The Cereal Café proved that breakfast is big business. But it’s not all American and sugary: Andy Hill starts the day with the best of London’s gourmet grains.
Let me get this straight. Cereal is actually made in London?
Yep. There are loads of cool independent producers making breakfast cereals so tasty you’ll never eat a bowl of sugary puffed rice again.
Where are all these grains grown, then? Sunny Ealing?
Not quite, although Camden-based Alara packs its organic muesli with produce grown on former waste ground in NW1.
It is! These days around half of the organic muesli eaten in the UK is made by Alara. Also it was among the first UK companies to be certified zero-waste, so it’s breakfast with a conscience.
Very ‘peace and love’.
Yeah, well, it’s muesli, mate. If you want to spread that love, try Spoon Cereals from EC1. Its granola is all about wellbeing, using rye and spelt flakes for that crucial morning hit of antioxidants and maple syrup in place of processed sugars. Delish! You can get Alara and Spoon from all good health food stores or online at www.alara.co.uk and www.spooncereals.co.uk.
Any gluten-free options?
Of course there are. Probably the nicest thing ever to come off a Bermondsey industrial estate, Mini Magoo offers a range of hybrid ‘graneusli’ options containing zero gluten. Not only is it wildly snap-crackle-and-popular, with tons of hungry visitors a year to its stall in Borough Market, but its produce is available in the rarefied surroundings of the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.
Oh là là! Anything more bespoke available?
If you’re looking to thoroughly pimp up the most important meal of the day, Alara once again has the answer, offering an online service where you can select from nearly 200 ingredients – including damson, hawthorn, Chinese pears and Japanese wine berries – to create your very own delicious custom brekkie.
Muesli, schmuesli. It’s winter, the only thing I want when I wake up is a cuddle.
Well 26 Grains offers the next best thing, with a groovy range of savoury/sweet porridges inspired by the super-cute Scandinavian concept of hygge (pronounced ‘huggy’), meaning ‘cosiness’. Aww! Head to www.26grains.com.
Who has time for a sitdown breakfast these days?
Not me, so newcomer to the market Ollybars offers raw, gluten- and additive-free superfood cereal bars at a selection of cafés around its kitchen in Hoxton.
Okay, but the big question… does any of them offer a plastic toy at the bottom of the box?
Nope. The adult world is a bitch.
The White Stuff- Three alternatives to semi-skimmed to pour on your flakes
The Pressery Almond Milk
This Haggerston outfit makes its hand-pressed almond milk in converted slush puppy machines. Flavours include original, cacao, berry or turmeric. Available from Hubbub (£5.50), Selfridges or delis around the capital. www.thepressery.co.uk
Rebel Kitchen Dairy-Free Mylk
This rock-star grocer straight outta Mayfair does alternative milks for the sweet-toothed, with dairy-free chocolate, chai and green tea ‘mylks’ (£4.99 for a three- 330ml taster pack), plus groovy options for kids. www.rebel-kitchen.com
Ahimsa Slaughter-Free Milk
Ahimsa sells dairy milk from cows lovingly tended by the Hare Krishna community (£2.25 a litre). Each individually named member of its herd gets a luxurious retirement in Wales when its milking days are over. Moo! www.ahimsamilk.org