I’m slowly, appreciatively eating my way through a treasure trove of goodies from London’s venerable purveyor of teas, biscuits, jams and all delights to be found in gift hampers: Fortnum & Mason.
The signature “Eau de Nil” blue façade of Fortnum’s, that beloved bastion of Western civilization. Thanks to a dear friend for introducing me to the place. Photo: Scentspy.
Design on a box of sweets from Fortnum’s.
Fortnum’s is known, among other things, for inventing the Scotch Egg, bringing baked beans to Britain, supplying the first British Everest expedition (with 60 tins of quail in foie gras and four dozen bottles of Champagne), and hosting beehives on its roof. They also serve afternoon tea.
I found myself mesmerized by their St. James china. The “Tea for Two” set, made in England, can be yours for only 330 British pounds.
For a much more reasonable price, you can bring home a matching tin of pistachio and clotted cream biscuits.
My loot consists of clotted cream fudge, marzipan fruit, pistachio biscuits, tiny Italian candies, chocolate dipped oranges, violet and rose chocolates, and ginger almond nougat.
I love it that the Hampers are still very traditional wicker ones, with F&M stenciled on the lid.
I’m not the only one who loves Fortnum’s and their famous hampers. Notice the Queen’s Eau de Nil ensemble!
I adore their hampers, i still see loads of them every summer in picnics round London around the Albert Hall in the park and also at Glyndebourne opera festival. The thing is if you don’t have your own car it’s impossible to carry them. But they do have some smaller versions and one of those is on my wish list 🙂
Did you like the pistachio and clotted cream biscuits? I really love their sweets section for a truly special treat. It’s a blessing for a place like this to still be around for people to enjoy a bit of tradition. Otherwise we’d forget that a truly nice box of chocolates should have a box as beautiful as the taste of the content 🙂
Yes, the pistachio and clotted cream biscuits are divine! Everything I’ve sampled so far has been great. And part of the fun is the delightful packaging. I have been coveting the china, but there is no way I can spend that kind of money.
I haven’t figured out what to do with the biscuit tin, but I’m hanging on to it! I agree that the tradition is important. I’ll have to look up the small hampers–that sounds like a cute keepsake, and more affordable.
Ooh Howard Carter comes to mind! “Wonderful things!” Although I don’t thank them for the Scotch egg…they could have kept that…
LOL. Well, believe it or not I have sampled a vegetarian Scotch egg in an English pub! Even that idea can be adapted 🙂
But yes, Howard Carter! The story on that is that they sent artifacts back in Fortnum wine cases, right? And no doubt Mr. Carter was liberally supplied with hampers of delicacies…
Yes I’d heard that 🙂
A vegetarian Scotch egg!! I’ve managed to avoid that so far, although I must say I have had a rather good vegetarian Steak Diane..
Steak Diane! That is hard to imagine. The best faux meat I have tried is by a company called Gardein, but even they haven’t made a plausible steak.
I’ll have to have a look for them-my son is vegetarian so I’m always on the lookout for a new variety. This steak was just made by Quorn-unbelievable but true and really rather nice 🙂
Ah, Quorn is good but in the US they make it with factory farmed eggs, so I stick to Gardein which is vegan. But they have been introducing more vegan products. I’ll have to look for the steak.
Hmm, useful to know. I’m not sure about English Quorn, I’ll have to check.
You have just convinced me that I need to check out F&M on my next London trip. I have never been – although I have had the pleasure of their biscuits and teas. The “Eau de Nil” blue alone is reason enough to love that shop…
Exactly. I fell in love with the Eau de Nil and I am pining for aqua blue china now… It’s worth a visit just for the aesthetics of the place and the beautiful presentation of the treats. They make superb gifts, if you can bear to part with them 🙂
That blue tea set really caught my fancy, too, Linnet. I really have to go to the store and check it out. Maybe Hariclea will care to accompany me for a fancy afternoon tea or something like that…
Yes, I’d like to go there on my next visit to London and have the savoury tea! That way I can enjoy the china without buying it 🙂
Never been there! Methinks I should go…
You’d love it! The only negative is that it tends to be crowded.
sew … how’d-ja get the royals to pose for the wicker photo?
I said, “Hold still, jermajesties…” but they were too busy digging in to pay attention…
Sylvie G said:
Very beautiful food in every sense of the word.
Indeed it is 🙂 I am thinking that today I may treat myself to a slice of ginger nougat.
Sylvie G said:
And ginger is good for you ! Sorry, Linnet, I pressed the wrong button trying to respond to your comment on my post and it was, by mistake, sent into the undesirable bin. Apologies, I meant to say that the sun must have reached your place now, because it has left the building (and the city of Nelson).
Sadly we have a winter storm warning and no sun in sight. But I’ll keep looking 🙂
Thanks for sharing! Thirty years ago on my first trip overseas, Fortnum & Mason was the first bastion of good food that I visited. It has forever after been in my dreams. It was a delight to be taken back to those memories. I wish it wasn’t so expensive to have stuff sent to Canada!
So glad you enjoyed it! It had the same effect on me–somehow I can’t forget it, and I keep hankering to go back. I’m still obsessed with the delectable ginger nougat I bought there. Hadn’t thought about ordering, but I’ll have to look into it. Just in case of emergency, of course 🙂
Where Abby Goes said: