Celebrity Cruises are recognised worldwide as a cruise line that goes the extra mile to provide their guests with experiences which become memories long after they arrive home. One of these experiences and one for the guest to become part of is ‘CHEF’S MARKET DISCOVERIES’. Join the ships chefs on a culinary adventure, join them ashore, watch as their experienced eyes roam the stalls and shops for the perfect ingredients to make that special meal. Such was my enjoyment as Celebrity Cruises brought this unique experience to London. Borough Market to be exact, one of, if not the oldest market in the capital.
History tells us a market has existed in the same area since 1014 but only moved to the current location bordered by Southwark Street and Borough High Street since 1756. The market was at its height from the 19th century due to its close location to the Pool of London. Continuing as a bustling market for traders, in the late 1990s the ethos changed. It became a market exhibiting and selling foods from around the world. Hams from Spain, cheese from France, street food from the Orient and many, many more. It found new life becoming a venue for food festivals and exhibitions. Walk from shop to shop, stall to stall, sample the delights of cheeses with aromatic flavours, freshly carved ham, gins and vodkas from new micro breweries or watch bread being made whilst devouring a mouth-watering miniature coconut pancake.
Finishing our tour with samples of champagne and oysters at Richard Haward’s Oysters, a company that has been in the family for 7 generations it’s time to say goodbye to Celia Brooks our very knowledgeable guide and say hello to our chef, Kenny Tolley. Time to accompany Kenny to stalls and shops, what a pleasure to see a true professional selecting the best ingredients for our forthcoming feast, and yes, it will be a feast. Cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy, meat carefully selected from the Ginger Pig, fish chosen and then boned from Shell Seekers and our vegetables from a nearby stall where the magnificent display of numerous varieties creates a fusion of colour.
Selection and purchasing done, we head for our lunchtime venue, the prestigious Hawksmoor ‘Borough’ Restaurant, renowned for its quality and attention to detail. ‘Cooks Room’ is a private dining venue where you can watch your chef utilising his culinary skills to produce a meal that is rarely equalled and never bettered. Starters are of succulent Old Spot belly ribs, Hawksmoor smoked salmon and chargrilled Heritage courgettes with spelt and Westcombe ricotta complemented by a delightfully chilled light dry white wine. After a decent period has passed the mains arrive and what mains, prime rib, Porterhouse and Chateaubriand with wonderful deep pink centres, Heritage tomato salad, triple cooked chips, mushrooms, macaroni cheese and an oh, so smooth, creamed spinach. To wash it down, a glass or two of a medium red wine served at room temperature. For some, including me, the best was yet to come: the yummiest sticky toffee pudding I have ever tasted with a mouth-watering toffee sauce. No wonder it has won national awards. Finally, cheese and biscuits arrive for those that have the room. It was indeed a feast, cooked to perfection.
This was a memorable experience for all the right reasons and to experience it whilst cruising on one of Celebrity Cruises beautiful ships in an exotic part of the world must be a memory that will last for ever. What time does the next ship leave? I want to be on it.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Celebrity Cruises.