Sunday, April 01, 2012

Jamon Iberico and Other Treats from Borough Market London

One of my favorite things to do in a big city is visit the local food market. Some cities like Washington, DC have lots of smaller markets. Other cities like Melbourne in Australia have a huge central market. Some markets are temporary locations in a parking lot, others are large permanent halls.

Whatever the size or scope of a market, it usually provides an opportunity to experience the food culture of a city in a way that is not possible just through restaurants or traditional grocery store food.

Borough Market in London ( is near the London Bridge Underground. It has a permanent location spanning several buildings, and is open Thursday - Saturday. While there are many farmers selling their produce, I would call Borough a food market more than a farm market. There is a great mix of artisans who sell food products they have made, specialist resellers of wine and other products, and of course lots of vendors of fresh produce, meat and fish. While Borough is not as big as Victoria Market in Melbourne, that is the market it reminds me of the most.

I visited on Saturday with Will, and did not spend as much time exploring as I would have liked. However, we really enjoyed the artisans, and have a variety of jams we are taking home. We also bought dinner for our last night in London, including caprese salad ingredient, delicious fresh sausage (spicy chorizo and venison with cranberries), and Jamon Iberico. The jamon came from the vendor Brindisa ( and it was really special. I love pork, and if I could only eat one meat, it would win out. There are many great ways to eat pork, from pulled pork barbeque to artisan bacon to thick cut porkchops. However, in my opinion cured iberico ham, made from pigs fed on acorns and allowed to forage in the forest, is pork raised to its ultimate form. This is a relative of prosciutto and other cured (hung and air dried) hams, but it is drier than prosciutto and I think has a much richer and nuttier flavor. Brindisa has been importing Spanish food to England since 1988 and they had several varieties of Iberico ham. We bought 100g of a version that was aged for four years. It was lovingly cut by hand, and we happily devoured it at dinner last night. It was pricey at 15GBP for 100g ($108/lb) but that is probably less than it would be in the US. Of course, buying from a merchant so vested in the quality of their product is a great experience in itself.

Via iPad

No comments: