So, I did a transatlantic crossing aboard the QM2 last week, but the highlight wasn’t the food…or the nightly balls…or even the hot tub under the stars. In fact, the highlight of taking a ship to England didn’t happen on board at all. Alas, I got seasick, caught the flu, then ended up quarantined in my room and relegated to sipping broth, so the real highlight was, uhm, getting off – boy, was I glad to – and searching out some good cheese on my sad little sea legs. Thank goodness for London’s Borough Market on the south bank of the Thames. This Saturday I was there, on firm ground, eating my first bite of solid food in a week: a heavenly Halloumi veggie burger that was, quite possibly, the best veggie burger I’ve ever eaten. Who knew Halloumi -- that soft, grillable cheese – could taste so good minced up with mint and zucchini and carrot, then sandwiched in a bun, and served up by a grinning Rastafarian? Bliss.
Here was more bliss: a few photos from this age old market, where you can find wheels of Stichelton piled on high, samples of beautiful Comte, and, lo, dear friends who love a melty meal…halves of Swiss Raclette toasting over hot irons manned by beautiful cheesemongers who scraped the goo over steaming new potatoes garnished with cornichons. What a thing of beauty!
What a small price to pay (braving sharks, bracing my arms against a rocking ocean liner, holing up in a windowless cabin) for pleasure! I’d do it all again if this mariner could end her wave-tossed week with a paper plate of stinky Raclette waiting at the dock. Next time I travel the ocean, I’m going to take a Halloumi air mattress. And a lot more digestive biscuits. And some Imodium.
P.S. Should you find your cheese-loving self in London this summer, do your whole body a favor and make like a banshee for the Borough Market (it's just a mozza toss from the Tate Mod). Wander through the gleeful masses, buy some cheese, sample a homemade sausage, and marvel at the twentysomething culinarians who are creating a food community like no other. Then, sit on the ground outside the Southwark Cathedral and drool over everyone else's food. And iced coffee. And berries with unpasteurized creme. Who needs a lot of fancy teak decking when you can have so much luv on shore?