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My relationship with cultured food

The trend for fermented food, which is sweeping the UK in general and London in particular, is not new to me.  Fermented food is deeply embedded in my culture.  Far from being a new technique to master, I have grown up with this method of preserving the bounty of the seasons for leaner times.  Long  holidays were spent watching my grandparents preserving cabbage in oak barrels.  Through lengthy, harsh winters, when fresh fruit and vegetables were unavailable, we ate fermented sauerkraut, apples, garlic and onions. The windowsills of my home were lined with jars of Kefir and Kombucha, tended lovingly by my mother. 

I ate, and continue to eat, lacto-fermented foods because I believe the evidence of my own experience.  I see them as immune system boosters that, as a minimum, help me and my family fight colds and flu but I believe have many more beneficial effects particularly on the digestive system. While scientific research is taking place into understanding the importance of the human gut microbiota and microbiome and the usefulness of lacto-fermented foods, we consumed them because we experienced their efficacy on a day-to-day basis. 

I feel lucky to have a fruit and vegetable business in south London - Puntarelle & Co - with access to some of the best produce from the UK and the rest of Europe.  I started to make lacto-fermented products using end-of-the-day unsold produce from our Saturday retail trading as part of a ‘No Waste” project some time ago.  As my interest in the science and microbiology of fermented foods has grown, I have taken my inherited knowledge less for granted and committed to exploring its benefits.  Our Saturday retail customers have been buying jars of our fermented foods for some time now and positive feedback has encouraged me to develop them as an additional line of business.  We felt these fermented products needed a descriptive name to differentiate them from our fresh fruit and vegetable sales, so, now their labels carry the brand name London Fermentary.  

London Fermentary – Redefining Cultured Food

London Fermentary is not just about Sauerkraut, Kimchi and pickled cucumbers – even though we do produce Sauerkraut and delicious crunchy Lacto-Fermented Gherkins using traditional artisan methods.  I feel our lacto-fermented products are taken to a different level of flavour, refinement, beauty and complexity.  They appeal to a wide range of backgrounds and tastes, from those searching for foods they have grown up with to people looking for a healthy addition to their diet.  There is a whole world of cultured food and drink which we look forward to introducing you to. 

We pay a lot of attention to the raw ingredients and flowers and wild herbs play an important part.  At London Fermentary we make delicious fermented products in small batches with great care following some biodynamic principles and a love for what we do.  These products range from Japanese style ‘Daikon Pink Ferment’, ‘Leek-Chi’ a Korean version of Kimchi, Eastern European ‘Lacto-Fermented Gherkins’, and German ‘White Kraut’. If this type of food is new to you, you might want to try one of our lacto-fermented condiments, like Smoky Red Pepper Sauce as an introduction.  They have many uses and are a good way to introduce fermented foods into your diet.  Water Kefir too is a gentle introduction via a minimal-sugar, cultured drink.  We also offer ‘Gut Shots’ which are very popular with sports enthusiasts for hydration and as a booster.

We are confident we offer the largest selection of UK produced lacto-fermented products.  We currently supply a few select independent shops and restaurants in London including Louie Louie in Camberwell and the full range is available to purchase at our Bermondsey premises each Saturday.  

With love , Elena.