The Magical Fairy Land that is London’s Borough Market
I basically starved my way through Europe. It wasn’t some sort of magical foodie filled wonderland for me. Being Celiac in this day and age is pretty challenging when everyone and their brother claims to “not eat gluten,” – making all of us with the actual disease look like hipsters. Traveling was all tuna fish and granola bars until I spent a day venturing into the colorful oasis of Borough Market – where allergy free food stands, friendly traders, and low prices awaited me.
Lots of people will tell you that there are better, bigger markets to be found in Europe. They’re right, but Borough Market is still worth all of the hype that it gets, in my book. Maybe I was so starved that I’m over-dramatizing the situation, but I was ridiculously excited about this place.
This little kid? This is me on the inside.
There’s a little bit of everything here. Vegetarian options, gluten-free bakers, dessert makers, produce stalls, cheese stalls, chocolatiers, oysters, ciders and juices, ice cream, coffee carts, and cuisine from all over the world are all included in this tiny fairy land of deliciousness. I got totally lost in some sort of trance for a long time while I struggled to wrap my mind around everything around me and decide what I wanted.
This grilled cheese situation was something I looked longingly at for a long time before accepting my Celiac fate.
My fellow allergy-plagued friends – this is your time. Cross contamination will always be a concern when eating out, but Borough Market is full of stalls like The Free From Bakehouse that are dedicated gluten free. You’ll also find some places that are naturally gluten free, or that understand Celiacs and will accommodate your requests. It’s your big chance to not go hungry. Make sure you check out The Veggie Table, Boston Sausages, The Flax Farm, Field and Flower, and keep your eyes peeled for other gluten-free signs – the market is always growing!
I wish could remember what the heck this was that I had for lunch, but all I know is that it had lamb and was the most amazing thing I had eaten in a long time. It wasn’t on the menu, but after I explained my situation the kind lady at the stand had taken fresh ingredients out of the back, cleaned the grill, and cooked this delight up for me. I basically inhaled it.
My one regret is that I didn’t buy more. I was concerned about staying on my backpackers budget, but in retrospect I should’ve just gone for it anyways.
Bring plenty of pounds and an empty stomach. This is about 900x more exciting than taking a picture in front of Big Ben.