Despite living in London for six years now, there are still many areas I haven't had the chance to explore. This city never fails to surprise me and it never gets boring! My latest discovery is Belgravia, an expensive residential area with beautiful white stucco houses, nestled between Chelsea and Victoria Station.
Belgravia is a quiet neighbourhood, with lovely cafés, bridal shops and embassies. The reason for my venturing out there on a sunny Thursday afternoon was The Belgravia Aperitivo at Market Quarter Deli.
Market Quarter is the flagship store of Le Marché du Quartier, a Borough Market stall dedicated to selling only French produce and wine since 1998. The selection at the Belgravia deli is not limited to French food, but ranges from Britain, France, Italy, Spain and beyond. You can find hand-carved Iberico ham, specialist cheeses, German rye breads and other products.
There is also a wine cellar stocked with fine wines sourced by expert Arnaud Compas; wine tastings are on the calendar every month. The wine selection for the aperitivo, on the evening I attended the event, included a Spanish prosecco, Cava Privat; a Spanish white wine, Rueda Verdejo 2011; and an Argentinian red wine, Malma 2010 Pinot Noir.
Market Quarter works with small artisan producers, offering the best quality and taste possible, together with a friendly and knowledgeable service. During the aperitivo, the wines were matched with delicious Spanish charcuterie.
Acorn fed Iberico Ham by Jamones Blázquez from the town of Guijuelo in Castile and León.
Cheeses and chorizo produced by Hacienda Zorita Organic Farm (also from the region of Castile and León): Queso de Oveja Curado (aged sheeps’ cheese), Torta de Dehesa (sheeps’ cheese for scooping), Chorizo and Salchichon de Bellota.
Extra virgin olive oils by Artajo, which produces eleven varieties of oil, is sold exclusivly by Market Quarter in the UK. Their oils are made from arbequinal olive trees grown in the Navarra region; the olives are cold pressed, then the oil is bottled unfiltered in dark glass bottles to raise its quality and richness.
After two hours of great wine, food and chats, I left Market Quarter to wander through the beautiful streets of Belgravia, already planning my next visit.
The aperitivo takes place every Thursday (5.30 - 7.30pm). It costs £15 per person, includes two 125ml glasses of wine (chosen weekly) and a selection of cheese & charcuterie (plus 10% discount for all purchases on the night). For more information, follow @MQBelgravia on Twitter.