To reward myself for my meticulous pre- and post- birthday bender presentation planning, today was adventure #3 with Flatt 66 around Central London. Layered in coats and Christmas spirit, we headed to South Bank to see the Christmas markets!
Future market-goers, my tip to you- not only is the Glühwein a.k.a. mulled wine sold at these markets incredibly delicious (especially served with Amaretto), but they are also a great way to battle the chilly weather! After grabbing a couple cups of our own, we adventured our way through the pine-and-holly decorated Christmas huts lining the South Bank stretch. We navigated slowly through the crowds past miles of more mulled wine, bratwursts, cheeses, candies, carousels, jewelry, books, hats, scarves, elf photographers, hot roasted chestnuts, fake snow- if your inner Christmas innocence can dream it, South Banks Christmas market has it!
After I’d stocked up some incredibly priced and one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, we’d had our fill of Christmas spirit (and spirits). Next destination – the Borough Market!
The Borough Market is chock-full of local farmers, butchers, cheese-makers, spirits venders, bakers, artisans, jam-makers, etc. etc. etc. selling their high quality goods at generally reasonable prices (I scored a 340g jar of the best raspberry jam I have ever tasted for £4) and local yogi’s and hipsters scouring the market for what I can only assume will be that weeks’ addition at their posh Sunday-night family roast.
We headed over to the Kappacasein stall and grabbed a bite of one of Borough Market‘s most esteemed dishes, the Raclette. Seemingly not far off from your standard ‘Jacket Potatoes’, the ingredients consist of simply some hot potatoes, a bit of salt, and cheese- but the magic lies in the the latter. Watching the process of how the Raclette is made is an essential part of the experience:
The cheese topped on the Raclette is called ‘Oglesheild’, and is one of Kappacasein‘s own cheeses that are brought in from an organic farm in Kent, where they produce their own dairy products. Half a wheel of Oglesheild is place in a vice under an open flame and basically grilled this way until about an inch from the top is melted. Meanwhile, the lovely peeps working behind the counter are chopping up steamed potatoes on a plate. Potatoes chopped and cheese melted, they take a gigantuous spatula (I’m sure there’s a technical term but for the sake of story-telling) and scrape the melted cheese off the wheel and onto your papas:
Unfortunately it evaded me to take a picture of the magical result of all of this before devouring the thing, but I can tell you from experience that it was just as delicious to consume the second time as it was the first!
After meandering through the market for a bit longer, we headed back to Uxbridge, Christmas goodies and full bellies in tow.