Culinary Curios & Food Sources

THE SPICE SHOP

This Notting Hill postage stamp-sized shop is one of the first I ever visited in London. I needed kafir lime leaves, if I remember correctly, and they had them. Come here for every spice you’ve ever heard mentioned, Asian oils and chilli sauces, spice mixtures, rose petals, extracts and aromatics. The smell of the shop is enough reason to pop in, but I bet you’ll find that special something you didn’t know you needed but now can’t live without.

1 Blenheim Crescent
London W11 2EE
020 7221 4448
http://www.thespiceshop.co.uk

 


DAYLESFORD ORGANIC

I always feel serene when I walk through this mini-emporium’s doors. Walk past the rich tourists and ladies who lunch eating in the front and head through to the little grocery in the back. A lovely butcher’s counter hides in the dark here along with cheeses, organic yoghurts and dairy, lots of specialty oils and vinegars. Then through to the other side where there is a delightful selection of wooden serving boards, linen tea towels, expensive minimalist glassware, and loads of cream colored pottery.

208-212 Westbourne Grove
London W11 2RH
020 7313 8050
http://www.daylesfordorganic.com


THE GINGER PIG


My favorite little butcher….their specialty is in their name. PORK! This is where I come to get my beef short ribs when every other butcher looks at me like I’m crazy. They have delicious homemade sausages and cured meat as well.

8-10 Moxon Street
London W1U 4EW
020 7935 7788
http://www.thegingerpig.co.uk


WHOLE FOODS – Kensington High Street

Not my most original find, but I love it nonetheless. When I’m feeling homesick (and like I need to empty my bank account) this is where I come. I love their food court on the second floor for a casual meal out and their cheese room is divine. During the days leading up to Thanksgiving the aisles here are packed with rich Americans and their “help” picking up hard-to-find ingredients for their holiday feast.

The Barkers Building
63-97 Kensington High Street
London W8 5SE
020 7368 4500
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com


JANE ASHER PARTY CAKES & SUGARCRAFT

Now I know few of you will be in the market for edible gold leaf or dragees, or candied violets, but these little touches do elevate a humble homemade cake to that of a professional. This little place in Chelsea is home to everything the baker in you will ever want. Admittedly I’m not a baker but coming here makes me want to give it a try.

22-24 Cale Street
London SW3 3QU
020 7584 6177
http://www.janeasher.com


NEAL’S YARD DAIRY

Looking for the perfect cheese from Britain? Come here and taste your way through this island nation’s cheeses with knowledgeable staff and a terrific selection.

17 Shorts Gardens
London WC2H 9AT
020 7240 5700
http://www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk


ANTHROPOLOGIE

Perhaps an odd choice, you think….but no! When they opened Anthropologie in London I was thrilled because I adore their dinnerware, tea towels and interesting cookbooks. Throw in whimsical bowls, terrines, platters, mugs, and table linens and I’m sold.

158 Regent Street
London W1B 5SW
020 7529 9800
http://www.anthropologie.co.uk


JAPAN CENTRE

When I was making my Momofuku ramen for the first time, I ended up here in search of the endless list of specialty ingredients I needed. I found everything I needed and ended up stopping to eat a little package of sushi and also getting a couple of fabulous Japanese serving plates. I also stocked up on bags of rice cracker mixes – great for putting out when a friend stops by for a glass of wine.

14-16 Regent Street
London SW1Y 4PH
020 3405 1151
http://www.japancentre.com

 


DIVERTIMENTI

In need of just about anything for your kitchen or table? This is the place for you. They have everything from salt and pepper shakers to electric knife sharpeners to plastic funnels to Provencal style platters. The prices are high but it’s centrally located, the staff are helpful and you know you’ll find what you need. They also host very popular cooking classes that I’m told sell out quickly.

33-34 Marylebone High Street
London W1U 4PT
020 7935 0689
http://www.divertimenti.co.uk

 


BOOKS FOR COOKS


Heaven if you’re in need of a culinary pick-me-up. Only cookery books (cookbooks to you and me) are sold here! An endless supply of inspiration from all over the globe and a little tea room in back for when you get peckish after looking at all the delicious recipes. They also offer classes although I’ve never taken one.

4 Blenheim Cresent
London W11 1NN
020 7221 1992
http://www.booksforcooks.com


LA FROMAGERIE


I recently stopped in here and was able to find the purple carrots I have had such a hard time sourcing, a variety of decorative gourds for my fall table arrangement, sweet green figs, and the Forsterkase cheese we had at the Ledbury that my husband’s been craving ever since. The cheese room is among my all-time favorites and if you’re on the hunt for fennel pollen or green peppercorns in brine or anything else that may be hard to find, try La Fromagerie.

2-6 Moxon Street
London W1U 4EW
020 7935 0341
http://lafromagerie.co.uk


Fortnum & Mason

A food department store! Ok, not on my regular rounds when I’m on the trail of something special, but a real must-see if you’re visiting London. Open on this very spot for over 300 years, it’s beautiful beyond belief and if you need a gift for the foodie in your life back home, pick up a box of tea, a specialty jam or honey, or if you’re splurging, one of their famous gift hampers. Top floor is a very special room full of china and crystal and silver. I imagine Kate and Wills would have registered here – after all Fortnum & Mason hold the royal warrant as the Queen and Prince of Wale’s grocers!

181 Piccadilly
London W1A 1ER
020 7734 8040
http://www.fortnumandmason.com

 


PANZERS

Not far from the house of my first private clients in London. Because of its proximity to the American School they stock plenty of American foods: Triscuits, corn syrup, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Oscar Meyer bacon, corn muffin mix, Apple Jacks, Fluff, Saltines, Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, Pop Tarts. Lots of goodies from home but their green grocer up front is what you should really visit for. I find all sorts of microgreens and baby vegetables and heirloom specialties that elevate your dishes when company is calling (or you’re being paid to make food look good).

13-19 Circus Road
London NW8 6PB
020 7722 8596
http://www.panzers.co.uk/


RICHARD DARE


This is one of the shops that is owned by a crabby Frenchman in my old neighborhood of Primrose Hill. He’s not really crabby (I actually secretly like him very much) he’s just quite French. I love his ever-changing window displays and old fashioned service. But, getting down to business, he has a terrific selection of great quality cookware, baking pans of all shapes and sizes, knives, and kitchen utensils

93 Regents Park Road
London NW1 8UR


OTTOLENGHI

I’ve written about eating here on my blog, but there are a few things I treat myself to when I’m in the neighborhood. Their seeds for salad mix is the perfect addition to almost any salad – a hint of chilli is what I think makes it so delicious. I also love their granola and if I’m feeling a little blue, their chocolate and salted caramel bark. I often finish the entire bag before I get home.

63 Ledbury Road
London W11 2AD
020 7727 1121
http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk


LOON FUNG

I have to mentally prepare myself when I make a trip to Loon Fun in the heart of Chinatown.It’s normally very crowded, the service is non-existent, but it’s worth it when you are able to find every ingredient you will likely need for your next Asian recipe. I stock up on wonton wrappers and all manner of oils and sauces. Plus, their prepared frozen gyoza, fried in a pan for a few minutes, make a delicious dinner for one when my husband is on the road!

42-44 Gerrard Street
London W1D 5QG
020 7437 7332
http://www.loonfung.com


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