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What cooking-related gifts do you bring home from London?

I'm thinking jam, tea towels, and soaps. What do you stuff your luggage with?

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  1. It depends on what you call home. When I go to the States, I usually bring my kids some good chocolates and a few bags of the great crisps that are only sold in the UK... unusual flavors etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zuriga1

      harrods breakfast tea, square mile coffee, 12 cans of napuli peeled plum tomatoes, pecorino romano, guanciale, white wine vinegar from neals yard and some other things i can't recall is what i brought with me to sag harbor.

      for any customs agent reading along: i'm lying through me teeth, the above is just a wish list.

      1. re: howler

        In the 'good old days' an ex of my friend swore that his mum used to take fish n chips, wrapped in newspaper on the plane to Brooklyn from Birmingham. Still find it hard to believe but more recently, round about 2005, a friend used to take potatoes from london to nyc as she didn't like US spuds (said they had no taste) and missed her baked potatoes.

    2. Definitely the tea towels. Great souvenirs, and useful too. I used to do the jams thing, but now I don't bother unless I know I'll be checking my luggage. I ended up with some sort of candy last month, just because it was in a cute container shaped like a London phone booth. I can remember bringing cookies from Fortnum and Mason that were big hits.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom

        If it's the biscuits (aka cookies) in the tins, I highly second your recommendation. They are delicious and easy to pack. They even sell them at T5 so I've bought them there, too.

        1. re: zuriga1

          Bingo - my bad for forgetting the language change there. I think they sell 3 different types at terminal 3, and we tried 2 and loved both. As you say, easy to pack in their small and crush proof tins.

      2. How about chocolate from Rabot Estate?

        2 Replies
          1. re: zuriga1

            The chocolate coated cacao nibs are particular favourite. Very addictive!

        1. Gentleman's Relish, Variety of marmalades, certain cheeses.

          1. Branston pickle, piccalilli, HP sauce

            1 Reply
            1. re: mr_gimlet

              I have no problem finding either piccalilli or HP sauce here at our local specialty foods store (my husband is a big HP fan, so we need to have access to a supplier!).

            2. SO brought me 200g Cropwell Bishop Creamery Potted Blue Stilton Cheese in a ceramic jar. The jar's a keeper!

              1. Thanks, all, for the great suggestions. I love the idea of the cookies/candies in a phone booth tin. Did I read correctly, zuriga1, that they're available at the airport? Any other places I might find them?

                I'm not sure we're going to make it to Borough Market on a market day. Looks like the Rabot Estate shop is open anyway, which is encouraging. Thanks, Limster, for the suggestion.

                fdr, does the Stilton cheese need to be refrigerated, or kept chilled? We will be stopping overnight in Dublin on the way home from London and won't have any way to keep it cold. I've had some before that a friend brought back and I agree that it's scrumptious.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Bivalve88

                  I've seen the Fortnum & Mason cookies at Heathrow T5 where they have their own shop. In May, I bought some at T4 when I took a flight to Minneapolis. I'm pretty sure it was in the Duty Free Shop itself. The tins are not in the shape of a phone booth... just in a tall tin. Of course, you can always buy them at F&M in London.

                  Selfridge's also has a very nice collection of chocolates.

                  1. re: Bivalve88

                    Terminal 3 has the cookies in tall thin tins (tube shape) at the Duty Free shop, 3 varieties, last I checked (which was within the month). They also have jelly babies in the cute red telephone box shaped tin. We also saw some sort of candies in a London bus tin, but my daughter preferred the telephone box.

                    That Stilton sounds like a must. I'm guessing it might need to be hidden from customs.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      As of 4/20/2012, all cheeses except for 'pouring' and ricotta types are now allowed in US.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Thanks, DCM. Any recommendations on care and feeding of Stilton in a crock? Refrigeration or no?

                        1. re: Bivalve88

                          Sort of care for a Wispride if you remember them, check-in luggage and should hold fine. There is a somewhat new cheese around @ 8 years now called Stickleton that is what Stilton used to be and is wonderful, try some of that as well.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            The cheese is Stichelton.

                            Made as a Stilton but cannot be named as one as it uses unpasteurised milk (whereas the the Protected Designation of Origin for Stilton requires pasteurised)

                        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Great news update DelucaCM. I hope to be going back in the next few months and will be looking for something like this. Or, given your moniker, maybe you have another suggestion?

                    2. We always used to buy foody things as souvenirs for ourselves but, these days, things are so easily available, in specialist shops or via the internet, that we no longer bother.

                      Generally speaking, that is - on our last trip across the Atlantic, we brought back a small bottle of sodding expensive maple syrup (that proved to be no better than the bog standard stuff in the supermarket).

                      Last foody thing I bought in London to bring home was some sumac bought at Borough Market.

                      8 Replies
                        1. re: Peg

                          Waitrose did IIRC - probably the Ottolenghi influence, he uses it a lot.

                          1. re: zuriga1

                            Used in eastern Mediterranean dishes to give it a citrus hit. I sprinkle it on the salad, fatoush.

                            And only bought it at Borough cos I saw it and knew we needed some - usually I get that sort of thing from the "ethnic" shops in Manchester.

                            1. re: Harters

                              I've learned something! I found a great-sounding fatoush recipe online and will give this a go. Where at Borough did you find the sumac? We Americans have a lot to learn. :-)

                              1. re: zuriga1

                                Can't really recall, June (it's getting on for a couple of years back). One of the stalls in the outside bit. They were just doing middle eastern spices and suchlike. Think I bought some dukkah as well.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  Thanks, John. DH got so excited about the sumac and did some research on it. It's easy to find on some websites and I'm sure Green Valley must stock it, too.

                          2. re: Harters

                            The best maple syrup in the U.S. is usually the brands from Canada. I don't remember why, but that's my remembrance of days past.

                          3. I picked up a jar of onion marmalade in Borough Market and it was fabulous. I had it with goat cheese on toast for breakfast. Can't find anything like it now. Either I will need to go back to the Borough Market or try making my own.

                            1. Another thought came to me today. I don't think anyone makes the variety and deliciousness of British chutneys. I'm taking some of them back with me next trip.

                              1. I take Bovril spread home to Canada.

                                1. Not sure this counts as cooking related, but Gatwick had (haven't been through there in a couple of years, so not sure of it's current status) and Terminal 3 has a special Scotch whiskey store. They carry the usual stuff you can find in duty-free, but also other stuff. More expensive things, harder to find things. I got my husband a bottle a couple of years ago that he still raves about.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Tsk, tsk :-)

                                    That's "Scotch whisky", not "Scotch whiskey"

                                        1. re: howler

                                          :-) At least someone gets my sense of humour.