Monday, January 30, 2006
If you can find it anywhere, you can find it at Borough Market. Well, unless you want an exotic Asian (Oriental) herb or spice. But for anything in Europe, you will find it here. From exotic game (see the beheaded but still furred carcasses of hare, rabbit and other hanging in the picture), exotic vegetables and even wax-fruits.
It's a lovely place for a walk if you can stand the bustling crowds on the weekend. However, one particular acronym kept clanging in my mind as I walked with Leon throughout the market: HACCP HACCP HACCP HACCP. I was shocked at the level of basic food hygiene with regard to the displayed food. Loaves of bread, vats of olives and cheeses left open to the elements - the markets are below a major railway bridge - I suppose train dust imparts a delicate flavour that makes Borough food taste extra special. Raw meat was handled with bare hands which also changed money - Queen Liz and the collective phalangeal dirt of the British public must also contribute to taste. Of particular note is this vertical sausage rotisserie: here you can see how the raw sausages are loaded at the top so that as they cook, the melted fat slowly bastes the already cooked sausages at the bottom. Mmm mmm good, I love my sausages kissed with tepid raw pork fat.
Nevertheless, Neal's Yard Dairy really impressed us. The shower inside continuously runs to maintain high humidity for cheese storage. We spent a lovely afternoon looking at the vegetables on display, warming ourselves on this frigid morning with Belgian hot chocolate and marvelling at the legs of Spanish ham ready-to-carve.
The food is not the cheapest in town, in fact one might say that it is gourmet prices. The major supermarkets, in particular Waitrose may well prove somewhat cheaper for many foodstuffs, but the variety at Borough Market is just immense. I don't know of anywhere else in London where you buy beheaded hare carcass.