London E8, London Fields
I was too bleary-eyed to see the notice telling me that the London Overground line was disrupted for the weekend and ended up on a replacement bus that took hours to meander its way east, the smelly drunk who sat next to me with his eyebrow pierced by a rusty nail wasn’t the best appetite stimulator either.
My queasiness evaporated within seconds of getting simultaneous blasts from the buskers playing blue grass and the scent of hot truffles and mushrooms. Broadway Market includes crafts and vintage stuff but is very much all about the food – and not just any old food, this food is superior food in every way – the stalls are very competitive on this issue; Wild Beef from Devon trumpets that the dead cow they are selling is ‘More than Organic’, the mutton seller gives precise details of the age of his animals and the rhubarb I purchased had been to finishing school … ok that last bit’s a tiny exaggeration but you get my drift.
Far outstripping the stalls selling raw ingredients are the ones selling prepared food, stuff you can take home like handmade pasta and homemade sauces, there’s charcuterie from all over Europe and there are acres of cakes and bread as far as the eye can see, as a bread fetishist I dithered around several bread stalls before finally choosing a Californian sourdough with a perfectly golden and blistered crust.
And then there is all the food you can scoff on the spot – or while you’re walking along getting an anxiety complex about whether you chose the best thing; the first stall I looked at was run by a talented and far too popular chef who is pushing the boundaries of Scotch-eggdom with a range that includes Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg, Black Pudding Scotch Egg and Thai Scotch Egg??? he also had a range of sweet pies that looked divine beyond belief, I couldn’t decide between the chocolate, lemon or egg custard pies so I wandered off to look at other things – that chocolate pie stayed in the front of my brain, I had to have a piece, I came back for it, but it was all gone.
A huge section of the market is given over to chefs cooking on the spot with their hot plates and boiling pans offering food from every part of the globe; stews of African, Indian, French and Portuguese persuasion, gourmet hamburgers and hot sausage rolls, crepes, rissotto, pies and pasties. The only way to deal with this is to take as many greedy friends as you can muster – and make sure they like sharing.
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