Sometimes there’s nothing better than getting up early and over to Borough Market before the crowds descend, browsing the stalls with a coffee or juice and picking up the freshest ingredients.
I had so much planned for the blog in October, I’d pre-planned, baked and photographed so many recipes and then life and work got in the way and considering the cornerstones of my diet for the past month or so has been diet coke, hula hoops and whatever the work canteen are serving it felt a bit fraudulent to write about good, home cooked food.
But all of that changed a few weekends ago when I woke up early on Saturday and decided to make the most of it with a trip to Borough Market.
Borough Market is one of my favourite places in London, and it’s even better first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive! I definitely recommend going early if you’re planning a trip, it gives you time to have a look around all of the stalls first before deciding what you want to buy, and you don’t have to jostle with the crowds to get near the stalls.
I would suggest doing a lap of the whole market first to see what’s available; you’ll often find several places selling similar products (cheese, fruit and veg) so it’s worth shopping around and seeing what’s on offer, and don’t forget to ask to try before you buy if you’re unsure.
I went with a few purchase ideas in mind: I wanted some seasonal fruit (pears and blackberries), some Christmas spices and some tomatoes from the Tomato Stall – one of my favourites, though many of the fruit and veg stalls still had some heirloom tomatoes left but I actually prefer going without a plan and seeing where the ingredients take me.
The colours and flavours are really quite something and even if you’re not going to buy anything, it’s a great place to browse for food and flavour inspirations. I love the wild seasonal mushrooms, and the smell of truffle that wafted from nearby stalls; the rainbow bright chard; the mixed squash and the seasonal rainbow beetroot. You can’t be anything but inspired when faced with such beautiful produce.
Not to mention the many stalls selling cakes and pastries, perfect to pick up and take home for an afternoon treat.
Of course, even if you visit early all of the food stalls are open and this vegan burger stall looked particularly good!
I find Borough Market really inspiring, it’s a great place to wander about and clear your mind. For the first time in weeks I was able to think of something other than work which was a relief. I picked up a fantastic coffee, a custard tart and sat down and watched the crowds pass after I’d finished my shopping and it was bliss.
If you’re planning a trip to Borough Market here are my tips:
- If you want to buy specific ingredients, go early to avoid the crowds – and go with a plan in mind
- Always do a lap of the market before buying anything – ingredients or food to have there, picking food at the first stall you see only to walk across the way and find something even better waiting for you when you’ve literally grabbed food at the first, albeit awesome, stall you saw makes me sad
- Do try before you buy, especially cheese (all the cheese)
- Take a shopping bag or two with you – most of the sellers will give you paper bags which is fine but a little hard to transport and taking reusable bags is better for the enviornment
- Go later in the day and soak up the atmosphere; Borough has some fantastic pubs, bars and restaurants that you should definitely visit
Have you been to Borough Market? Which stalls are your favourites?