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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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Sunday 3rd of June 2018

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.

Ricardo Rodríguez Morente

Saturday 21st of April 2018

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

Kristin Francis

Thursday 17th of May 2018

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

Hina

Thursday 3rd of August 2017

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

Tuesday 24th of October 2017

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

Liana

Friday 26th of May 2017

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.

Ratna

Monday 16th of January 2017

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!