Saturday, November 20, 2010
I stayed a week in London before heading to Italy for Terra Madre. While in the city, I spent significant amount of time furiously pedaling a one speed rented bicycle, weaving between double decker buses and retro-taxi’s, chasing after my friend Leighton- fellow beer-hunter and expert urban-jungle pub guide. Leighton's passion for ale began in earnest last year, when he worked for a craft-beer distributor in NYC. However, he recently relocated to London and I was more than happy to be his incentive to explore the culture of real ale on this side of the pond. From the Cask Pub and Kitchen to the Harp, we explored every cask ale pub Leighton could think of, and even a micro-“if I ever saw one”-brewery fitted snuggly into an arch bellow a railway. By coincidence, my only official appointment in London turned out to be the next arch over, an office/distribution center for Neal’s Yard Dairy. There, on an uncharacteristically sunny morning, I met Bronwen Percival, a buyer for the company with a compendious knowledge of cheese-making and an infectious enthusiasm for its minute sensory details. I had seen Bronwen present a paper on farmhouse cheddar making at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery in July, and since I was back in London I decided to drop her a line. Fortunately for me, she took time out of her busy schedule to show me around a little bit. Check out the pictures here and on the slide show.