A Stick of Cheese and Olives

January 2014

Stumbling into the heat of Borough Market after hours of wandering in the freezing cold was an instant relief. For my mum, in particular, it represented a foodies delight, and she flitted between stalls trying all the freebies laid out tantalisingly on the tables. My dad and I followed behind, still intrigued but our perspective was clouded by hunger for more than just the morsels of homemade marshmallows and brownies being able to be tasted. And then, under a bright yellow umbrella, was Bread Ahead’s cheese and olive bread. To say we devoured the stick is an understatement – we absolutely inhaled it, raving about its virtues and praising the bread gods for its existence. What we didn’t figure was that we weren’t going to have time to go past again that trip, and should’ve stocked up on more!

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December 2015

For all its eccentricities, Peckham had its perks: a closer walk to Borough Markets than when we had stayed in Lambeth, and certainly a more lively vibe than anywhere else I have been so far. It’s gritty and loud, fun and the streets still blare with music in the early hours of the mornings. We wandered from this cultural hub to the edge of the Thames, where Borough Markets stands a melting pot of – well, food – as well as experience and delights under the one roof. We ran to Bread Ahead straight away, knowing to purchase two cheese and olive sticks rather than one (you only make that mistake once!) Nothing had changed in those two years since we had last visited Borough Markets, and yet everything had changed.

May 2016

I sat on the edge of the ledge lining the pirate ship, with my cheese and olive bread safely tucked away in my bag, and a falafel wrap warming my fingers. It’s so comforting to have traditions in a city that isn’t your own; to know your movements on a weekday lunch, while other tourists flit about, anxious to get their fill of all the culinary delights. I looked up to the church spires right above my seat, remembering that cold day two January’s beforehand where my parents and I had sat munching on this exact meal, sauce dripping and the Church cat slinking about our legs. Despite the immense changes that have happened in my life between those two falafel/Borough Markets moments, this stayed the same. Maybe the olive bread isn’t as amazing as I think it to be (correction: it definitely is amazing!) and maybe it’s the nostalgia surrounding this tradition that keeps drawing me back xx

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