Borough Market is basically my religion. This is not an exaggeration. I make my weekly pilgrimage every Saturday to this fantastic place where I eat bread and wine to nourish my soul. Okay, so maybe sangria and sourdough samples don’t exactly count as communion, but still.
To be clear, Borough Market is a weekly food market in Southwark. This place is such a London institution, it just celebrated its 1000th birthday a couple weeks ago. Seriously, one thousand years. In comparison, the oldest maintained site in Riverside is a cemetery dating all the way back to…1871. Good effort, California, but you lose this round.
Anyway, I like to go to Borough Market on Saturdays, because normally I don’t work on Saturdays and since Saturdays are the market’s last day of the week, that afternoon is your best chance to get something extra cheap. Here is my summary of today’s haul:
- Sweet potato fries
- Gnocchi with pesto, olive oil and freshly grated parmesan
- a giant fudgey brick of a brownie
- Greek orange blossom honey
- 6 plums (for one pound, cause I get the deals)
- Samples of the following: pistachio turkish delights, cow’s milk cheese, three kinds of honey (wild flower, thyme, and orange blossom), paella, fresh baked rye bread
I ate the pesto gnocchi as I walked around, because (1) I was really hungry and (2) fresh pasta always deserves your immediate attention. This is the only dish I’ve gotten more than once at Borough Market. Normally I try to challenge myself to eat different things because there are basically infinite foods available and you, personal growth through your stomach or something like that. But this gnocchi with pesto is one of my favorite things I have ever eaten. The stall that makes it is called La Tua Pasta, and everyone that works there is Italian, which explains why they make the single best pesto I have ever had outside of my homestay mom’s kitchen in Florence. I have an embarrassingly emotional connection to good pesto, and this is the BEST pesto I can get outside of Italy. Honestly I want to cry trying to explain how good this meal is: to me, it tastes like Italy and that’s basically the same as a warm hug from someone you really, deeply love. I’m gonna start drooling writing this. It’s really delicious, and they freshly boil the gnocchi to order, so you have to eat it pretty quickly otherwise the little cardboard container they put it in will pretty much dissolve. And it’s not like I’m gonna wait to eat something this good.
I sampled all the honey because I use fancy honey to make oatmeal in the morning to make myself feel like I’m not as broke as I am. I pay two pounds for a month’s worth of plain rolled oats, and then I pay double that for a month’s worth of semi-gourmet honey and tell myself I’m somehow both fancy and healthy. It works out in the end. I just finished a jar of wildflower honey that was frankly delightful, but the nice Greek boy working at the honey stall I frequent talked me into buying the orange blossom variety this time around, and I think it shall work quite nicely. It’s not as floral as the other kind (duh), but that might be a nice change for a while.
I bought the plums to eat throughout the week whenever I feel like it. For the most part, the only fruit I buy at the grocery store is clementines (you can get two medium sized bags for three pounds) and apples (six small ones for a pound). Everything else is a little too expensive, or comes in weird quantities that are a pain. By getting other fruit at Borough Market, I get to pretend that I’m ~supporting local farmers~ and it also forces me to vary my diet. Two weeks ago, I bought figs, last week I got the bargain box (which happened to include bananas, limes, and peaches), and this week I went for the plums.
I’ve been craving sweet potatoes lately, and Ari Shapiro tweeted about the British needing to get on board with sweet potato fries, so when I saw them on sale today I had to get them. They were delicious and salty and only a little crispy, so I saved most of them to eat when I got back to my flat, at which point they were perfectly soft, as all sweet potato related foods should be.
I don’t think I need to explain the brownie. I’m eating it right now, and it’s fantastic. I don’t normally like brownies, but when they’re as thick as a deck of cards and half the size of a normal novel, I can make exceptions.