There are plenty of articles written about this special place in London, this food market on the South Bank, it’s a go to destination for tourists and a shopping mecca for the locals. For me, it’s more than that. It’s a no Brexit zone – a European gourmet meets the Middle East, Africa and the UK feast.
At first, a little hard to find, exiting London Bridge tube to be met by the actors dressed in Victorian, a little shabby, gear urging you to visit the London of Rippers and Plague. No thanks, its left towards Southwark Cathedral, to the top of the steps, and from below, the fusion of smells rises up to meet me.
Borough Market is never quiet. Strolling here is shoulder to shoulder, filing past tables heaving with food. One would think tourists have never seen anything to eat, each morsel a photo opportunity. ‘I’ve been to Borough Market! ‘ Pose next to the fresh fish, the smoothie bar, the Oyster offerings and slip a few down (sans the champagne) in the middle of the afternoon. Beneath the arches, the assortment of French cheeses, some so covered in mould you would think the monks had put them in cellers a century ago. It is tempting to stop and sip, to taste, to buy, but there is more … and more. Oh hello, It’s Harry Potter … or rather the Harry Potter tour, still popular, always with a following of Gryffindor aficionados. Magic time.
My education is in the Fruit and Veg section. Seriously, there are edible objects there I have never seen before. From places I have never heard of before. A riot of colour washes over the tables, oozing from crates and stacked to the heavens. Monster sized spheres of orange and lime, artichokes as big as my boobs (only kidding) – it’s a struggle not to touch and pick up to smell, so buying what I can carry back on the tube is limited.
Melted cheese poured over potatoes, or added to bread with spring onions and toasted. The line is frustrating, everyone has the same idea, but once you have it in your hands, and in your mouth … it’s orgasmic. And fattening. And morish.
My visits to Borough Market are never complete without a stop at Monmouth for the best coffee ever. An institution, people speak of a monmouth – let’s have a Monmouth. Beside it the totally indulgent, Konditor and Cook ( a special little Christmas shopping stop) and finally, to the Cathedral. Always to light candles for my family and loved ones where ever they are in the world. A silent calmness in the hustle of the South Bank. I can pause, reflect and let the food baby rest. I can pray for Zimbabwe, for South Africa, stop before history and faith … and then turn to the rest of my passion – the South Bank of London. It has been a day of business, of flavour and licking of fingers, of the global love of food and culture … and possibly my Saturday habit.