“Food, glorious food,
We’re anxious to try it
Three banquets a day
We’re anxious to try it!”
—- from the musical Oliver
I can’t remember the last time I had a grilled cheese sandwich, but today we tasted the best ones on earth at the Borough Market. Our Naperville neighbors and London experts Betsy and Pete urged us to visit the Borough Market and get the grilled cheese, and we are happy to say that we followed their advice.
The Borough Market has a thousand-year-old history, when farmers brought their produce to the London Bridge. The market now resides under a Victorian arcade and while it’s a wholesale produce market on weekdays, on Saturdays it’s open for retail.
When we arrived there around noon, we were drawn in by delicious aromas of roasting meats and other savory concoctions, but we were on a mission. Where was the grilled cheese? We snaked our way through the hungry throngs, found the booth we were seeking, and got in a longish queue.
Pete and Betsy did not steer us wrong. The sandwich is a gorgeous creation of a scrumptious, oozy blend of cheeses, just the right sharpness, melted between two slices of crunchy, crusty bread. Nestled in the cheesy mixture are minced leeks, adding a savory little snap. This is no Velveeta-on-white-bread; this was a sandwich we’ll dream about.
After eating our sandwiches and any gooey bits stuck to the waxed paper, we widened our scope to take in everything in the market. Grilled cheese wasn’t the only lunch option. Vendors sold so many yummy selections, like traditional meat pies and mash, slow-roasted Herdwick lamb available in a wrap or a salad box, paella bursting with fresh shrimp and served in take-away bowls.
Sensory overload! For those with a sweet tooth, there were plenty of offerings — fruit tarts, fudge in a bunch of flavors, softball-sized meringue cookies, chocolate chips as big as a dinner plate. Fishmongers sold diver scallops and other selections from the sea displayed on beds of ice. Each vendor proffered something tempting…Prosciutto and salami, French wines and cheeses, shiny, briny olives in all shades of green, goat cheese ice cream, heirloom tomatoes in hues of red, purple, and gold, strawberries, peaches, mushrooms, potatoes.
We treated ourselves to some French comte cheese, some garlicky olives, one basket of pretty strawberries and one of raspberries the size of golf balls, two giant cookies for take-away.
As Oliver Twist might say, “Please, may I have some more?”