Freshly bottled summer wines, bikes for the city’s busy commuters and cheese pungent enough to clear a Tube carriage – all these and more are made in London. Alahna Kindred samples a selection of the city’s own goods.
Urban Orchard cider
Any spare apples you don’t want? Donate them to Hawkes, London’s East End cider makers. In return, you’ll receive some freshly pressed Urban Orchard.
If cider’s not for you, they’re willing to pay 20 per cent above the market rate for the apples – not bad for a bunch of old fruit.
There are more than 15 apple donor stations in the capital that help mix in Londoners’ offerings with fruit bought by the company.
The name “Hawkes” was inspired by street hawkers, London’s working-class entrepreneurs and street vendors of the past.
Creating a cider in London means everything to Hawkes and using donated apples is part of their contribution to reducing the amount of food waste in the capital.
Think folding chairs with wheels and you’ve almost got it.
Brompton bikes, or Bromptons, are collapsible bicycles that have been made in the capital since 1975.
From inauspicious beginnings in a South Kensington flat, Brompton now makes 45,000 bikes a year in their 84,000-square-foot warehouse.
Their design is what makes Bromptons different from a traditional bike. Because they collapse, they can be stored and carried around easily. A collapsed Brompton is only slightly bigger than a traditional city briefcase.
Bromptons are so popular that there are seven times more of them in London than the city’s own Boris Bikes. They’ve even proved popular outside of the UK, with the company exporting their products to 44 countries.
There are around 90,000 Bromptons in the capital, according to the company’s communications manager Nick Charlier.
“With London there is mass migration and this bike can fit seamlessly into your day-to-day activities because of its design,” he said.
For those wanting to cycle in style, there’s even the option to customise the colour, spokes, tyre frame and handlebars.
London Cru winery
You may not find a fully-fledged vineyard in the capital, but this winery takes grapes from Fulham and elsewhere to produce award-winning wine in London.
“Cru” is a French term sommeliers use to describe vineyards of particular quality.
“It’s a deliberate play on words for what we are doing in London as an urban winery,” said Emma Partington, Business Development Assistant at London Cru.
Their batches range from 80 to 600 casks and are stocked in Michelin-starred restaurants around the capital.
London was obvious for the company when choosing a location for their first winery:
“This city attracts different industries and there is a place for a winery here in the capital,” Partington said.
According to Philip Wilton, the co-owner of Wildes Cheese, you know you have made a good cheese when the “stars align and the angels start to sing”.
The company produces two new cheeses a month from their shop in a Tottenham industrial estate, sourcing the milk from a sustainable farm in Lancashire.
Wilton set up the company with his business partner Keith Sides in 2011, after being made redundant from his role as a management consultant.
Wilton cited Madonna’s chameleon-like transformations as an inspiration for how he wants to “reinvent” cheese and the way people consume it.
The cheese can be found in restaurants and markets around London. Some customers have even requested wedding cakes made of cheese.
“We are always inventing and creating,” Wilton said. “It’s a fast-changing city and to live in this city you need to be able to be fast-changing yourself.”
Featured image by Philip Wilton