what to bring back?
I am heading to London for a business trip and would love to bring back some specialty foodie items that you can't buy in the U.S. ....unusual jams, spices, teas, chocolates.
Boring but nice _ I'd head to Fortnum and Mason's fantastic food hall. They've got the lovliest teas and jams, many of which are the house brand, and they're beautifully packaged so great for gifts.
Having said that, whenever I go home to Canada I always have to bring some of M&S' finest (at Christmas, I think I had six kilograms of puddings and shortbread with me) _ but if any of the fabulous hounds have suggestions for my next round of gifts, I'd be grateful, too.
Thornton's Chocolates are great, made in the UK, their toffee is particularly fine and you get a goodly amount for your cash.
How about cheeses? Fortnum's or M&S would be good places, a current trendy favourite is White Stilton with Apricots, it's lovely with rich fruit cake such as Dundee cake, which you will also be able to get at somewhere like Fortnum's or M&S or indeed Harrods food hall.
Smoked fish is another idea, such as Salcombe Smokies or Manx Kippers, I am afraid that I don't know where you would get them in London, but if you were to come across them in one of the above listed places, they are great! Beware that the word 'smokies' can have an altogether different meaning in other contexts!!!
Whittards are good for speciality teas, they have shops all over the place
and they do nice gift selections so very good for presents.
You'll find a lot of interesting things at any of the major supermarkets, such as Sainsbury's and Tesco. And at the cornershop, you might find even more in ethnic variety.
There are a great condiments available in any supermarket - Ploughman's Pickle is a particlar fave of mine - delicious with bread and cheese - but the range and variety of these chutneys - which the Brits calls 'pickles' is really astounding.
I travel to the UK regularly - the most popular - make that wildly popular - item I bring back is Tunnock's Caramel Wafers. They usually last about 3 minutes when placed by the office coffee machine. Another is Cadbury's Flakes - a very delicate chocolate bar which breaks easilly - the airports have got wise to this and actually sell them in boxes which keep them intact during flights. The tradition is to stick them into an ice cream cone - that is called a '99' - no idea why.
Lastly - but a little more bulky and again rather delicate - the UK has a mind-boggling array of flavours of potato chips - again I have brought bags of these to the office and it has been a conversation piece for days. Just as an example of some of the flavors -
Sausage and Tomato
Chicken Tikka Masala
Cheese n Onion
Thai Red Curry
Chip Buttie (i.e. french fries on buttered bread - tastes exactly like it too)
and many many others - go to a supermarket and check out the potato chips (crisps) aisle.
Funny - Because the one thing my husband asks to be brought back is crisps. I hope the ones you listed are available when we go over in May. I have never had a chip buttie crisp - but I want one desperately! (I'll pass on the doner kebab, thank you.) My favorite "classic" flavors are smokey bacon and prawn cocktail.
Good suggestions all. One question _ can you bring cheeses back into the States? I think it's a no-no to Canada. There's some very innocent looking beagles wandering around Pearson airport sniffing bags, looking for sausages and the like. Check before you buy, otherwise you'll have to be like a friend of mine and eat an entire ham in the customs hall. Using a pen knife.