So, back to London! It’s been almost a month since I got back now, so
I’m no longer able to think of a coherent narrative to tie my food stories together (OK, the last post wasn’t so coherent either. I haven’t had much time to write). So, here comes London food in list form:
- · We took a day trip to Cambridge so that my sister could check out the universities. It was a sunny day, but chilly and windy, so we wanted to have a proper tea (we didn’t know until later that what we were looking for is called “cream tea.” We found a place that offered just that—a pot of tea, two scones, their jam of the day, and clotted cream. Clotted cream! I had heard of this, but I don’t think I’d ever eaten or even seen it. It falls somewhere between dense whipped cream and butter. Upon opening the little tub, the surface of the cream looked almost “crystallized” (those are the clots). Upon breaking through that layer, you get to a fairly firm substance, like butter, but when you spread it on the scone, it becomes slightly viscous. We’d been sitting there snacking for a while when my sister declared… “I still haven’t figured out what this is.” It was a rather extraordinary substance for those of us seeing it for the first time. Oh yes, and the taste was, as mentioned before, somewhere between cream and butter. As a side note, the scones were really good as well.
- · I’ve read about French macarons on many other food blogs. I’d never had one, and I figured a cosmopolitan city like London was the perfect place to find them. I actually had to duck into a few bakeries before I found macarons at Pierre near the Apple Market. They had them in coffee and chocolate flavors.
I tried the coffee one later that same afternoon. It was pretty amazing—the cookies had the crispy outside and chewy insides, and the coffee-flavored filling was slightly grainy with sugar, but still distinctly coffee-flavored. The chocolate one I didn’t try until the next day, and I think the cookies had absorbed some moisture, because they were pretty soft throughout, not chewy. The chocolate filling was a rich ganache, smoother than the coffee cream, so it was basically like eating a sandwich of soft, rich chocolate on soft, rich chocolate. I couldn’t even finish it. I also purchased a palmier from the same bakery for my sister, but she ended up leaving it in the hotel room when she left, so I had it as an airport snack on my way home. It was my first time eating one of those too, and I appreciated its buttery caramelized deliciousness.
- · Fish and chips were a must before leaving London. I don’t really know what to say about them, since everyone knows what fish and chips are like. The fish was really good (and I’m impressed that I got such a good picture of it), the chips were not. Mushy peas are good too—they taste just like peas, but they’re funny-looking. I’d actually like to find out how to make them. Are they basically just mashed peas, like mashed potatoes?
OK, that ends my foodie adventures in London. There were a few more beers I tried that I wanted to comment on, but I’ve lost my notes, so I’m not even going to try. Besides, I’m not nearly as good at writing about beer as Evan, who has linked to me from his blog. Thanks Evan! 🙂