I loved Borough Market when it first opened. It was nearest to the heavenly, endlessly tempting local food markets you can enjoy all over France, Italy and Spain that you could then find in London. I shopped there every week. But then it became THE prime Saturday destination and as the crowds poured in it became impossible to get anywhere near the stalls. And I hate, hate HATE crowds. So I stopped going.
But then chatting with one of my favourite new cheesemaker discoveries in Chelsea's Partidges' Saturday market in Duke of York Square (more on this later) he told me that actually Borough was pretty good during the week - on Wednesday to Friday it was reasonably quiet and you could really shop. They have a stand there and they like it so do go and see. So I did and he was right.
Key to know is that there are actually two parts to the market: one mainly with ready to eat food and the other focused on fresh and/or artisanal produce - although Mrs. King's Traditional Melton Mowbray Pork Pies placed right next to The Ginger Pig butcher in the produce area are so spectacular they are a reason to visit Borough Market all on their own! And you could eat them right away.
What else you could eat right away is cheese. This market is almost overwhelming in its supply of not just but mostly British made artisanal cheese. As well as the made in London cheese stand I came to see - Wildes Cheese with its delicate, fresh selection which I had already discovered in Chelsea - but Alsop & Walker with a good selection of Sussex made cheese (the creamy, nutty "Mayfield" received Gold in a number of British cheese awards). And of course Neal's Yard Dairy is nearby with its spectacular collection of cheeses from the British Isles.
The Borough Cheese Company sells just one cheese - comte - imported from France which on its website it calls simply The Cheese. And it is sensational. Mons have a good choice of French cheeses and cured hams while Une Normade a Londres have a large variety of French cheeses, charcuterie and prepared items.
Brindisa, right next to The Ginger Pig, with its fantastic selection of Spanish produce has always been a prime reason to visit Borough - though now that they have opened in Brixton, I have two places to shop here in South London for the right ingredients to use in Penelope Casas' Spanish recipes. Chegworth Valley's apple juices and fresh fruit and vegetables are also at my favourite Pimlico Farmer's Market but it is nice to see them here as well. My husband is addicted to their fruit compotes. Yum.