Can’t say what it is, but I adore open-air food markets . . .
Oh wait, I can say what it is. The constant grazing. The free samples. The local merchants who named the goats who produced that cheese. The smells. The bustle and crowds and je-ne-sais-quoi that seems at once intensely historical, as though out of a Dickens novel, and immediately contemporary.
Last Saturday (has it really been a! week!), Clara and I went to Borough Market for a pre-Tate Modern lunch. Of course, the exploring the hundreds of stalls quickly turned into the main event. We spent several hours sampling fois gras, syrupy balsamic vinegars, dozens of hard cheeses, exotically flavored Turkish delight, broken-off squares from local chocolatiers, cider and mulled wine and prosecco, Spanish jamón, candied nuts — and on, and on.
Of course, we couldn’t resist bringing some of those fantastic flavors home. I bought a jar of goose fat (sounds gross, or at the very least weird, but goose fat roasted potatoes will change your life), mushroom pâté, a tin of hard-to-find Mexican chiles, an Italian “drunk” cheese (so named for its red wine crust), a container of roasted zucchini hummus, and a rustic loaf of bread. Together with the freshly made duck confit pasta Clara picked up, we pulled together a marvelous late dinner — one which not even an exploding bottle of truffle oil vinegar could spoil.