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Ordering/Buying a turkey for Thanksgiving, and other Thanksgiving foods in London

Dave MP Oct 24, 2009 03:52 PM

Thanksgiving is just one month away, and I'm hoping to roast a turkey. I've been told that it might be harder to find a turkey at the end of November (as this is more commonly eaten here at Christmas), so I'm wondering if anyone has particular suggestions of where to buy/order a relatively large turkey. Butchers in Crouch End/Haringey/Muswell Hill or other parts of North London would be preferable.

Also, are there any places to buy fresh or frozen whole cranberries?

Finally, what about canned pumpkin?

Thanks very much
Dave MP

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  1. Dave MP RE: Dave MP Oct 24, 2009 03:54 PM

    Found this link, which doesn't fully answer my question: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/633862

    Although it confirms that I should be planning this now.

    I was in Kent today, at a farm from which you can order turkeys....but you have to pick them up in Kent. I want to pick mine up in London.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dave MP
      queencru RE: Dave MP Oct 24, 2009 04:35 PM

      This probably isn't what you were looking for, but I had a friend who looked for ages and ended up getting one at the Sainsbury's in Camden Town. I think he got the entire meal there but I'm not sure.

      1. re: queencru
        Dave MP RE: queencru Oct 24, 2009 04:36 PM

        So your friend bought a whole turkey there? Frozen or fresh?

        1. re: Dave MP
          queencru RE: Dave MP Oct 24, 2009 07:43 PM

          I think it was frozen, but I could be wrong. He really struggled to find something that early in the season big enough to serve 10 adults. You may have better luck if you are going for something a little smaller.

      2. re: Dave MP
        henryatkinson RE: Dave MP Nov 5, 2012 03:29 AM

        Thompsons of Smithfield sells all kinds of meat. I bought a Free Range turkey last year for £35. It would have cost me £80 in my local butcher. The market is open to everyone but it's only open early in the morning 01:00am-07:30am weekdays. Worth it though for a saving of £40!

        Thompsons of Smithfield. 1-7 Central Markets, Smithfield, London. EC1A 9PQ

      3. PhilD RE: Dave MP Oct 24, 2009 09:45 PM

        You could try "Allens" in Mayfair, it is a pretty ritzy butchers which has royal appointments so will be expensive. But it is the closest one to the American Embassy so may well source Turkeys for those in the diplomatic service. Or try Jack O'Sheas in Selfridges, again in the embassy area.

        I thought frozen cranberries were readily available in most supermarkets, they could even have their Christmas stock out by then so you could get fresh, Waitrose definitely had them last year.

        1. zuriga1 RE: Dave MP Oct 25, 2009 12:14 AM

          There are butchers who will get you a fresh turkey if ordered ahead, but it means a lot of calling around to find them. As mentioned, Jack O'Shea's might be a good place to start. Try his shop near Harrod's, too. I'm always able to find fresh cranberries that time of year. Stores like Waitrose, Sainsbury's etc. usually have them. I often stick a few extra bags in the freezer for over the winter. I've seen canned pumpkin very rarely... but I think I did find it once at Whole Foods. They might also have the cranberries.

          It's fairly easy to find turkey crowns most times of the year.... but I know some people love their drumsticks. :-)

          1. nanette RE: Dave MP Oct 25, 2009 02:45 AM

            In previous years, canned pumpkin was always available at Waitrose, but it has yet to surface at my local branch. I've been told it is coming.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nanette
              nanette RE: nanette Oct 26, 2009 12:45 PM

              To follow up on this - Fortnum and Mason has a huge display of Libby's pumpkin on the bottom floor. They also have gourds.

            2. Dave MP RE: Dave MP Oct 25, 2009 11:17 AM

              Good news:

              Stopped by Baldwins Butchers, which is on Green Lanes relatively close to my house. They do take orders for turkeys, including for Thanksgiving. He said they are free range, and he can get various sizes, from 5 kilos and up.

              He said generally he only needs about 1 week notice for whole turkey orders. So hopefully this will work out, and I'll be buying it here! I will still probably order well ahead of time to make sure this all works out.

              This is quite a nice butcher shop...didn't pay too close attention to everything there, but noticed some whole pheasants and other game birds on display, and I bought 4 Italian sausages for dinner, which I hope are good!

              Dave MP

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dave MP
                oonth RE: Dave MP Nov 9, 2009 09:29 AM

                I stumbled across this butcher shop a few days ago when I was in the area and it certainly looked impressive from the window dressing although I didn't go in and buy anything. Made a mental note to revisit and sample some offerings. Please let me know what you think of the items you've tried so far.

                Was in the area for Turkish food on Green Lanes. Ended up eating at a place called Hala and were pleased with our choice. Shared two items - a Turkish sausage pide and a daily special of stuffed meatballs (icli kofte) - and enjoyed both of them. Complimentary bread, salad and muhammara were also tasty. £14 for 2 IIRC. Afterwards we enjoyed a coffee and baklava from Antepliler patisserie a few doors down.

                By the way if you're a sushi fan, you should check out Fuji Foods which is about 1 mile from Turnpike Lane tube @ 167 Priory Road. It's a small Japanese grocery store with a sushi counter at the back. Very good quality at very reasonable prices.

                1. re: oonth
                  Dave MP RE: oonth Nov 10, 2009 05:34 PM

                  Hey Oonth,

                  Thanks for your post! I've actually been to all the places you mentioned :)

                  I will be ordering my turkey this week I think. As I mentioned, I bought 4 italian sausages last time I was there...they were OK but not that amazing, and I probably wouldn't rush back for more. But the butcher seems great, I just didn't love the flavor of these sausages.

                  Hala is good - I've eaten there twice. I really like the stuffed eggplant from the cold appetizer section. I've eaten at Antepliler once - the main sitdown restaurant. I also have had their baklava, which I think isn't as good as some others nearby. A friend of mine says that the little cafe-like Antepliler (on the same block, same owner) has good kebabs with offal of various sorts. I haven't tried this yet though.

                  I didn't get anything from Fuji Foods, but I noticed it a few weeks ago and looked inside. Good source for Japanese groceries, and the fish for sushi looked pretty good too.

                  Sounds like you are in the same neighborhoods as me, so hopefully we can continue to share tips!

                  1. re: Dave MP
                    oonth RE: Dave MP Nov 12, 2009 12:54 AM

                    Actually I'm about 4.5 miles away in Hampstead but I like wandering and discovering and have been enjoying reading about your local discoveries as it's not an area that has hitherto received much coverage on this board. Keen to try Le Chamarel which sounds like something a little different. Keep up the good work!!

              2. p
                petit cochon RE: Dave MP Oct 25, 2009 07:35 PM

                The best Thanksgiving turkey I've ever had was from The Ginger Pig in Marylebone: http://www.thegingerpig.co.uk/OurShop...

                I didn't think to order ahead, just stopped by a couple of days before Thanksgiving. Wound up w/ a much-too-large turkey as a result - but was thrilled that I was able to get one!

                I think I bought canned pumpkin at Waitrose on Marylebone High Street, but I might have picked it up at Selfridges - can't remember... Also can't remember what I did about cranberries... My London Thanksgivings were in '06/'07.

                Good luck!

                2 Replies
                1. re: petit cochon
                  cathodetube RE: petit cochon Nov 2, 2009 02:34 AM

                  I agree with the Ginger Pig reccomendation. Canned pumpkin is available all over North London as well. Also try Panzers in St. Johns Wood as it is very near the American school and the bankster population.

                  1. re: cathodetube
                    zuriga1 RE: cathodetube Nov 2, 2009 03:29 AM

                    I'm pretty sure I've seen pumpkin at Panzer's.

                2. s
                  sagwalla RE: Dave MP Nov 10, 2009 10:39 AM

                  Partridge's on Gloucester Road has canned pumpkin, for certain (window display). But fresh works pretty well too!

                  1. Dave MP RE: Dave MP Nov 10, 2009 05:35 PM

                    Waitrose in Russell Square had canned pumpkin (as of last week). I bought two cans, haven't tried it yet though

                    1. nanette RE: Dave MP Nov 23, 2009 08:46 AM

                      If any Americans find themselves without a turkey, be aware that Ocado has them available for delivery between Nov 24-28 with an expiry of Nov 30. They are fresh, not frozen birds.

                      1. b
                        brokentelephone RE: Dave MP Nov 5, 2012 04:39 AM

                        We sometimes buy turkey pieces at Whole Foods rather than a whole bird because my American wife doesn't like Turkey so we make roast chicken with some turkey for purists.

                        Pandering to these 'purists' is pretty ridiculous I've just realized. Who are these people, and why can they not compromise?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: brokentelephone
                          henryatkinson RE: brokentelephone Nov 5, 2012 04:48 AM

                          I guess some people like the idea of tradition... It's all part of the theatre and it seperates Christmas & Thanksgiving lunches from your average sunday roast I guess

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