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Billingsgate Market | Tour & Festive Breakfast

Something really amazing happened this week - I got up at 5:45am. Only joking, I was invited to attend a tour of the historic Billingsgate Market and a festive breakfast hosted by the onsite Billingsgate Seafood School. Excitement overload.

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

I made sure to have a good nights sleep before hand knowing how much I favour the snooze button these days but I made it on time - sort of - at 6:45am for the tour of the market to begin. We were welcomed by CJ - the CEO of the Seafood School, which offers a range of courses to everyone from chefs in training to the general public. Pretty cool.

We were then asked to put on a white coat each and the tour began with our excellent guide Barry. Barry offered so much information about the market, the history and its present day to day runnings. I never thought I'd been oooing and aahing about fish, but I can safely say I was and still am completely and utterly captivated by the market.

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Barry told us that although trading starts at 4am, the market really starts to come alive at 10pm each night when all of the lorries start arriving to each be thoroughly checked against the market's extremely high standards for quality. It's so clear to see how much the quality and freshness of the fish are of the utmost importance at this market. Some of the fish we saw had come all the way from the Indian Ocean and was under 2 days old. Mind = blown. At one point Barry held up a trout that was still in rigor mortis, which he explained happens a few hours after the fish is taken out of the water, and lasts for up to 6-8 hours after that. That's how fresh the fish is there.

We were told that there is up to 150 species of fish sold at the market, including fresh, frozen and cold and hot smoked fish and seafood. We got to try some hot smoked mackerel, which at that time in the morning was a little hard to stomach for me personally, but still tasty. We also had the opportunity to try some jellied eels - but I (unsurprisingly) passed up the opportunity.

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

After an hour of looking round the market, we were taken upstairs for our gourmet festive breakfast which started with a glass of champers - obviously went down a lot easier than the smoked fish at 8am - and some information about the seafood school. CJ gave us some good ideas for how to use fish at Christmas as well, which included a whole salmon fillet with a 'festive' crust to be baked in the oven as a centre piece for the table. Such a fab idea.

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

We were then taken in for breakfast where I enjoyed a lovely smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast with some brioche toast I believe. It really was delicious and the other dishes, including a smoked salmon kedgeree and haddock benedict royale, looked equally as delicious. Needless to say all the fish served had come from the market downstairs which makes it extra awesome.

I absolutely loved the market and now know where to get my fish if I ever host a dinner party - unbelievable value for the freshest fish, it really is no wonder why all the top restaurants in London get their fish there.

Billingsgate Market Tour & Festive Breakfast

The Seafood School is offering the luxury festive breakfast in the run up to Christmas which you can experience for £35 - As part of the breakfast you get an informal introduction to fish from CJ, who with years of experience behind her, will go through a number of delicious and different recipes from Christmas Day lunch to Christmas party canapés. For an extra £10 you can arrive an hour earlier for the tour of the market - which for me was the absolute highlight of my visit and is the real gem of this offering.

The Seafood School are also offering Gift Certificates for their range of courses, a really great present for any foodie wanting to learn more about how to use fish and seafood in the kitchen.