British Food Souvenirs from the Supermarket (Tesco Editon)

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Where I live in New York City, the shelves of my local supermarket are well-stocked with British food imports.

I don’t need to book a flight to pick up Marmite, Heinz salad cream or HP brown sauce. My corner store even stocks my favorite British candy bars. Given the wide availability of British grocery items, I knew finding unique British food souvenirs at a local supermarket in England would be a challenge.

I checked out a couple of different English supermarkets for interesting British food souvenirs to bring back home. I’ll be reviewing the slightly more gourmet chain Marks & Spencer in an upcoming post, but for my first trip I wanted to hit a typical, everyday supermarket.

tesco supermarket food souvenirs london english

I had a hard time finding a full-size Tesco in London– most Tesco stores were “express” mini versions, not much larger than a 7-11. I ended up hitting this Tesco while on a day trip to Canterbury.

The Tesco chain of supermarkets is about as ordinary as you can get. Tesco started back in 1919 as a group of market stalls and has since evolved into the second-largest retailer in the world (after Wal-Mart).

bearded collie in england. black and white

Bearded collie patiently waits for his owner outside Tesco.

 What British Food Souvenirs can you find in an English supermarket?

yorkshire tea black tea

While plenty of British tea brands crowd US shelves, I’d never seen Yorkshire tea before.

DSC01687I liked the patriotic packaging on these cans of British rhubarb.

DSC01688I was intrigued by “strong flour” but a quick google search revealed it’s identical to US bread flour, so you can skip this one.

I loved all the wacky flavors of British crisps, all worth a try for the novelty factor alone. Beef-flavored crisps? Prawn cocktail crisps? Yum! If you are committed to bringing your favorite crisps home with you, my best tip is to pack an empty shoebox so they don’t get crushed.

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If you love British chocolate candy like I do, you’ll be amazed at all the options. I found a full stock of Cadbury chocolate in flavors not carried back home (the chocolate was fresher too). I also stocked up on several different Kit Kat varieties.

In England, cookies are known as “biscuits.” Although I can find the popular biscuit brand McVities back in my local grocery store, there is a much larger selection in the UK.

DSC01705I’ve never heard of pickled beet roots, which the packaging indicates are “delicious with salads.”

More British Food Souvenirs: Chutneys and Relishes

british chutneys

Some of the brands on offer included Mrs. H.S. Ball’s Original Recipe Chutney and Baxter’s Victorian Chutney

I love sampling different chutneys, and was not disappointed by the huge assortment available.

DSC01715A piccalilli is a relish made from pickled vegetables (often cauliflower) and spices like mustard and turmeric. The diced version is used as a sandwich spread while the chunkier version is served alongside sausages, eggs and toast.

branston pickle

Branston original pickle dates back to 1922.

Branston Original Pickle is a chutney worth seeking out– it’s made from a mix of diced vegetables, then steeped in a vinegar and tomato and spice base. It’s commonly used as a sandwich spread, and is especially tasty on cheese sandwiches.

While you’ll find the ubiquitous HP sauce everywhere, British supermarkets stock an assortment of brown source brands and flavor options.

DSC01730I’ve enjoyed mushy peas before with my fish and chips  but didn’t realize they actually sold peas pre-mushed.

yorkshire pudding mix

I love a proper Sunday roast so I brought this Yorkshire pudding mix home with me– then realized I don’t have the proper bake ware to make them.

An anglophile requested I bring back these items– Bisto gravy mix in onion flavor, artificial sweetener in a clickable dispenser and Prince’s “sausage and tomato style” sandwich filling.

fairy dishwashing soap royal warrant england

Fairy soap even has a royal warrant.

Yes, I was tempted by this Fairy Soap (called “washing up” soap in the UK) and almost tossed one in my basket for the adorable name alone, but came to my senses.

The Foreign Food Aisle

In the UK, our American food items are imports and can be found in the foreign food aisle. I always find it entertaining to check out what American products other countries find worthy of importing. While I can understand the interest in American peanut butter and even pumpkin pie filling for that once a year Thanksgiving pie, other items I was a little confused by. I’m not sure I know anyone who eats Fluff past the age of four. I thought American breadcrumbs were a strange addition too.

Do you have favorite British foods we missed?  Share in the comments below!

British Food Souvenir Shopping Details:
Tesco (everywhere)

All photos by Souvenir Finder, copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

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30 Responses to British Food Souvenirs from the Supermarket (Tesco Editon)

  1. sueslaght 04/15/2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Mushy peas come pre-mushed. Who knew that? I have certainly never seen the canned rhubarb either. But my favorite souvenir…the lovely Collie at the door. 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 04/20/2014 at 11:12 am #

      The collie looked so sad, sitting all alone– but I’m sure he must be much loved and putting on his don’t-you-feel-bad-for-me face when being left alone for a few minutes!

  2. diana @ veggienextdoor 04/15/2014 at 9:41 pm #

    I love foreign grocery stores (and dogs!). HP brown sauce is SO good. I’ve never heard of Picadilli before but I think I’d like it. And have you ever seen “spotted dick” or “treacle” in a can? I can’t say I’ve tried either but both sure do look yummy and decadent!

    • Kristin Francis 04/16/2014 at 9:34 am #

      Hi Diana! Yes, I’ve bought spotted dick and treacle in a can– at my local A&P! I should edit the “what I can find at home” part to add those! I can confirm they are kind of yummy!

  3. Amy 04/16/2014 at 1:10 pm #

    I’ve never heard of HP sauce! What is it? And the pickled cauliflower looks so interesting. We should try making British sandwiches one day. 🙂 For the Fluff, it’s actually really good (and really decadent) with peanut butter on a sandwich!

    • Kristin Francis 04/20/2014 at 11:06 am #

      Yum Amy it’s a savory sauce for anything– even vegetarians! Malt vinegar, tomatoes, tamarind & dates are the primary flavors– goes very well with eggs or chips (fries).

  4. Rolling Harbour 04/17/2014 at 5:38 pm #

    This is so weird, being in the UK and seeing this post! Tesco must be as exciting over with you as I find ‘new’ food when in NYC. But HP sauce is just… brown sauce! And, Homeland fans, Yorkshire Tea was a pivotal plot device in Season 1, leading to a seriously tense scene between Him and Her. (Season 1 was the only one that was any good, some might say… after that it jumped the shark) RH

    • Kristin Francis 04/17/2014 at 5:43 pm #

      Haha I was hoping you’d stop by RH! Forgot all about the Homeland tie in– I agree about jumping the shark when he didn’t blow himself up in Season 1 but I still watched it until the bitter end! But what is the story with Yorkshire tea? I know PG Tip’s is “builder’s tea”– is there a similar association with Yorkshire? p.s, I would get a kick out of a non-American coming here and giving me a tour of my supermarket from their perspective!

  5. Dave Briggs 04/19/2014 at 5:40 pm #

    No steak and kidney pies!!!

    • Kristin Francis 04/20/2014 at 10:58 am #

      Dave, they are delicious but sadly we can’t bring them back to the US! I have found local spots run by expats in my area who make them (those and scotch eggs!).

  6. Kae Lani | A Travel Broad 05/30/2014 at 3:22 pm #

    Yes! Every time I go to the UK I bring back tea and ‘digestives’. I giggled when I saw the A1 sauce in the “foreign aisle”. You’ve made a simple grocery trip into a fun piece!

    • Kristin Francis 05/31/2014 at 11:49 am #

      Thanks so much! I know the “foreign” aisle is always hilarious, no matter which country I’m in.

  7. Melinda 07/20/2014 at 6:58 pm #

    Dark Chocolate Hob Nob biscuits. With a hot cuppa, yum!

  8. Donna Meyer 01/16/2015 at 11:25 pm #

    Many years ago, when I lived in London for almost a year, I became addicted to HP sauce on Scottish Cheddar Cheese. Yum. I really missed it when I went home!

  9. Karl 03/15/2015 at 4:52 am #

    I’m not sure about the tinned rhubarb, but being from UK but living abroad I do miss some good chutneys. I have to get the tea posted as you can’t beat some yorkshire tea. Really!! Thanks for showing some of UK much loved food stuffs.

    • Kristin Francis 03/15/2015 at 9:22 am #

      Thanks for sharing Karl! I agree, love the English chutneys.

  10. Laura 03/17/2015 at 11:11 am #

    Wheatabix! I can get them in the US, but they are different. Oh, and Birds custard to put on the rhubarb!

    • Kristin Francis 03/28/2015 at 1:55 am #

      Laura– thanks for sharing! I haven’t seen them in the US around me but will keep an eye out– and that seems to always be true– you think you’ve founda favorite back home but they can’t get it quite right. Birds custard? I’ll have an Aussie friend photograph it for me to add in! Thanks for the tip! : )

  11. Amy Ferguson 03/28/2015 at 2:20 am #

    Laura, you can usually find Bird’s custard at World Market here in the USA. I’m a Canadian expat living in Arizona and it’s a key ingredient for nanaimo bars.

  12. Liz London 10/29/2015 at 5:46 am #

    I had to smile when I saw the wonderful Union Flag (Union Jack) packaging…this Anglophile has been known to bring back such items to the USA for display (and yes, I did pick up the Fairy Soap too)!!! Luv your blog!

  13. Yorkiepud 02/18/2016 at 3:19 am #

    Yorkshire pudding mix is just flour, egg, and water – you don’t need to buy a special mix! And you can make them in a cupcake tray. 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 02/18/2016 at 9:07 pm #

      haha good point I should try it and post about it!

  14. Yorkiepud 02/18/2016 at 3:20 am #

    Oops, milk, not water.

  15. Ratna 01/16/2017 at 9:36 pm #

    Ahh I love this article!! I always spare my time to visit local supermarket when I went aboard. I usually buy local snacks and chocolates for people back home. It’s cheaper and merrier than giving magnet as souvenirs.
    So far, Japan is the only country which doesn’t sell snacks and chocolate in their supermarket. In Asian countries, I usually try their local instant noodles, it’s interesting taste but sadly it takes a lot of space to bring it back home.I still think of delicious instant noodles I found in HK, and it was years ago!

  16. Liana 05/26/2017 at 2:46 pm #

    I’ve just stumbled onto your article and it is really lovely and full of great suggestions.
    One of our favourite British food souvenirs is a Terry’s Chocolate Orange!
    I have to however point out the Mrs Balls chutney is a South African product – it is a favourite here in South Africa.

  17. Hina 08/03/2017 at 7:12 pm #

    I always pick up tubs of mixed candied citrus peel (I stuff dates with them, use them in Eccles cakes, etc.) and mixed spice (similar to our pumpkin pie spice but different) and squeezable bottles of lemon curd and treacle and chocolate and toffee (caramel) sauce. The ingredients in England are so much better! Ooh…and of course one has to get Kipling cakes!

    • Kristin Francis 10/24/2017 at 6:50 pm #

      Oh interesting, thanks for the tips I’ve heard of none of these things!! 🙂 I’ll have to google Kipling cakes!

  18. Ricardo Rodríguez Morente 04/21/2018 at 6:23 pm #

    Nice article. I loved it from tea to pea. Thanks.

    • Kristin Francis 05/17/2018 at 6:27 pm #

      thank you! I’m working on an M&S supermarket post next!

  19. Anonymous 06/03/2018 at 9:07 pm #

    The chutney is actually a south african product – the Mrs Balls and you can find it at world market if you have one near you.

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