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Local Secret #3 – ‘Free’ Breakfast at Borough Market – London

Borough market, by the river in London, is a firm favorite with foodies and sells really good quality produce ranging from Spanish jamon to cheeses, wine, homemade cakes and desserts. Sadly, it’s also really expensive. But don’t worry: here’s the great part (that the tourists don’t know about (yet…)). Every stall offers tasters! Not just tiny ones either – the brownie tasters are about half the size of a full one anyway… And if you’re sneaky, it’s easy to eat a complete filling breakfast just from snacking on tasters (obviously totally free!!). Walk through first so you can plan a good route – taking in the ham, fresh warm bread, fruit and juice…
Failing that, there’s also a great Spanish place, Brindisa, that does breakfast, but 1. That’s not free, and 2. It’s way more fun to do it the local way!

                 

( both photos via flickr.com)

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European breakfasts: explained

Breakfast is, as we all know, the most important meal of the day, so it’s no wonder that it’s taken very seriously in countries across Europe. The northern Europeans such as the Germans and scandis love their salami and ham on massive rolls (no stereotyping here), while the French like their own delicacy – the croissant.

                                         

Spaniards like to go crazy with the garlic on their pan con tomate – toasted bread rubbed in garlic with tomato paste and olive oil. Especially in southern Spain the Moroccan influence is obvious – after all, north Africa is just across the med. Arabic-style breakfast favorites include raisin bread and honey glazed pastries.

                      

And although they’re not restricted to breakfast time, many spaniards like some churros con chocolate on the side: rectangular donut things dipped in melted chocolate.*

                         

And of course, who doesn’t love a greasy, calorific English fry-up? The eggs, bacon, sausage and baked beans aren’t complete without some lovely black pudding (congealed pigs blood for those of you who don’t know – mmm)…

* it’s surprising Spain has a low obesity rate compared with the rest of Europe, to be honest

                 ** it’s not surprising Britain has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe

Fish and Chips – a British ‘delicacy’

One thing you’ll find on any beach in Britain: a fish & chips stand. Traditionally presented wrapped in newspaper, people then drown their fish & chips in salt and vinegar. This delicacy is often accompanied by bread and butter. While not the most low-calorie meal in the world, fish & chips can be warming while you’re sitting shivering on the beach in the British ‘summertime’.