Thursday, 3 December 2009

High On Gift Certificate Money

FORTNUM AND MASON======Always Piccadilly+++++Always A Good Time-------
A big thank you to my great friend and academic mentor Bob Snyder and his wife Sara of Chicago for making this post possible. Surely this was the nicest thing anyone has done for me and mine in a long time! We luv you and miss you Bob and Sara!

Fortnum and Mason of London has been a top institution in the world of fine food halls. If you live in the big smoke or even in the UK proper you already know. If you live elsewhere then you'll have to make the journey.
I got so excited on my first visit that I broke a ceramic teapot worth 80 quid (computer has no pound symbol)! I then got scared (being the American I am assumed I was going to be made to pay for said damaged item) and grabbed Michelle and ran out the store! Michelle then calmed me down and explained that they would never make you pay for such a mistake at a fine establishment such as F&M. Soon as I was calmed I wandered into the fine food heaven that lays beneath the grand ground floor.

I cant write about everything I saw the two days we splurged at F&M because it will be too damn a long post. The following are highlights.

Of course if you know F&M you dont first off think "great produce" as it is more traditionally known for its fine (probably one of the world's best) selection of tea as well as its confectionnary dreamland of temptation. Alas great produce they do have. And in that produce one can find some of the highest quality mushrooms in the whole of London (maybe...I dont know really).

Just look at the display and my bounty:

I simply sauteed these with butter, white wine and garlic and added it to sub par fresh spaghetti with Parmesan and breadcrumb for the most exquisite of cucina povera dinners.

Of course the cheese display is on point. I recommend the Zamrano and the Mimolette as they are some of the best I have found. But you can bet that they have the best of any cheese you want. I cant even begin on the stiltons.

Then we found the baking and cereals section. The flours spices and baking supplies were all high grade of course. But wait... I see something familiar! Is that what I think it is? NO WAY----PANCAKE SYRUP!!!

Any American will be tickled by this:
Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Syrup - only 7 quid (or about 11 bucks american).

Another look around and we found Lucky Charms for 8 pounds.

Not exactly what I would think of as an American delicacy but what ever floats your boat (or island-nation I guess).

And I cant forget my favorite ever (and most expensive ever) leg of cured "aristocratic" pig:

Joselito Serrano Jamon - 18pnds a kilo. I got about 10 slices for 9 bucks but believe me it was worth it. Its not a taste, its an experience man.

I apologize to all the vegetarians. I used to be one too, but I came back to the pig. The pig came back to me.

Ok ------ dont pass up the bottom floor! And dont pass up the Marmalade (Old English Hunt variety is deep and uplifting) or any of the teas --- especially the Smokey Earl Grey. The smokey notes combined with the permeating bergamot oil somehow warms the body and snaps the senses into shape even in the most dreary foggy mornings. I don't need tell you that it is the perfect way to wake up after a hangover.

Okay. I have now realized that this post cant be long enough to do the fantastic cuisine-world of Fortnum and Mason justice but I damn well tried.