England – a paradise of great food and exceptional cheeses

borough markets

It’s been 20 years since I’ve visited the UK. Nothing personal, it’s just been hard to find the time, what with being so busy and all on the weekends and schedules that never seem to meet up. I can tell you two possibly true things about English food then;
a) it was crap
b) the good stuff was very well hidden somewhere.

I’m happy to report that it’s now very, very good here. Starting with yummy calves’ liver at the local pub when I got here to the Borough Markets the next morning – I don’t know how people don’t spend every day here buying a pheasant or handmade cheese made from, insanely dangerous for Australians, raw milk. And if there’s not enough cheese there, there’s Neal’s Yard Dairy, which is stacked with lovingly made cheese  all with tiny signs saying who made them and where and staff desperately keen to find the cheese that will bring you happiness. Then when you’ve done all that you can go and buy a par of jeans at the Paul Smith shop.

Tooling down to Brighton we stop in at Ridgeview Estate, where they’re cranking out multiple gong-winning sparkling white. Brighton itself, once you’ve checked out the beach and played mods v rockers, has more vegetarian restaurants than Australia has vegetarians.

In short, it’s been stunning so far but the important thing to realise is these things don’t happen by themselves. It’s communities organising themselves, people’s labour in creating excellent products and other people supporting them. To see this level of transformation is a fantastic lead in for the Slow Food Terra Madre conference, which is just a  few sleeps and and a couple of train rides away.

borough markets red mullet borough markets

10 comments

  1. Anna’s avatar

    I cannot tell you how nice it is as a Brit to read this post! Thanks!

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Love your work, British person!

  3. Alessandra’s avatar

    Yes, the cheeses have improved a lot in the UK! Are you going to TM? I just returned from Italy, I am part of SF Waitakere (NZ), two of our members are going (beekeepers), maybe you will see them.

    Have a great time in Turin

    ciao
    Alessandra

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    I’m here now! I sat across from a couple of your fellow slow fooders at the opening ceremony!

  5. Bettina’s avatar

    I left London for Scotland where I can have a garden and be within a couple of hours of wilderness, but every time I visit Borough Market I think about moving to one of the tiny flats next to it and living on devils on horseback, venison liver and the Stinking Bishop.

  6. Suzanne’s avatar

    When I was there about 20-25 years ago, I really wasn’t impressed with the food. So, I hope to go back again soon to taste some wonderful cheeses!

  7. hotels adelaide cbd’s avatar

    I really want to go to england one day, one thing is for food and the other is to watch a football match of my favourite team. Oh I want to try the cheese as well. Thanks for sharing.

  8. chopinandmysaucepan’s avatar

    I’m from Sydney and I would definitely do the cheese from raw milk but to think of a whole bunch of vegetarian restaurants clumped together… heart pulpitations!! :)

  9. Archtop Guitars’s avatar

    Most don’t tend to put England and great food together, so it’s good to see someone give it a whirl.

  10. Spécialiste de l'éphémère’s avatar

    I sometimes travel to England, and it is always enchanting.
    Probably the most well kept secret, but food there is fabulous.

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