Colonialism Redux: Fortnum & Mason, The Queen's Grocer, Comes Stateside

20081009-fandm-logo.pngWhen it comes to tea and biscuits, our relationship with the Brits hasn't always been a smooth one. (Remember that last Tea Party—around, say, 1773? Didn't end well.) But in a burst of transatlantic good will, the Queen's Grocer Fortnum & Mason is launching its first American product line, bringing all manner of quintessentially British goodies to the States at last.

Fortnum & Mason has been one of the gold standards for British goodies for over three centuries—the Queen doesn't put her name on just anything. Their jams, desserts, champagne, and teas are packaged as prettily as products from America's Harry and David, but are much more widespread—and much tastier. Although British cuisine often gets a bad rap, no one does rose creams or spiced biscuits better.


20081009-fandm-chutney.jpgMy favorite part about British food has always been the words on the packaging. (I spent a few months in London living off of Crunchy Nut cereal—a peanuty version of cornflakes that, the box informed me, were "ludicrously tasty!") In that respect, Fortnum & Mason doesn't disappoint. Lucifer's Ginger & Chili Biscuits, we learn, are "devilishly deceptive." Their balsamic is a "vibrantly versatile vinegar." And Major Grey's Refreshingly Mild Mango Chutney? It's "formidable on croissants for a sub-continental breakfast." Yum.

While Fortnum & Mason hopes to eventually expand to American specialty stores, you can order their full American line from their just-launched website,—no more waiting for ginger shortbread fingers! My Christmas list just got a whole lot longer.