To kick off the weekend, we headed to Borough Market, the renowned source of exceptional produce and haven for London foodies.

A short walk from the London Bridge underground station led us to a bustling enclave of 130 food stalls selling vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, prepared foods and more, all situated in and around the arches of the railway viaducts between Borough High Street and the Thames River.

Where to begin? Gustatory delights, not only from the London area, but also from around the U.K. and the world, shown from tables and shelves and refrigerated cases. Velvet-skinned fresh figs (below). Delicate filets of Dover sole. Hefty pucks of creamery butter. Fat green olives that held us captive in their fragrance. I almost regretted not having had access to a kitchen in which to transform these exceptional ingredients into a home-cooked feast.

The manager of a popular London restaurant had recommended that we visit the Borough on a Friday morning to avoid the weekend crush of tourists. And the early-bird approach is right on.

First, in the relative calm of a weekday morning, it’s still possible to engage some of the vendors, who are often also producers, in conversation. For people who are passionate about food, there’s lots of knowledge to be gained here.

Second, you can skip breakfast, The samples offered by the vendors easily add up to a meal.  Example: the stall that sells curries, cooked on premises in gargantuan pans, was dispensing tastes of three dishes alone.

Still, we resisted the impulse to freeload and made a few purchases. A sticky pastry stack of a nut-stuffed baklava was my choice. My husband, preferring savory fare, bought a “Mixed Grill Butty,” (below): sizzling sausage and bacon, with a Portobello mushroom to infiltrate the cholesterol convention, all slathered with mustard and squished agreeably between two halves of a buttered bun.

Here are a few additional photographs of the Borough’s bounty. Warning: Viewing them is likely to increase appetite.

 

photos: velojoy

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