you can bargain and sample and have a one-on-one relationships with your food mongers. nothing beats it!

  3. What a delightful post. I love markets above everything else .When you go to food market you are really take the pulse of the people: what the eat, what they like. The colours, the smells...
    Ahhhhhhhhhh cannot be compared with going to a supermarket. There, people become food buyers robots to stock for the week or month. Dipresing.
    Super post, as ever.

  4. This really bums me out. Gentrification has swept America like a plague and removed the charm from so many once unique places. Areas once bursting with thriving 'mom and pop' shops have been pushed out of their own neighborhoods to make way for chain stores which sell watered down, inferior versions of the same products.

    Needless to say, many of those newly gentrified areas didn't get the public support they hoped to cash in on. Once bustling neighborhoods became ghost towns littered with vacant luxury condos and fast food franchises struggling to hang on.

    I've long respected the UK and Europe for *leaving places and people alone* if they're doing fine without a major corporate presence. But I guess nothing lasts forever.

    I really hope the city realizes what a detriment to the people (including themselves) it would be to push these businesses out.

    On a more personal note, I like that you're such a 'foodie'! And who knew horseshoe crab was consumed? Obviously not I.

    Wishing the best for you and your community.


  5. This savory post gives me a jolt of enthusiasm for cooking again -- it's hard keeping up the cooking spirit for two little kids who prefer peanut butter toast and mac n' cheese, and a spouse who's wary of my more gourmet efforts with herbs, strong cheeses, and unusual vegetables.

    I feel breathless worry for your beautiful Borough market now. I hope your post gets some wide reading. Could it be worked into letters to newspapers and local scene magazines, or even articles?

  6. these pics remind me of the beautiful outdoor markets in Madrid & Barcelona...although that horsehoe crab is starting to scare me!

    xo Carlina

  7. My God, woman - not only do you make me miss London, you now also make me hungry!! I used to work near there, at John Harvard Library, and I always think fondly of my old stomping ground. It's be a terrible shame if it was no more.

    Thanks for visiting Mrs Bossa Does the Do, too...

  8. Hi,

    I just found your blog and I love it! following you:)

    welcome to enjoy and follow at

    <3 Anika

  9. i adore markets too, and i find it tragic that their futures are being threatened.

    it's like how i was reading that back at home (singapore) a similar case is happening to the charming wet markets, which will be displaced by supermarkets.

    nevertheless, love this post on the food. . and those blowfish lanterns are amazing!


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