Borough market. Many say it has lost its edge recently, becoming more of a tourist attraction than a destination for great food. While it does tend to get overcrowded at peak times (i.e. lunch) on Fridays and Saturdays, there are several stalls in this sprawling, bustling market that make it worth elbowing through. In the past seven days, I've had two visits to Borough for two completely different reasons. The first was lunch with my sister-in-law (!). I'll take any excuse to grab lunch from Borough, and as I arrived early, I was able to wander around and scope out the options. There's a new vegan kid in town, and their name is the Honest Carrot. They make fabulous vegan food in the form of falafels and colorful veggie pies (with or without a crust - many are gluten-free) and bread baked inside flower pots. Just adorable. They also offer small tubs of hummus and a fresh and crunchy chickpea & carrot salad. Here's our lunch below (with a giant grapefruit and a pretty apple):
And then a few days later, I was back down London Bridge way to peruse the natural wine fair. 120 stalls were set up on long tables offering up their whites and reds from all over France and Italy, and a couple of representatives from Spain and Portugal too. I was surrounded by sommeliers in their element, swirling and spitting the wines while they discussed the various tastes and smells in expert detail. One man very kindly explained a few things to me and translated back and forth with Isabelle frere from le scarabee. Her 3 wines were my favorites of the day, though I didn't end up trying very many. That could have been trouble!
I wouldn't say I'm that knowledgeable on wines - the grapes, the palette, the flavors, the regions. But I AM interested in organically grown produce and products. Anything grown naturally, without the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, fertilizers, etc. In the case of natural wine, there are no added yeasts, sugars, or excess sulphites. This gives an unusual taste to many of the wines, a cloudiness and perhaps off-putting scent, but brings with it a more subtle effect and reduced risk of hangover. Also, many people are allergic or at least sensitive to sulphites, so this is good news for anyone experiencing symptoms after drinking wine.
I'm not sure what the natural wine scene is like in the States, but here in Europe it is growing rapidly. Plenty of restaurants in London are offering organic selections on their wine lists and the demand is increasing. Try some next time you see it offered - you might be pleasantly surprised!