The Rise of the Urban Artisan
With the explosion of street food carts and local markets sprouting up in just about every corner of London, it is no surprise the small-time producer gang is also on the rise. They join a recent resistance to mass-produced food, fighting off the supermarkets, celebrating products that are made with love, passion and of course, a great skill. We list some of our favorite urban artisans, that produce in the some fantastic goods in London itself!
Lewis of London ice cream, Barnet
Fold Farm has been home to the Lewis family since 1962, and they have been producing ‘zero-farm miles’ products well before phrases like “farm to plate” or “foraging” even hit our foodie dictionaries. The best thing about Lewis of London, is the exactly that – the dairy product comes straight from a farm in London, not Devon or Cornwall. Distribution is still kept within the M25 so you can enjoy luxuriously, creamy flavoured ice cream, made locally, right on your doorstep!
Wildes Cheese, Tottenham
Who would have thought it, a cheese micro-dairy in North London? The aptly-named management consultant –turned “urban cheese maker” Philip Wilton is London’s only urban cheese maker producing a number of artisan blended varieties including a Latin American style Mozzarella and his best seller, Londonshire, a mix between brie and gorgonzola. Philip says: ‘I’ve lived in Tottenham for 30 years, and in my head cheesemaking meant countryside, until one day the penny dropped. I thought, if you can brew beer on a London industrial estate, then why can’t you make cheese?’
Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey
Bermondsey, think the arches, riverside (just), old garages and of course Maltby Street market. Kernel Brewery is set under the arches of London Bridge making up Bermondsey Beer Mile, and produces some of the best beer to come out South London such as Indian Pale Ale, London Stout & London Porters. So much so, that already owner and brewer, Evin O’Riordain, was awarded British Guild of Beer Writers Brewer of the Year 2011, as well runner up in the Observer Food Monthly ‘Best Producer’ awards.
E5 Bake House, Hackney
Have you ever left the office after another really frustrating day and thought about opening your own bakery? Well these guys did just that! Eyal Schwartz and Ben MacKinnon left their day jobs so being a sourdough revolution in the heart of Hackney. All their breads are entirely hand-crafted sourcing flour from traditional, local mills and serve coffee roasted from east-end roasters. The bakery also promotes a sense of community, working with local artists and entrepreneurs for the well-being of their staff and customers. So who’s back in the office tomorrow for another 13-hour day?
The London Honey Company
Now purveyors of fine honey, it was a little different fourteen years ago when Steve Benbow of the London Honey Company was managing hives located in the likes of lift shafts across Central London. Steve, also the man behind the honey bees on the roof of Fortnum & Mason and the new Tate Modern honey has hives tucked slyly into all sorts of odd locations around the city and expanding into the UK. Furthermore, there’s a community of these types of “urban” beekeepers, they are attracted to producing from more unusual sources, it’s like bees to honey! To meet the man himself, check out his next beekeeping class.