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Help with gift basket for an Anglophile!

I'm putting together a food centric gift basket for an American Anglophile who has never been to England but it's first on her travel list. I need help with some ideas. I will be including a cookbook by a British author, a teacup and pot set with some tea and I'd like to include some chutney-relish type products, things like Branston pickle, piccalilli (need help with good brands), a great mustard, lemon curd, English cheddar. Any help with brands or other ideas would be greatly appreciated. I am in the US and can order online and also have several British import stores in my city.


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  1. Nothing will satisfy an Anglophile more than one of these Fortnum & Mason gift hampers:

    1. Great idea.
      For the piccalilli and the lemon curd the brand I'd choose would be Stokes. Not sure how available it is in the US?
      Colemans English Mustard.
      For the Cheddar it has to be Keens. Also some Carrs melts or water biscuits to go with.
      Maybe some Gentlemens Relish as well?
      Not sure if they drink? But maybe some beers and ciders? I like Landlord by Timothy Taylor, Tribute from the St Austell brewery and Harveys from the Harveys brewery. It's a good range of styles from all over England. For cider I'd try a single varietal from Thatchers.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Paprikaboy

        I'd probably go with Tracklements as an alternative for the various jams and pickles. Most piccalillis are pretty good and there isn't a lot between them. Maybe a horseradish as well?

        Quickes is my preferred cheddar

        1. re: mr_gimlet

          I'd also include anything from Tracklements.

          And cheddar choice would be Montgomery.

          That said, what I would actually do in the OP's situation is visit "the best" of the British import stores and buy whatever looks like to make up a hamper.That way the friend can always go back to buy more.

      2. Thanks everyone! I'm having so much fun shopping online for this project.

        18 Replies
        1. re: ChervilGeorge

          I would include lots of tea biscuits like hob nobs (yum) or jaffa cakes? And perhaps some English candy like licorice all-sorts? You can also be brave and get things like marmite and heinz baked beans. ( Two favorite things of my Irish husband!)

          1. re: elizabetheatsfood

            Didn't Heinz baked beans originate in America?!?! If I was expecting a nice gift basket of British foods and lived in the States, I would not be happy to see a can of those beans. :-) There are much better ones to be found over 'there.'

            1. re: zuriga1

              Well Heinz beans are definitely more of an English thing - Heinz might be an American brand but the beans themselves are certainly English. In Canada, we can get them at a few places with British sections, but certainly aren't considered a local product.

              Marmite is a good one, though Bovril on toast is so much better!

              1. re: brokentelephone

                I think there are more Americans eating Heinz beans than there are English people eating Heinz beans. To me, they are the worst-tasting baked beans in the world. Maybe the beans are local but the brand is the brand.

                Is Heinz ketchup also an English thing?

                And the Secretary of State (American) is married to the widow of the Heinz fortune, but I'd venture to say they rarely eat those beans. :-)

                1. re: zuriga1

                  American baked beans tend to be much sweeter than British baked beans.

                  As for more Americans eating them - I doubt it. Baked beans are a British staple, eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not so in the States. According to the Heinz site, 1.5 million cans of Heinz beans are sold in the UK every day.

                  1. re: FarleyFlavors

                    Interesting article about how Heinz is now marketing beans in the U.S. I wish they'd offer some of these over here.


                    1. re: zuriga1

                      Brown sugar and bacon ? Molasses and pork ? Maple syrup flavour ?

                      Way too sweet I'd imagine.

                      (And the article confirms what I suggested above - if Heinz only sells $5 million worth of beans per year in the States, the Brits eat more Heinz beans in a single week than the whole of the U.S. consumes in an entire year !)

                      1. re: FarleyFlavors

                        Unfortunately, we Yanks like our food sweet. To each his or her own. As far as I remember, Americans don't put beans on toast.

                        As I said, don't take the Heinz figures as Gospel. Most Americans, I think, prefer other brands. I always did, although Heinz still makes a great ketchup.

                        1. re: zuriga1

                          "Most Americans, I think, prefer other brands."

                          Indeed. The figures are in the article you mentioned. Heinz has only around 1% of the U.S. market while Bush's have 69% of the U.S. market; about the same share as Heinz has in the U.K.

                          1. re: FarleyFlavors

                            The other popular brand of beans is B&M. I don't know how it got that name, and I don't want to know.

                            They're the traditional Boston (as in Tea Party) baked bean.

                    2. re: FarleyFlavors

                      I should have said that many Ameticans eat baked beans, but not necessarily the Heinz brand, so comparing Heinz beans eaten doesn't mean much. There are tons of bean brands in the States and most taste better than Heinz..IMHO.

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        At the risk of going wildly off-topic and boring everyone half to death ... the British baked bean market as a whole ($615m per year) is bigger than the U.S. baked bean market ($530m).


                        I'm guessing the British Heinz beans recipe is the original American recipe, which over the years has evolved into a much sweeter version across the pond.

                        (Me ? I prefer Branston's)

                        1. re: FarleyFlavors

                          Seems like zuriga1 doesn't know beans about beans.

                          That said, baked beans in the USA is a completely different animal. I don't know if I agree with the statistics mentioned with regards to actual consumption, solely because lots of beans in the USA are homemade/locally produced vs. here everyone just opens a can of Heinz (or a plastic tub, if you're disgusting) so comparing purchasing pre-made beans only tells one side in this very interesting bean narrative.

                          1. re: brokentelephone

                            I'll put my bean knowledge against yours anytime. :-)

                        2. re: zuriga1

                          "There are tons of bean brands in the States and most taste better than Heinz."

                          There are tons of bean brands in the UK and most taste better than Heinz. :-)

                          My own favourite - Sainsbury's own label reduced salt/sugar. Perfect on toast for Sunday breakfast, topped with fried Bury black pudding.

                          1. re: Harters

                            I haven't tried the Sainsbury's reduced, but will do... thanks. I don't mind the Heinz 5 bean can, but I add things to it, sometimes BBQ sauce. I know, I know....

                            1. re: zuriga1

                              Heinz (or any other) is much imrpoved when it's tarted up. I've been known to add fried onion, ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce - often all of them.

                    3. re: brokentelephone

                      If you like Bovril BT. Check out the latest Radio 4 Food Programme Podcast. It's all about Bovril and I for one found it really interesting (but maybe I'm a little bit sad).


              2. Tom Kerridge Pub Food cook book is great.

                Patum Peperium is a must if they like fish (and weird spreads)

                People in the USA love Emma Bridgewater for teacups etc., esp. UK themed ones.

                I second klyeoh -- get a Fortnum and Mason giftbasket and babba bing, done.

                1. Cool gift! I'd include a box of Yorkshire Tea, a jar of Marmite, a bottle of HP Sauce (it's a bit like steak sauce, but you serve it with a cooked breakfast), some jam from Tiptree (the Little Scarlet strawberry is lovely), and if they're a drinker, a small bottle of Gordon's sloe gin (very Christmassy!)

                  Failing that, anything from Betty's of Harrogate: http://www.bettys.co.uk/

                  1. Hobnobs (biscuits) definitely. And digestives to go with the cheddar. Maybe another cheese -Stichelton is similar to Stilton but I like it better. Or a good farmhouse Caerphilly.
                    Cheap English chocolate is better than the US equivalent. Maybe a Mars bar?
                    Can you buy elderflower cordial?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: J Sheridan

                      Ikea does a perfectly great elderflower cordial, as well as a rhubarb. (which we ca NEVER find)

                    2. HP Sauce, Wise Chips, Maltese candy bars and Hokey Pokey.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                        I've always got HP sauce in the cupboard and I'm guessing you meant Maltesers not Maltese.

                        I've never heard of the other two items, let alone seen them on sale in Britain. Maybe too specialist a product for the iconic basket the OP is trying to develop.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Wise is a (or at least used to be) a good brand of crisps. They have an owl on the front of the package. :-)

                          I never heard of Hokey Pokey other than the dance.

                          1. re: zuriga1

                            Thanks, zuriga. Now I've Googled on Wise, I see it's an American company and not one that, as far as I can tell, sells in the UK, so I'm unsure how it fits for the OP.

                            1. re: Harters

                              John, I definitely would not send Wise crisps to an American. And the same for Pringles, which I think is or was owned by Procter & Gamble. What my kids love are the unusual flavours of crisps we have here.. they can't be beat.

                            1. re: Harters

                              John - sort of similar to a "Crunchie" in the UK.

                              And when I was younger I always though the boys from the High Chaparral enjoyed plates of Heinz beans around the camp fire after a hard night of riding the range.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  most commonly found as an ice cream flavour in NZ

                                2. re: PhilD

                                  The cowboys always ate beans. I don't think they were Heinz in the 19th century. They were easy to cook along with the dried or fresh meat. I got to Googling as this is interesting. They also had hard cheese.


                                  Beans made up the bulk of a cowboy's protein intake. Provided in large quantities within their rations, beans were one of the most abundant foods available to traveling cowboys. Because they were readily available, many simple bean recipes were devised along the trails of the American West by cowboys, including chili, mashed beans and bean soups. Cooked in a Dutch oven overnight, beans would last for many meals and were often repurposed, made into patties when cold and fried.

                                  Read more: http://www.ehow.com/list_6790173_cowb...

                          1. In addition to the other great suggestions, I'd add a bottle/can of Lyle's Golden Syrup (though it is becoming more readily available in US grocery stores).

                            As for the cheese, Trader Joe's has had a great Red Leicester cheese called Red Fox. I think it was one of their featured cheese selections for November. But, they still had some of it when I was in our store last week.

                            I've also occasionally found this "whirl" cheese and our Anglophile friends love it: http://www.cheesesupply.com/whirl-her...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: onrushpam

                              I'm impressed red leicester gets imported to the US. Though red leicester with chillies and bell peppers is rarely seen in Sainsbury.

                              1. re: onrushpam

                                Great idea on the red Leicester. I hope they are still stocking it. I've checked two different TJs to no avail.

                                1. re: onrushpam

                                  Belton is a decent enough producer based in Shropshire. Their products are usually readily available in supermarkets. They make a range of regional cheeses with which, with the exception of Shropshire Blue, they have no regional connection.

                                  If the shop didnt have any Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, then I'd be OK buying Belton.

                                2. If you can find Tunnocks caramel wafers and/or caramel logs and/or teacakes then get them. They are Scottish, but we are part of Britain still :-)

                                  I used to bring them back for work colleagues when i came back for Christmas - they went down amazingly well. You will probably not get them even in the international aisle, but you should do in import shops and also online.

                                  Other things that went down a treat were jaffa cakes and cadbury's fingers. Rich Teas are one of my favourite biscuits (using the British sense of the word!) but they were a bit plain for some of my colleagues, and as for Digestives - they didn't really go down well, but Hob-nobs did (again, I might be strange, but I much prefer a Digestive!! )

                                  ETA: you can get Tunnocks this place, so I imagine you can get them elsewhere too

                                  Def go for the caramel wafers, and the caramel logs!!

                                  ETA again. Don't buy lemon curd - its never as good as homemade. Make your own. I can't think of any particular recipe off the top of my head, but Mary Berry and Delia Smith should make good ones!! The bought ones are very very sweet - imho lemon curd should have a tartness to it. It is really easy to make, though does require some stirring - and it is lovely and fresh and zingy for the New Year!

                                  1. I went to boarding school outside London and I lived on Crunchie bars (chocolate covered honeycomb)and minstrel chocolates(large brown smarties). They are not fancy nor expensive...

                                    1. All great suggestions! This is what's going in the basket thus far:
                                      Jamie Oliver's Great Britain cookbook
                                      Union Jack tea towels
                                      teapot and cup/saucer - haven't found the perfect one yet
                                      English Breakfast tea
                                      clotted cream (she makes scones a lot)
                                      Branston pickle
                                      Heinz beans
                                      Coleman's mustard
                                      marrowfat peas
                                      Red Leicester Red Fox cheese if I can find it.
                                      lemon curd (not homemade unfortunately)
                                      I will be baking a few Cornish pasties to include in the basket

                                      It's breaking my heart not to include Gentleman's Relish -she hates anchovies and Marmite - she hates Vegemite, so won't like it. She is trying to avoid sweets so I'm not going to load her up with candies and biscuits.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: ChervilGeorge

                                        Is she Australian then?....

                                        For the cup and saucer, get one of the stacking ones where the teapot sits on the cup and warms it. We have one and it's great for one person.

                                        1. re: ChervilGeorge

                                          I'd add some pickled onions or shallots...
                                          or some onion marmalade...

                                          Even if you want to avoid too many biscuits/ candies I think I'd include one type (unless she's diabetic or on a mega serious diet, and if she is, the clotted cream won't be popuplar either).

                                          And of course, if you're including clotted cream, then a jar of traditional British strawberry jam would be good, and maybe some British honey while I think on it, though not for the cream tea, of course.

                                          I found an AMAZING selection of tea towels including some that fit the bill, for my blog Christmas gift guide this year. I don't want to give the link as it will be deleted, but you can find it by googling "Kaveyeats gift guide 2013", there is one for cockney rhyming slang and one for a British breakfast and one for London as well. (and one for Tunnocks Teacakes for that matter).

                                          1. re: Kavey

                                            Of course!

                                            Tunnocks Teacakes should be a definite inclusion in the basket if they can be found locally. Pretty much a classic.