Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cheese & The High Seas

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?


  1. Tenaya, I'm so sorry to hear that you got sick on your trip! What a bummer!

    I was actually thinking of you yesterday, because I was at the Fancy Food Show in NYC, and it was a sea of cheeses to taste. You should try to go next summer if you're around, you would LOVE it.

  2. I've always wanted to go to the Fancy Food Show. Did you pick up anything divine?

  3. Gosh how I miss the Borough Market - good times in Old Blighty...unlike the QM2 hey? Damn those floating cesspools of filth. Sigh, still, can't wait to hear all the gory details, in less than two weeks!