I'm so excited to be going to London for the World Skills Competition accompanying two students from New Jersey. Any ideas for things that I shouldn't miss--bakeries included, of course.
Presumably you wouldn't have so much time just for visiting bakeries all over London, so I think the easiest thing to do is going to either Borough Market (very near London Bridge station) or the new 'Real Foods Market" (South Bank). There're many well known bakeriers there and some of them have plates of samples for you to taste. They're both good for other food stuff, too. If you go to Borough Market, go and visit Neal's Yard Dairy which is right next to the market itself. They have a good selection of breads which they source from selected well-know bakeries, too. (including Poilane....though I must warn you their breads don't taste as good as they used to.)
.........God, what the **** am I doing??? The biggest problem those markets have these days is too many tourists come, making it very difficult for us, the locals, to really shop, not just taking pictures!
But still, they're fun places to visit, one of the most popular tourist destinations in London, apparently.....::sigh:: :p
Have a good time! :)
ETA: One of the good bakeries that don't have a stall in those markets are Clarke's of Kensington. Definitely worth visiting for their baked stuff, not only breads, but also cakes, biscuits, etc. Also there're several branchs of Paul of France, scattered around London, which is quite popular, though I think they're a bit over-rated, IMO.
I hope you have a fantastic time in London; what a great opportunity for your students at World Skills! Well done for that.
Borough Market was my thought too, as noted by lumos. I suspect you may very well love Ottolenghi as well:
All good wishes
Tourists preventing locals from "real shopping" at Borough Market? Seriously?! Prices more like.
I didn't say 'preventing and what I meant by 'the locals' was the regular customers, not 'the locals' who actually live locally near the markets. Most of the regulars know very well how expensive their products are, but still we choose to go there, because there isn't much alternative for getting that qualitiy and varieties of foods they provide in/around London in just one place, unfortunately.
It's just that it's becoming more and more difficult to get around (especially late morning - afternoon on Saturdays) because of increasing number of tourists filling up the market, just taking pictures (often of themselves in front of stalls) or just standing or chatting or whatever which is actually not shopping.
But still, it's a good place to go if you want to experience some sort of food galore in London.
Do you like the brand Burberry? They have an outlet in Chatham Place, Hackney. While you're in Hackney you should also go to Broadway Market, not as big as Borough but it's full of character. You would also have a chance to find out first hand what banh mi is all about. Saturday is the day to go and if you fancy something more than a roll, you could try one of the vietnamse cafes in the Shoreditch area.
If you are interested in toppings for bread as well, go to Neil's Yard Diary in Covent Garden, for an amazing choice of British cheeses. You can go in and try before you buy.
They also sell artisan bread fron their own bakery and sliced Poilane miche.
Three other places I would like to recommend - not baking related:
1. If you like baroque interiors go to the Wallace Collection; the Wallace family bought up furniture etc which became available in France due to the turmoil of the French Revolution. Maybe you are able to spot the odd slice of bread on some of the amazing paintings...
2. Sir John Soane was a famous architect (Bank Of England) and he designed his home in a way that it would serve as a museum after his death. It remained largely unaltered, very quirky.
3. If you want to get a glance at 19th century industrial England and you like the special aesthetics of those steam engines, go to Kew Bridge Steam Museum
In this old water pumping station they have several huge steam engines, the oldest one built by Boulton & Watt in the 1840s, and with a bit of luck you can see it in operation (on weekends). It occupies a 3-story building and is in fact woven into the building in a symbiotic way.