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fine foods shops, London

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Hi, all--

Visiting London for a few weeks (staying with friends in Camden and have been here about 5 days already)... I've been scouring the London boards for dining, etc. recs, and have found some great things, but one search I'm having some trouble with is finding good sources for specialty/imported foods outside of Borough market. I've got Neal's Yard Dairy and some of the Maltby-area pop-ups for cheese, but I'm specifically looking for shops where I can find top-notch olive oil, vinegar, pasta, olives, salted capers, etc. We're cooking a few nights and I'm wanting to procure some proper ingredients. Any suggestions appreciated.
Many thanks!

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  1. For olive oil,pasta,olives etc,i would recommend Lina Stores in Brewer st.
    Good luck

    1. Camisa in Soho has very fine Italian products. I often buy imported Italian pasta at Whole Foods. They have a very large selection of unusual and delicious pastas, not to mention the oils and vinegars. I go to the shop on Kensington High St., which I think has the largest selection. Some of their other shops are much smaller.

      1. Even though the prices are likely to be sky high, a visit to either Fortnum & Mason or the Food Hall at Harrods might be worthwhile. If nothing else, the elegance with which the goods are displayed is worth seeing.

        1. Perhaps a bit more downmarket, but Phoenicia market in Kentish Town (near Camden) has an impressive array of olive oils, olives, capers, and other provisions from all over the Mediterranean.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gemuse

            Also, Green Valley in Marylebone.

            1. re: limster

              Great, thanks so much for the suggestions!

          2. Also depends what you mean by 'proper' ingredients. Is it just Italian ingredients you are after? Because there are some amazing Chinese, Viet Namese, Indian, West Indian, Spanish stores where you can source speciality foods.

            1. If your after the best olive oil it has to be new season or as close to as possible. A lot of olive oil in the shops is usually quite old and therefore stale. Although difficult to find in London, Brindisia in Borough market is currently selling some. Personally I find R Garcia on Portobello rd more reasonable for Spanish goods.

              Selfridges food hall, although expensive, can have some excellent and extensive choices. Not to be missed are their raw milk products and the new st john bakery section.

              If your taking up the recommendations for Lina stores and Camisa in Soho try also nearby Gelupo (an ice cream parlour that has a small food emporium at the back).

              7 Replies
              1. re: damien76

                Rather than look for high quality imported goods, why not take the opportunity for trying out some of our homegrown products - say, a top quality farm produced cold pressed rapeseed oil and a cider vinegar?

                1. re: Harters

                  Following Harters' lead, I'd recommend visiting a farmers' market for English meat, fish, cheese etc. I am sure there must be one in Camden.
                  And the Co-op sells a remarkably delicious apple juice, called Tillington 1000, pressed from heritage apples, wiht just the right balance of fruitey/sweet/sour.

                  1. re: J Sheridan

                    Thanks for the heads-up on the apple juice, JS. I usually buy from one of the Cheshire based orchards (either at their farm shops or a farmers market) but I've seen the Tillington in the Co-op. Seems an interesting story behind it, as this extract from their website:

                    "We have been farming at Tillington fruit farm since 1909. At Tillington we grow apples for eating, juicing and cider making, as well as pears and cherries. Bees are also kept on site for honey and pollinating the fruit trees. We have many varieties of apples at Tillington, including our very own historic variety, The Tillington Ladies Finger, used in our premium cider.

                    In 2008 we bought an orchard containing as many as 1,000 varieties of rare and endangered apples at the brink of extinction. This orchard is now at Tillington being used as part of our limited edition Co-operative Farms Truly Irresistible Tillington 1,000 pressed apple juice.

                    Tillington is located in the farming county of Herefordshire, England, only 8km from Hereford town. "

                    IIRC, the Co-op is still Britain's biggest farmer. Certainly used to be when I worked for the CWS in the early 80s (road haulage and motor trade group, not food)

                    1. re: Harters

                      Thank you, Harters, for taking the time to quote this: I'm American, my husband is from Herefordshire, we live in London, and we thought on a whim we'd try Chowhound to see if anyone knew any good pubs in the area that his parents didn't already know.

                      The only thing that came up for Herefordshire is your entry. But here's what's amazing: we KNOW Tillington farms! The family are friends of his family, and what each generation has been doing over the years is just fabulous. But we didn't know anything about this orchard! We've been picking asparagus, berries, all sorts of great produce over the years. We'll be there for Christmas and will have to stop by!

                      I'll keep an eye out for the Tillington apple juice in London now. Thank you and have a Merry Christmas!

                    2. re: J Sheridan

                      I'll thank you, too, for the Tillington tip. I'm definitely going to try this.

                    3. re: Harters

                      I'd second Harters' suggestion of good-quality cold-pressed rapeseed oil. I'd never seen it before I moved to the UK, but it is a really fantastic oil, fragrant and delicious. We use it now for all our chinese cooking - it's traditional in much of southern China, easier to find here than good-quality peanut oil, and really well-suited to high-temperature cooking as well as use raw.

                      1. re: thorazine

                        I totally agree. I cook almost everything now with rapeseed oil. There's a company in the UK that makes it with different flavours, and it makes for very interesting dishes. I especially like the dill, smoked and garlic varieties. If you want the link, let me know. I can't remember it offhand.

                  2. On Sunday there is a farmer's market at William Ellis School at Parliament Hill, just up the road from Camden Town.

                    1. The local Waitroses will have a broad selection of good quality ingredients.

                      Most of the cheese at Neal's Yard Dairy is also available at Selfridge's food hall.

                      Paxton and Whitfield on Jermyn Street has an amazing selection of cheeses as well as other specialist food items.

                      There's also Carluccio's which is a restaurant/cafe but sells specialist gourmet Italian ingredients and baked goods on the side and they have a number of locations around London.

                      London is a huge city so I'd be careful about going all the way to one end of London just to buy a few ingredients and carrying it back to Camden. There's no need to go to Kensington to the Whole Foods when the local Waitrose will have just as good pasta.

                      1. For end products rather than ingredients then the "Paul" chain have the best patisserie goods you'll ever taste:

                        http://www.paul-uk.com/content/food-p...

                        Great bread and sandwiches too.