BOROUGH MARKET is rich with history, but it remains as relevant now as it has ever been. As London’s oldest food market, it has been serving the people of Southwark for 1,000 years, and that extraordinary heritage is an important part of its appeal.
But this is not a museum piece—it is a dynamic, ever-changing institution; a participant in the wider debates around what we eat and where it comes from; a place where food is talked about almost as enthusiastically as it is consumed.
First and foremost, though, it is a source of genuinely exceptional produce. Many of the Market’s stallholders are themselves producers: the farmer who reared the animal, the fisherman who caught the fish, the baker who baked the bread. Other traders have built their reputations on seeking out small-scale artisan producers and bringing their wares to Borough. Together, the Market’s stalls, shops and restaurants reflect London’s status as a truly global city, with traditional British produce sitting alongside regional specialities from around the world.
Borough Market is a riot of colours, smells and human engagement. The traders—a vast repository of culinary knowledge—are only too happy to share their expertise with shoppers, or else just pass the time of day. Their voices are added to by the chefs, food writers, campaigners and teachers who help make the Market’s cookery demonstrations, publications, public debates and educational programmes so highly regarded.