No real excuses are needed to pay a visit to Borough Market. It’s enough to wander and look at the produce on display, catching the constantly inviting sights and smells, and market sounds. Even, or maybe especially, when it’s busy from Friday onwards, it has its own special appeal. Choosing five top places can only be a subjective exercise, but here are mine, in no particular order. If they aren’t yours, still have a look because you might see something you’ve missed.
Just to your right as you enter Borough Market on Stoney Street, you’ll find Chegworth Valley, a place for fruit and vegetables, also juices and a great range of ‘packaged leaves’. The Kent produce is worth a try with the recent Kent cherries a great buy, and very reasonably priced – I kept wishing I’d bought more! This stall will come into its own in the coming months when the English apple season, headed by Discovery and Worcester, arrives along with other varieties you won’t see in shops. Among the vegetables, you’ll find beetroot with the leaves still attached. They are great for a salad, cooked and raw. Mostly, the tops are chopped off and discarded. Try buying them just for the leaves alone!
Further into the market just past the Market Tavern on the left is Park Street. Opposite Neal’s Yard is the German Deli, which helps add to the Market’s European personality. It has a great selection of German produce, from breads to chocolate, German ketchup, a real favourite, and jars of pickles. It’s small and friendly and the shop has a wonderful aroma, which makes it a pleasure just to visit.
In the heart of the market is a small stall packed with the best flavours of Greece called Oliveology. Like the other stalls, it’s impossible to mention everything that’s worth trying here. There’s the honey, the almonds and other nuts alongside yoghurts and olive oils. There is so much there to like and it’s a perfect place to buy presents for friends and family. And for yourself! If you like sesame, try the tahini and also the pasteli, long sesame seed bars and mixed nut bars. Eat them as they are, but one use for them is chopped up and added to museli or oats cold or warm with and without fruit. A tasty indulgence! This place is a real a find.
Another favourite in the central area of the market is Taste Croatia. If you like figs, then the fig cakes, a kind of Croatian panforte, are worth a try. It’s a small outlet, packed with oils, wine , spreads and pates. It’s a place for gifts for birthdays and Christmas, or any occasion especially for that something different.
And finally a ‘must see’, Furness Fish Market, in the heart of it all. For salmon, samphire (a taste of the sea itself in a vegetable), anchovies, salmon roe and a few more unusual sights, this is Borough Market at its best. On Fridays and Saturdays, there’s usually a stunning display of fresh fish including the usual cod, mackerel and sea bass with swordfish, octopus and more ugly varieties, including less commonly sold parts of monkfish. Have a look and follow them on Instagram @furnessfishmarkets. And if fish is not your thing, have a look at the game, and come back at Christmas for a visual feast.
Happy browsing around the wonderful stalls and shops of Borough Market!