Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 867 : London town

Confession - London is one of my favorite places in the world and it sure is home currently to some of my favorite people. The perfect balance of small town neighborhoody feel in a big city atmosphere. Quaint little row houses, cobblestone streets, tucked away mews with bars to pass the afternoon away at, the lush greenery of Hyde and Regent's Parks, the constant buzz on the streets of Soho, strolls along on the Thames and more -- London surely has something for everyone.

Arriving to London Friday morning with the Olympics in full swing - I had no idea what to expect with the crowds and chaos. To my surprise, the London that I was spending time in was quiet and calm. Granted venture near one of the Olympic venues and you were guaranteed to see plenty of volunteers holding up big pink styrofoam fingers pointing in the direction of the nearest Olympic event, outfitted of course in all Adidas gear. Regent Street was outfitted in all of the flags of the participating nations with side streets populated with rows upon rows of Union Jacks.

I wasn't in London for the Olympic games but more so to catchup with friends and as the beginning stop of my summertime trip to Europe.

No trip to London is complete for me without a stop into Neal's Yard -- purveyors of fantastic cheeses from the British Isles. So of course on Friday's agenda was a visit there.

What's good right now at Neal's Yard you might be wondering?

How about British produced, Italian inspired, aged raw cow's milk firm cheese, Federia? Nutty and tangy yet sweet and grassy. This was an excellent snacking cheese or perfect grating cheese.

In the mood for a blue? How about Beenleigh blue from Devon? This aged sheep's milk blue was light and creamy yet bright and grassy with a subtle tangy piquant side. Perfect with a glass of medium bodied Cotes du Rhone.

Duckett's Caerphilly also wowed - rustic and barnyardy yet creamy and round - this cheese was the sort that lingered in all the right ways on your palate. Great with a nice IPA.

Sure that's only three, fret not, there were plenty of other cheeses that were classically British to choose from but these stood out for me.

Welcome to London!

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