Category Archives: Cheesemongers

Favo(u)rite London Locations: Borough Market

Borough Market near London Bridge

One of London’s many lovely food markets

Borough Market holds a special place in my heart for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is a great cornucopia of aromas, sights and sounds to please the palate, amaze the eye, divert the mind and amuse the ear.

It also makes me nostalgic though. It brings back memories of when we first moved to London eight years ago and spent many a weekend sampling and perusing ripe cheeses, artisanal breads, organic veg and fine chocolates whilst balancing plastic prosecco flutes, often concluding the day by taking high tea in the nearby Bramah Tea Museum or hopping on a tube into town to sip a glass of Belgian beer in bohemian Soho pub The French House.

Trips to the London Bridge/Southwark area tend to be further and fewer between nowadays, but perhaps are more cherished because of their rarity. We took the boy to the Emirates Air Line Cable Cars today (more on that later) and found ourselves with some time afterwards and an urge to saunter and sample pleasures old and new, which we did with much joy. From L’Ubriaco “Drunken Cheese”, to Greedy Goat goat’s milk ice cream (the boy ordered Cappucino ice cream, he’s a chip off the ole block), Heavenly Halloumi Burgers (courtesy of Veggie Table) to a veritable smorgasbord of international ales to choose from at the Utobeer stall, this place is the must-see for the London foodie tourist.

But what took us especially out of our way today was the fond memory kindled by the thought of a gourmet coffee after lunch from the company that continues to set the gold standard for that caffeinated beverage in London, Monmouth Coffee. If you want to find Monmouth just look for the line snaking around the corner to Neal’s Yard Cheese Shop of customers waiting to order their filtered Kenyan blend, popular for good reason. These purveyors of roasted java pride themselves on the time they spend researching and getting to know the provenance of the variety of beans they use from different single farms, estates and coops from around the world. They show care and dedicate effort to what they do and you can taste it in every beautiful cup, transporting you to caffeinated epiphany.

Monmouth Coffee Company

Photo taken from virtualtourist.com

As promised though, before we indulged our addiction to caffeine and good food, we embarked on our primary goal today of seeing the Emirates Air Line cable cars today, a cable car system stretching over part of the Thames leading from North Greenwich to Royal Victoria Docks. Although the particular stretch that it traverses is brown and industrial, the view is breathtaking, the experience is thrilling and, at £4.30 for a single ticket, a bird’s eye view of London is not much more expensive than an all-zones travelcard for the day, making it fantastic value. See for yourself.

Greenwich Peninsula Station

Greenwich Peninsula Station

 

Emirates Air Line Cable Cars

Room With A View

Royal Victoria Docks Station

All Aboard! Returning from Victoria Docks to Greenwich Peninsula

Emirates Air Line Cable Cars

Kind of 007, appropriately enough, isn’t it?

An experience well worth the ticket price whether you are afraid of heights (and I am, terribly) or not. All the high flying appeal of a James Bond stunt and all the views looking down on the capital from above.

If you do want to board a flight on “The Air Line” you can obtain more information, specifics and directions from here.

I hope all your Saturdays were equally inspiring.

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Cheese Superheroes: The Dark Knights of Cholesterol

It was always a bit disappointing to me to find when I ventured abroad that the American Cheese that I had grown up on was known in England and Ireland as ‘processed cheese slices’. It makes sense when you consider how diabolically poisonous Kraft American Cheese tastes, but it’s also made me want a little more out of my cheese.

Thankfully, I’ve recently found the saviours to any and all cheese crises: The Dark Knights of Cholesterol. I first discovered ‘Ian and Gian’ of Fratelli Formaggio a couple weeks ago at Hackney Homemade Market and was overcome by their selection, their general amiability and their willingness to serve you up as many tastes of as wide a variety of their cheeses as possible. On that visit, I picked up a mild, creamy honeyish cheese from the Emmental Valley near Bern, called Aarewasser and spent several mini-eternities savouring the beautiful flavour.

The only difference with yesterday’s visit was the location, the Chatsworth Road Sunday Market, and my choice of cheese. Again, John, one half of the Dark Knights, was only too eager to provide me and the patron next to me with taste upon taste of cheeses ranging from sensationally loud to subtly beautiful and one that was creamy, ripe, and apparently illegal in several countries. I was most impressed this time though with an 18 month old pecorino from Southern Sardinia, with a lovely texture and hints of smoke and nuttiness that kept hitting the tastebuds minutes after savouring.  These guys have a knack for sourcing magnificent cheese and bringing it to the markets of Hackney. Long may they continue to do so.

You can find these guys and their delicious dairy merch behind St. John’s Church and beside The Narrow Way at Hackney Homemade all day on Saturday and on Chatsworth Road Market all day Sunday.
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