Covent Garden Gastrotour

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.
First stop: Neals Yard Dairy. Not a surprise, this dairy is  a gem of a cheese shop and an institution. It was one of the first  shop to opened here  in the late 70s when the area was still derelict.  We were given the opportunity to ask loads of questions to the very knowledgeable staff while sampling Stichelton, an unpasterised kind of Stilton, so different from its pasterised version, much stronger and more, much more flavoursome. We tried Hafod, Montgomery cheddar, Childwickbury  each time with background information on the producers.

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.

Just when I thought I could not fit anything else in. Our tastebud were tantalised by an array of intriguing traditional Italian dishes layed out especially for us by the charming managing director of Della Terra a new wine bar in St Martin's courtyard. We learnt about albino wine and ate Puntarella, or green chicory which is bought to their kitchen by their forager. Absolutely amazing.
Time to pack, thank you Celia for inviting me to share your passion of food and London.


Nick @ Looking to Cook said...

Love the collage.

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Would be better if it was doing what it is supposed to do : be interactive
Thanks for leaving a comment.

Emmyw said...

Wow, just wow! That sounds like an awesome day out!!! I would love to do one of these tours :) maybe I'll hint at the bf taking me on one for Christmas ;)

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Oh yes, go for it. Birthday anytime before Xmas. It is really something you'll remember. Let me know if you do

Anonymous said...

Looks amazing and delicious, I'm going to Covent garden on Sunday, can't wait now x

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Hi Carmela, thank you for your comment. Make sure that you get to the lower level it is full of surprises.

Shaheen said...

Love it. I enjoy Celia recipes and own a number of her cookbooks, I'd love to go on one of her Gastro tours, I just don't live near London - but I guess it makes for a trip. May have to put it on my to do list one of these days. Thanks for sharing your experience of the day.

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Hi Shaheen,

You might be in luck, Celia is offering one comp. tour - Give away coming up tomorrow.
Thanks for reading

Ren Behan said...

Hi Solange, I really enjoyed reading about your tour with Celia. It is lovely to be guided around an area of London and to be able to explore all the foodie highlights. A lovely write-up and of course, I've entered your lovely giveaway! Best wishes, Ren x P.s Loved the Polish sausage!



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