Weekend in London #1

Last Friday I had my first trip of the autumn to London, to visit WJT. Crisp but sunny weather throughout the whole weekend created a perfect setting for enjoying some open-air activities.

On Saturday morning, we visited Barnes Farmers Market in South West London. It is a charming little market with few stalls offering locally produced fruit, vegetables, cheese, poultry, fish and meat of the best quality. In the  lined up stalls of this delightful tiny market, you can also find a wide array of traditional British food, together with international food ranging from Thai or Swedish to French or Italian. Everything is produced locally and most specialties are cooked in front of your eyes!

We tried a few cakes from “Chez Moi Chez Vous” (which is the first stall on the left as you enter the market): orange polenta cake, carrot cake and cheese cake. All equally stunning. The orange polenta cake had a very interesting texture: the top was soft and creamy, enriched with orange juice that made it particularly moist. The carrot cake was soft, embellished by very tasty nuts and bits of carrots; the contrast between the airy dough and the crunchy bits made it very special. We saved the cheese cake for breakfast on Sunday morning and – although it is difficult to say – maybe this was my favorite. The bottom, very biscuit-like, was hard and had a hint of savoriness, whilst the cheese was quite acidic – the result being a marvelous cake, very well balanced and not at all too sweet.

The biggest hit of the day, though, were bacon rolls and burgers from the Barn Bacon Co, a family run business. Their meat comes from rearing free range animals. Bacon and hams are traditionally dry cured the old fashioned way using old recipes. Their products preserve the traditional British taste and they are freshly cooked in front you of. The smell of sausages, eggs, bacon and burgers fried on the grill made my mouth water. We shared a bacon-egg roll and a cheeseburger (they cut the meat in half and put the cheese in between, so, when the cheese melted, the meat had absorbed its flavor, becoming even more tasty). The only problem was the very long queue – we had to wait about 30 minutes to have our lunch – but it was totally worth it!

After lunch, we went to the Shakespeare’s Globe to see Richard III. The outdoors theater, completely made in wood, decorated with medieval style, really brings you back in time. Despite the difficulties of the ancient language, the actors were so absorbing that they made the public raise, laugh and clap hands many times – more than in most of the other theaters I’ve been to. The fact that it is allowed to bring Pimms inside during the show, made it even more enjoyable! It was highly entertaining and an experience that I would recommend if you are around London when the theater is open.

I will write about the dinner we had on Saturday night in a separate post, so that I can share all the tasty details with you (Harwood Arms, London).

On Sunday morning, as I said, we had the cheesecake we bought at the market and, for lunch, we went to a Chinese restaurant near WJT’s place. There was a Sunday buffet offering many different dishes – my favorites were fried chicken, fried asparagus, chicken with vegetables and rice noodles with shrimps.

Finally we had some more carrot cake in the afternoon, just before I started my trip back to Milan. What a relaxing weekend!

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