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“Made in London” food & drinks: eating hyper-locally

I am proud to publish a guest post by fellow Italian blogger, and fellow London lover Carlo from The London Expat. He leads us into an exploration of food and drinks made in our beloved city.  

[UPDATE on September 20, 2014: a few of you asked “where can I get these made in London foods?”. I have found  – well, they have found me in fact, but that’s another story – a great London-based online store called Craved Foods where you can get your paws on these and more local products – wine and spirits, cheese, charcuterie, etc. Delivery is free for orders over £40 and all their items come from local small batch producers. Eat local and support London food makers!]

gin and food made in londonThe concept of carbon zero food isn’t a difficult one to grasp and appreciate – the less energy used in getting it to our plates, the better. But even though things do grow in London (even in unexpected places- remember the hydroponic poly-tubes in the Undergound?), the prospect of a completely self-sufficient city is still utopian. However, the growing ‘Made in London’ movement is making its mark in other ways – taking the best ingredients and focusing on home-grown talent to create something whose heart belongs in the city.

So what “made in London” products and which food & drinks people are making waves?

 

Cheese, chutneys and confectionery – made in East London

Kylee Newton set up the Newton and Pott label nearly two years ago, turning a skill and enthusiasm for making chutneys and jams into a Hackney-based business enterprise. The British-grown cucumbers used in her Gin Pickled Cucumber are given that extra London botanical-twist by adding a splash of gin, and Kylee continues to keep it local by selling directly to the public at Broadway Market every Saturday.

Made in East London-3

Cheese, pickles and jams are East London’s local produce (photo: courtesy of David Coxlin, CravedFoods)

Sticking to East London and moving to the south-east, the Brockley-based Blackwoods Cheese Company might not find too many cows wandering their local surrounding streets, but the folk behind the operation don’t have to venture too far for the raw milk required to make ‘Graceburn’, a feta-like soft cheese marinated in rapeseed and olive oils, garlic, thyme, bay and pepper. Their supplies come from the Commonwork Organic Farm in Kent and just like their use of gin, what could be more ‘London’ than some enterprising Australians working their culinary magic in the city? Antipodeans Cam, Dave, Rory and Tim are the brains behind Graceburn and their other delicious London-made cheeses. One thing you can find an abundance of in London is blackberries. Yes, even in some corners of East London, which may have inspired the ‘Bermondsey Bramble’, a creation of English Preserves. This company has been going since 2001 but still make all their jammy products in the heart of Bermondsey and locally source their ingredients.

London spirit(s) – “made in London” Gin

It’s not all about East London though – west is best when it comes to gin it seems. Sipsmith Gin is now a familiar sight in many a bar and drinks cabinet – an amazing achievement considering that, until recently, it was distilled in a small warehouse near Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith. Now based down the road in Chiswick, this independent company is going from strength to strength.

spirits made in london

Clockwise: Sipsmith Gin, made in Chiswick; tasting at the London Cru winery (photo: www.sipsmith.com and http://www.londoncru.co.uk and )

 

London-made wine may seem like an unlikely prospect but those folks at London Cru sure are making a good go of it. The grapes come from the more traditional vineyards of south-west France, but the expertise behind the bottle is located in West Brompton – their 2013 SW6 Cabernet Sauvignon is just as much about the skills of London-based winemaker Gavin Monery as it is about the sun-kissed grapes from the continent.

Continuing London’s tradition of taking ingredients and turning them into something special, the Made in London movement may not completely adhere to the carbon zero food philosophy but it’s certainly in the same culinary ball park.

About the Author:

Carlo Pandian is an Italian expat and blogger at The London Expat blog. He writes about London, frugal living and hyper-local food; his writing has appeared on The Culture Trip, Vino101 and Broke in London.

 

P.S. Are you a food/drink maker in London? Please get in touch if you want to be featured in future posts.

P.S.S. Do you want to write for Into The F- World? Drop me a line or tweet to me @intothefworld

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