Cold comforts

Categories: Behind the stalls

Borough Market weather-hardened traders share their tips for keeping warm in the winter

Ask any trader how they keep warm in the Market and the first thing they’ll tell you is: “Layers”. Layers, and thermal clothes. Yet what happens when it’s really, really cold and you’ve fitted all the fleeces, vests and jumpers you can onto your body? What happens when, like last year, you’re hit by the Big Freeze? Of course, some traders are fortunate enough to spend their days by a fire, frying mushrooms or warming up mulled wine—but those who aren’t so lucky have devised some ingenious, sometimes borderline insane ways of beating the chill.

Connor, Mini Magoo
Cardboard. Cardboard is the answer. I stand on cardboard to prevent the cold rising up through my feet. In the Big Freeze my friend Rob actually wore cardboard around his clothes. It seemed to work for him quite nicely. Besides the cardboard, I drink hot lemon and honey all day and wear slipper socks in my shoes.

Hayleigh, So Chocolicious
I put hot water bottles down the front of my apron, and always have soup in a flask. If I’m really cold I’ll eat a liqueur chocolate. Our tequila truffle warms you up nicely!

Ewa, Bianca Mora
We frequently have hot chai from Ratan’s stall, Tea2You. It has ginger and golden milk, which really warms you up nicely. We also take it in turns to go and stand in the storage room. It’s warmer in there because the heat rises from the restaurant downstairs. One of my favourite things is to dip parmesan into hot chocolate. It sounds strange, but it’s basically like salted caramel hot chocolate—sweet, but also salty. You have to try it. Trust me.

Tim, Blackwoods Cheese Company
Fortunately, now we have our own unit rather than a stall out in the open, so we are a bit more protected from the Market’s biting winds—but it’s really important to look after ourselves and the staff and keep them warm and happy. We invest quite heavily in a steady supply of Ratan’s teas. The thing I will always eat when it’s really cold is a Ginger Pig sausage roll, because you need the fat and the carbs for energy.

Chloë, nibs etc.
I’m wearing five pairs of socks at the moment—well, two pairs of tights and three socks. I need extra big walking boots to fit them in. My other top tip is regular squats. They really get the blood going and you’ve the added benefit of exercising your thighs. Oh, and hand warmers! My mum bought me some and they are great.

Sam, Richard Haward’s Oysters
I used to be on the boat, catching the oysters, and there we would stand on pieces of polystyrene to insulate our feet. We do that here sometimes, when it gets really cold. To eat, I’ll have pasta from La Tua Pasta. Oysters are delicious, but they don’t warm you up really! To be honest, though, when it’s busy we don’t have time to think about the cold. We’re too busy shucking and running around.

Rachel, Paul Wheeler Fresh Supplies
Make sure your feet are warm, make sure your head is warm, and fill a big container up with hot water and hold it.

Shuk, Ted’s Veg
My top tip is to not stand too close to your heater. If you do that you will get cold the moment you move slightly away. If you have a heater, stand away from it and let the heat circulate round you. Don’t just heat one part of the body. You need a warm core.

Traders’ hot drinks for cold days:
The Colombian Coffee Company—artisan Colombian hot chocolate 61% cocoa
Rabot 1745—mocha  
Change Please—cappuccino
Organic Life—orange peko tea
Tea2You—masala chai
Monmouth Coffee Company—flat white
Chegworth Valley—hot apple juice