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I'm going to England


kurl
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Hey all-

I'm visiting England towards the middle of May for a week; I'll mostly be in the London and Cambridge areas.

What should I try to smuggle back? Bear in mind that unless you have a really creative solution, it has to bear lack of refridgeration for 20-or-so hours and that I'm not willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money, though I'll certainly splurge if it's appropriate.

Some background: I'm from New York, so I'm primarily looking for things that are either blatantly better in England or drastically cheaper there. I'm also thinking more about like cheese than haggis or something like that.

Also, any words on how best to smuggle the stuff back? Any tips will be appreciated.

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I'd advise enjoying it while here and taking back the memories. Stays special that way longer, and besides the customs people have no sense of humour, and are not nice to know!

If you are in Cambridge stop by and say hallo! What are you doing here?

Special things are I guess quite ordinary: good cheese, beer, Marmite, digestive biscuits...

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You're pretty much OK with preserved stuff, bottles, jars, cans, that sort of thing so you can get typically English things like Branston pickle, marmalade, decent jams, Patum Peperium, Marmite (although whether you like them is a different matter). Also British biscuits are OK (entirely different to US cookies), digestives as mentioned but also things like Hobnobs might amuse you. USDA does not like fresh food so any kind of fruit or meat is out, you might be OK with cheese but I think the journey will do it any good. British Chocolate is OK again now, it's one of those things that polarises people, some love it, some hate it, you might want to see what you think. Definitely try the beer while you're here but it's just too heavy to think about taking back enough to make it worthwhile. Enjoy your trip.

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Go for Hobnobs - preferably the milk chocolate version, but plain choc will do in a pinch. They're kind of oatmealy, slightly salty, and vastly addictive.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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If you're going to be in London, it would certainly be worth your while to visit Fortnum & Mason (near Piccadilly). It is one of the great "old-school" fine food shops, and they have some wonderful items (teas, marmalades, etc.). I would suggest, however, that you taste their tea before buying, because their Earl Grey tastes like soap, but the English Breakfast is wonderful.

Also, you should get HP Curry-Flavoured, if only because it's unique. ITA on HobNobs, but those you should be able to get in North America.

Enjoy your trip, and be sure to go punting on the Cam! (It's touristy, but a lot of fun with the right guide).

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If you're going to be in London, it would certainly be worth your while to visit :

Bourough Market, Fridays and Saturdays. An amazing covered market full of stalls with the finest of artisanal foods,, Try the stall that sells a grill l toasted bun with a barbqued choritso split sausage, grilled pepper and a bunch of rocket drizzled with olive oil, the whole thing cooked for you and ready to eat (the queue stays all day at 30 or so people, but its worth it).

Just near the market entrance there is Niels Yard, with the cheese shop of your dreams, sampling encouraged.

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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What are you doing here?

Basically spending the bit of time in between the end of the school year and the start of my summer job visiting a friend who's studying Classical philosophy abroad for the year.

Thanks, all, for the tips. I'll be sure to report back with an update.

Edited by kurl (log)
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Go for Hobnobs - preferably the milk chocolate version, but plain choc will do in a pinch. They're kind of oatmealy, slightly salty, and vastly addictive.

The original (non-chocolate covered) Hob Nobs are good with Roquefort.

But as Gustatorian said, you can get them in the US if you crave them. At least I know you can get them in CA.

Enjoy your trip!

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ITA on HobNobs, but those you should be able to get in North America.

Sure, they're available, but in the UK they're 99p a tube - here they're anywhere between $3 and $6 a tube depending on the vendor. They're also much easier to find over there.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Have a good time, and post regularly. If I could, I'd go to that Restaurant with the offal. There's nbot another taste in the world!! Most excellent!!

While I'd love to go (St. John is the name - isn't it?), I don't think my vegeterian friend (:rolleyes:) is going to be a fan.

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Marks & Spencer have these phenomenal square caramel bars that have shortbread on the bottom and chocolate on top.

Bombay Sapphire gin might be a little cheaper over there. But it weighs a ton in your carry on (I know).

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If you're going to be in London, it would certainly be worth your while to visit :

Bourough Market, Fridays and Saturdays. An amazing covered market full of stalls with the finest of artisanal foods,, Try the stall that sells a grill l toasted bun with a barbqued choritso split sausage, grilled pepper and a bunch of rocket drizzled with olive oil, the whole thing cooked for you and ready to eat (the queue stays all day at 30 or so people, but its worth it).

Just near the market entrance there is Niels Yard, with the cheese shop of your dreams, sampling encouraged.

i second borough market...everything there looked and smelled amazing. i bought some jarred tomato and cumin jam and some lemon curd there - both fantastic. have a cup of tea from the ladies just outside - they're lovely and call everyone honey - familiar and yet exotic...wonderful.

Marks & Spencer has the best potato chips - avoid walker's - but the M&S coriander and lime are very good - there's also one flavor - apple thyme i think that seriously tastes like thanksgiving stuffing. i know it's silly to go to london and eat potato chips...but they're worthwhile. :blush:

i was recently there and loved Moro and Levantine - the whole city is mezze crazy. the anchovies at Moro, the setting, the service and the wine were all great - Levantine is a trip - the most amazing setting - with a fixed price enormous meal...by paddington station. check out Time Out London - very useful guide.

have fun!

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Maltesers

Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars

Crisps: all flavors ( or...."flavours..")

Supermarket tea, specially PG Tips and Yorkshire Gold

Cider from Somerset

Raw milk cheese from Neil's Yard ( just make sure it has been aged 60 days..get a cert. saying that)

Twiglets

Hovis Malt Loaf

Humbugs and Treacle Toffees

Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Maybe I'm dumb, but I thought Kurl literally meant smuggling stuff back -- as in stuff it's not legal to bring through customs. For me that would probably be granary bread and double cream. Oh, and as many Cox's Orange Pippins as I could get my sticky little hands on.

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Bombay Sapphire gin might be a little cheaper over there.  But it weighs a ton in your carry on (I know).

Me too; I was just flying through Heathrow but I got a great deal on Bombay Sapphire and and even better one on a massive bottle of Cointreau at the airport. The latter kept me stocked in top shelf margaritas for a long time... :raz:

Actually being in England you can get something more unique though per everyone's suggestions above.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Maybe I'm dumb, but I thought Kurl literally meant smuggling stuff back -- as in stuff it's not legal to bring through customs. For me that would probably be granary bread and double cream. Oh, and as many Cox's Orange Pippins as I could get my sticky little hands on.

I did kinda mean that, but it's not as if I'm attracted to the illegality of the items -- I'll take good stuff too if I'm allowed to bring it back :laugh:

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kurl

I have a definite answer for you. Neil's Yard cheeses, while being distributed all over the Staates, has a blue vein goat milk cheese that they don't export and that is equalled by no other cheese of that genre. Can't think of the name, unfortunately, but last time I was in London I took one piece of that cheese (about 2 pound) and, at that time, with the BSE crisis and what, I had to literally smuggle it through customs. Besides, the shop is really worth seeking out. I think it was in Covent garden and you should be able to smell your way from the tube station onwards... (hint: first, take a left)

Enjoy!

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britcook is right. I visited Canada at Christmas and the sniffer dog picked up the scent of a sandwich my son had stashed in the bottom his backpack. It had only been in there a half-hour and I threw it out before we had boarded for the outbound flight.

You should check the TSA website for the allowed/prohibited items list:

TSA Travel Tips (permitted and prohibited items)

Best case scenerio is they'll confiscate it. Worst case, you'd feel really stupid for being arrested over some cheese.

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