The food scene in London is brightest than ever. The foodie movement has strengthened its ways into more sustainable, healthy eating. Most foods get crafty; artisans shed new light to traditional techniques and stretch their limits. Be it a pastry and coffee, savoury condiments or delicious new charcuterie there is always something to tickle your taste buds. In shorts, the focus is on artisan food, delicious food produced locally and sustainably.
What is artisan food really?
There is a lot of fuss about artisan food. From the shelves of small delicatessen shops to open air markets, new labels pop up to claim the jam jar you are holding is artisan. In essence, artisan food is a product that has been crafted following traditional methods, with minimal or no preservatives, raw material stay local and most importantly seasonal. Take for example a simple loaf of bread, with thick crust and full body; it can never equal its sadly packaged supermarket counterpart in flavour. Even if it’s for a simple melting cheese sandwich, a handmade loaf tastes divine.
There is a wealth of heritage that has been revived, renewed and thrived under the independent food movement. Artisan food expresses nothing more but our need for clean, natural food, produced with non-industrialised methods. Crafters put the old techniques to the test: some will work just fine as they are, there is hardly any room for improvement with some of the classics. Who would resist the plain old strawberry jam your grandma would make? Some take it even further. Would you say no to an exciting new flavour like Clementine, cardamom and saffron marmalade? Craft and skill is the key for artisan products. Traditional stands for good merit but there are so many new and interesting flavours to explore, limited by the artisan’s imagination only.
Where is the best place to find artisan food?
Numerous shops hold on their shelves unique crafted items. If you are in search of honest artisan food, the best place to look is the open-air markets. Many artisans sell their tasty ware on food stalls, be it a weekly market on small neighbourhoods or well-known founded markets like Borough market and the newly established weekend food market at the South bank.
This brings us to the London must eat foods. What should you be on the lookout for?
There is something for everyone. If you have a sweet tooth there is an amazing array of fudge, pastries and cakes to choose from. Along with traditional fudge staples, such as nougat or honeycomb, there are exciting new flavours like chilli chocolate. As for coffee lovers, London must smell like paradise. The amazing smell of freshly roasted coffees inundates the markets and you can find specialty varieties from all over the world.
What would you say to complement your coffee with a slice of cake? London must eat foods lives in the small independent bakeries. You can find fabulous displays of cupcakes crafted with true love and delicious cakes to try: from the traditional carrot cake to mouth-watering red velvets or crunchy salt caramel. Perhaps you love tea more though. Would you care for a fine cuppa with a teaspoon of London honey? London rooftops have been buzzing with beehives over the past few years. People not only grow food in their back gardens and allotments, they have taken up to the rooftops to keep the precious honey bees and golden honey.
For savoury food lovers, there are many chutneys and condiments to relish. Going beyond the traditional flavours, artisan kitchens come up with some must eat dishes. If you are a cheese-lover you can have a taste trip around the world in myriad flavours. From the much loved Spanish manchego to barrel aged Greek feta there are many small creameries that produce excellent cheese and dairy products. British creameries couldn’t be missing from the London must eat foods. Beyond the very well known blue stilton or the unending array of cheddars Neil’s Yard creamery offers more than 70 different varieties of cheese. To match your chutneys but most importantly your cheese, you need nothing more but to grab some down to earth Cornish sea salt crackers or perhaps oatcakes for your soft and creamy goat’s cheese.
Charcuterie is another field worth exploring. Have you ever tried York ham? Its robust, clean flavour makes it perfect for cold weather and a wonderful sandwich. You can take sausage and mash to the next level using some of the artisan sausages. If you are more inclined to exotic flavours, seek out the Cornish seaweed and cider salami. Getting charcuterie from small farms that rear the livestock themselves and come up not only with classics but godly new flavours couldn’t but make it in the London must eat foods.
The London food scene has outstanding artisan food to offer. Even if the price tag takes you by surprise, just remember that there is a lot of effort put in local, sustainable food production. Isn’t it worth a try?