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American-type Dill Pickles in London

I cannot for the life of me find a dill pickle in London. At this point I'm not picky - I'd take even a lousy Vlasic or Claussen-type American grocery-store pickle, but it would be great to find a NY or Chicago-style deli pickle. I have only found "pickled cucumbers" at the grocery store...and they're sweet, not savory. Cornichons, while lovely, aren't cutting it.

What am I missing? I am sure this is just one of those things that's lost in translation....

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  1. Sainsbury stocks the "Mrs Elswood" range which, I think, includes a dill pickle which is reasonably similar to to what I've had in NYC on the side with a deli sandwich. You'll find them in the ordinary pickle section of the shop or the kosher section.

    You'll often find our supermarket pickle ranges will come in two varieties - one marked "sweet", the other not marked, which isnt sweet and will be the one for you to try. Other than that, you need to find a Jewish deli but, not living down south, I can't help with you that.

    1. I find Mrs. Elswood a fairly good substitute for what we had in U.S. supermarkets. You probably good find Kosher pickles in one of the Golders Green shops. Bloom's deli (I think that's the name) might have them. Funny, pickles is one of the things I don't miss too much.

      5 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        Waitrose do a good range of haimisha style pickled cucumbers. I love the freshly pickled 'New Green' cucumbers you find in the Kosher fridge section. Also they do an Israeli brand which delights in the name of Beit HaShita which are excellent.

        1. re: loobcom

          I don't know if we have Kosher fridge sections in the Surrey Waitroses... can't say I've ever seen one... but then again, I never looked carefully. Are you Kosher? <g>

          1. re: zuriga1

            I don't observe the laws of kashrut.

          2. re: loobcom

            Sadly, although Sainsbury's still sell Mrs Elswood's cucumbers, they've dropped the Haimisha's - at least in our local store. Any of the delis in Golders Green is probably your best bet for proper pickles - there's one next to Carmellis bakery that should have them.

        2. I don't know for sure but I used to live in St. John's Wood where's there's large Jewish population and there's a Jewish friendly deli called Panzer's a stone's throw from St. John's Wood station.


          There's also Harry Morgan's on St. John's Wood High St.

          I would call both ahead before visiting.

          1. Excellent - thanks so much. We haven't had much success at Waitrose, so I will try Sainsbury's. I am not sure if our Waitrose (Barbican) has a kosher section...I have bought Matzoh there, but didn't notice that it was with anything else specifically kosher. :)

            3 Replies
            1. re: KaCHing

              Best kosher sections in Waitrose stores tend to be in places like Temple Fortune etc. Selfridges Food Hall has a sizeable section, or did before the latest re-modelling of the Food Hall, now I know.

              1. re: KaCHing

                Working to the assumption that the origin of the Jewish style pickles will have been north/east Europe, it may be worth a look at discount supermarket Lidl (if there is one in your part of the world). Company has many products from that part of the world. As an aside I have a pal who raves over their German flour mixes for his bread making machine.

                1. re: Brit on a Trip

                  Your friend is right about the flour at Lidl's. They opened one in Leatherhead last year, and the prices of the flour (and mixes) are incredibly cheap. I haven't tried them yet but should. I'll look for pickles, too. The Aldi stores might have the same.

              2. Good pickles (ie Guss' Pickles or Pickle Guys) are one of the things I miss the most about NYC and have not been able to find a substitute for in London when the craving hits. I eat them by the dozen when ever I go back.

                I make do w/ Vlasic and others from http://www.skyco.uk.com and Planet Organic typically stocks some Kosher Dills made in California which are OK (the name escapes me).

                I do need to make the rounds of Golders Green to truly rule out finding any decent pickles here.

                Actually, the closest thing I've found to a really good picke is suprisingly in Paris in the Marais at a Polish Patisserie.


                1 Reply
                1. re: NYLONDave

                  The Marais was the Jewish section of Paris. Maybe the Polish patisserie has Polish Jews doing the cooking!

                2. 'Partridges' on Duke of York Square (Sloane Sq area) have them in their American food section. You would be surprised what a small but good American food section they have.

                  1. Costco. Yes, Costco. There's one out by Thurrock and one in North London. The one by Thurrock definitely has good, American-style dill pickles. I'm pretty certain they're British made. They're somewhere in taste between half-sours and fulls.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: crabcake

                      Are Costco's membership only in the UK. If so it's not an option though I'm tempted to check it out.

                    2. Thank goodness for the arrival of Whole Paycheck! I spent 2 years hunting London for REAL dill pickles. Whole Foods has some delicious ones imported from Napa Valley. Can't remember the brand but the Napa Valley ones for sure. Check them out. And the prices are WAY better than Partridges - much better pickles, too. Enjoy!

                      1. I'm hoping you've found your pickles by now but if not I found the motherload at Yarden Supermarket on Golders Green Road (across the street from Bloom's) There is a pickle aisle and in addition there are refrigerated 'half-sour' pickles of the bright green variety that are the closest I've found to home (NY)

                        1. Try Partridges just off the Kings Road Sloane Sq. end. They might have them. There are also the usual and expensive stand-bys of Harrods and Fortnum and Masons.

                          1. Don't look for pickles. As soon as you see that word it usually means they have vinegar in them or are sweet. After 6 years in the UK I finally found a good substitute for a good US pickle. They are called Cucumbers in Brine and made by Krakus. Don't buy Krakus Pickled Cucumbers. Get the Cucumbers in Brine, stick them in the fridge and you'll be good to go.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: frobe

                              Are these made in Poland? I seem to remember them from America. Good suggestion!!

                              1. re: zuriga1

                                Yes. I think the company is Polish (at least in origin). They also make quite good jams that you tend to find in "corner shops".

                                1. re: zuriga1

                                  Yes, they are Polish. I find them in a few select Sainsbury's in West London (Chiswick and Ealing has them).

                                  1. re: frobe

                                    Thanks to you and John for confirming these are the Krakus pickles I remember from the States. They *are* good. I'll look for them in my neighborhood.

                                    1. re: zuriga1

                                      Just found another good one although it goes against my suggestion of staying away from the word pickles. The brand is SMAK and they are simply called sour pickles. Here's what they look like:


                                      I found them in small corner shop in West London. Really good and I think better than the Krakus.

                                      1. re: frobe

                                        Thanks for the tip. It's interesting that the website spells it 'Polland.' :-) I'll keep my eye out for these, too. I saw something called American Pickles (brand name) in a Tesco. I just laughed.

                              2. I have been trying to find the same thing for years. I'm not from NY so I don't know how NY pickles are, but I have always liked the clean taste of the Claussen kosher spears. I can't stand the cloying sweet vinegar flavour in most shelf pickles over here. I had all but given up on my search when I popped into a little polish food shop yesterday. They have a plastic storage bin in the refrigerator you use tongs to serve yourself (£2.99/kg). They are crunchy, fresh, salty, dill, garlicly.

                                Directions: 100 metres south from the south west corner of shepherds bush green towards Hammersmith. Its on the right, (west side), dark green and easy to miss. If you reach the motorcycle shop or Prime-time video shop you passed it. (Shepherds bush central line is closed for about another month so use Hammersmith or the Goldhawk road H&C)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: picklehunter

                                  I am from NY via Phila. and had good kosher pickles most of my life. I agree with you that the Polih ones over here are definitely the best tasting. It's not surprising since so many Jewish people in America have Polish roots and probably they all ate the same pickles and learned from each other. It's the same with borscht (beetroot soup) and some other foods. I've been amazed how many people in the world have no clue that bagels were only eaten by Jewish people until about 30-40 years ago. Now they're everywhere!

                                  1. re: zuriga1

                                    You would also be surprised how many of the French don't realise that creme brulee is British! The original was called "Cambridge burnt cream". But I digress.

                                    I'm still hunting for Tostitos restaurant style white corn tortilla Chips, Kraft fat-free mayo (for the dieting missus), exploding tin buttermilk biscuits (my homemade just aren't flaky enough), mountain dew.......

                                    I'm from east of St. Louis (Fairview Heights) via Cambridge, UK.

                                    I even looked into how much a shipping container US->UK costs; £2000. You could fit a lot of groceries in one :)

                                    gotta go see you later

                                    1. re: picklehunter

                                      Maybe you could fit the Pillsbury Dough Boy into one of those shipping containers. :-) I miss those biscuits, too. For awhile, we were indulging on Sara Lee croissants that come in an exploding tin (in most UK supermarkets), but they were highly caloric. You might enjoy those as a substitute, albeit a poor one.

                                      I saw some sort of tortilla chips at Whole Foods, but I didn't pay much attention to the brand. I'm sure it wasn't Tostitos. I don't eat a lot of chips and was not a big salsa consumer. They had a large display of the chips and other like products.

                                      I use the Hellman's Light mayonnaise... it's about the only low-fat one I've seen here. I still miss my Miracle Whip light. My niece is coming over next month... I'll have to make a small list!

                                2. Look on the Panzers.co.uk website. They are in St. John's Wood and have some dill pickles listed.

                                  1. I had some good ones from Polesmak 2 days ago on Balls Pond Road (right near the bus stop for Dalston Kingsland). I bought 5 and managed to eat all of them on the road before I got to the actual intersection with Dalston Kingsland. Very cute little deli, they make sandwiches for you on the spot to order, seem to have tubs of fresh saurkraut and all the frozen pierogi brands that other Polish stores stock. If I wasn't dieting, I'd be eating much more than pickles from there.