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Oct 31, 2007 05:16 AM

Foodie "must have" gifts from London -- need advice

Mr. alka is headed to London soon, and i want him to bring back to the US some choice foodie items that are not available here or are simply much better in UK. Tips? (obviously, they have to be readily importable for hubby to bring back in the luggage.) Cheers!

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  1. IIRC, your border police will not allow the import of fresh items, so how about these as a starter of packaged stuff:-

    Shortbread biscuits

    "Gentleman's Relish"

    "Uncle Joe's Mint Balls"

    All classicly Brit

    1 Reply
    1. re: Brit on a Trip

      Though you can get some of them here - there are some interesting Fortnum & Mason teas that I like - like the Queen Anne's blend. English Cadbury's chocolates taste better from the U.K., I think.

    2. Fortnum & Masons fudge. Impressively packaged and indulgently delicious!

      1. i'm going to add that i also love relishes of all kinds, chutneys. also, what about a good bitter orange marmalade? any other exotic jams/jellies?

        also, if you know of the store names, please let me know. cheers!

        3 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          You can pick up good jams and marmalades at almost any supermarket. Frank Cooper's is a good brand for bitter. Fortnum & Mason's also has a nice supply. I always found that the Duty Free shops at the airports have a good selection of chocolates and biscuits, although that means not being able to pack them in a suitcase. I'm not sure what you enjoy cooking, but shops here have an incredible selection of herbs (especially 'Indian') which are difficult to find in some U.S. supermarkets.

          1. re: zuriga1

            For Indian spices, I go to Indian grocery stores if there are any in your area.

          2. re: alkapal

            If Mrs Bassa is still at Borough Market, then it's well worth picking up some of her relishes/chutneys. I don't go there regularly any more, though, so I don't know if she still has a stall.

          3. How about some tea from the Chinese Tea shop in Covent Garden?
            Chocolates from Montezuma's in Spitalfields ( or fudge from Burnt Sugar ( at Borough Market. Good jams or relishes, maybe from one of the Borough stalls.

            1. Choice foody items.... Plane tickets back to the US?

              Ahem, I'll be nice.

              Jams and marmalades. Proper cheese if you can get it shrink wrapped.

              4 Replies
              1. re: JFores

                It's all so expensive now, with the dollar over $2 to the pound, that I try to buy here at home instead of lugging it back. Airlines are really getting nasty about overweight luggage. Honestly, there are so many British brands in any gourmet store and even at T.J. Maxx.

                That said, Fortnum and Mason are very accommodating, and they will ship back. I'm also a huge, huge fan of Marks & Spencer's Food Halls (the Oxford Street store has a great selection.) I never come back without wine gums.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Wine Gums are chewy sweets about the size of a quarter in diameter and about half an inch high. They come in different colours and flavours, like yellow, green, red and dark red. Common brand is Maynards. They are extremely chewy and rubbery and get stuck in your teeth. Each one takes about 3 minutes to chew and swallow and are excellent for movies or football matches as it takes ages to get through a tube of 12.

                    Bring back smoked Salmon (Scottish or Irish), incomparable to lox or nova in the usa. Yes it is permitted through customs as long as it is vacuum packed.

                    1. re: smartie

                      smartie, thanks! yep, need some smoked salmon!