Celia Brooks has added two districts to her acclaimed gastrotours: Borough Market and Covent Garden.
On a grey Thursday morning, I joined the Covent Garden press tour. I had high expectations, I was certainly not disappointed. Celia's tours are rich in discoveries, even if when have been trawling the London's streets and places for foodies for the past twenty years.
Her Covent Garden tour was entertaining, peppered with information and delicious.
At Covent Garden station, Celia greeted us with a box of delicate Ladurée's macarons. Ladurée opened shop in Paris in 1862. Their shop in Covent Garden with Pyramides de Macarons in camaieu of colours is the exact replica of that in Paris. Ladurée were the creators of macarons as we know them. We were all very impressed that Celia remembered the 16 flavours in the box from Rose to Pistacchio with a different filling each time.
Next onto the yard and its fascinating history, look up: the Monty Python lived and worked here and of course it was the birth place of the now world famous Neal's Yard remedies.
I'll gloss over The Slow Food Movement shop which we visited next. A very worthwhile organisation, sadly I lost concentration as the managing director, ex-UN employee, evangelise about the good they do with heritage food and food awareness.
Much more entertaining was our next stop. On Thursdays, near the Covent Garden plaza there is a food market. We, literally, ate our way through what London is best at: ethnic mixity. Now with huge smiles on our faces we were tasting Slovenian food
Polish ostrich sausages and when we finish with Eastern Europe, we moved to Latin America to eat traditional Capachas at a Venezuelan stall.
Capachas are crushed corn kernel pancakes, a delicious traditional dish. Here I have to pause for a minute to explain that I tried to cook Capachas without success. I couldn't understand why such as simple recipe went so wrong and now I know. South American corn has a very high content of starch which holds the patti together.
This is what is great about Celia's tour: all along you grab information relevant to you. A tour de force, on that day, since she was addressing food experts.
Our final stop was down into the well inside the market were the acoustics is fantastic. While we were serenaded by buskers we had a taste of Cafe Chutney's Bhel Puri. Authentic Indian street food.
Time to pack, thank you Celia for inviting me to share your passion of food and London.