Saturday, November 7, 2009

London Love and Thornton's Toffee



I love London. The energy, the quirkiness, the music, the markets, excite me. I never sleep when I visit, there's always something happening and some place to be. I also rarely eat when I'm there. If there's no curry shop or Jamaican eatery nearby, forget it. British food is my least favorite thing about London. You can only eat fish-n-chips and do high tea so many times before you crave real food. And well, there really is none. There's a saying that British colonialists really weren't trying to to take over all those countries, they were just looking for a good meal. On my first trip to London, I ate maybe once a day, usually scones or fish n-chips. I never saw much food that looked appetizing to me. Then at the end of my visit, I discovered Thornton's toffee. My discriminating sweet tooth went wild. I can not explain the joy, the chewy, rich, deliciousness of that experience. Forget food, I could live on a good batch of Thornton's toffee for weeks. The next time I visited London, the first thing I did was stock up on Thornton's toffee. Unfortunately, despite its richness, it doesn't last very long with me. I had friends mail me supplies. I pestered anyone going near London to bring me back a box.



When friends grew weary of my obsession, I discovered Thornton's online and ordered twice a year, at ridiculous prices but it was worth it. That's how I've survived over the years. What passes for English toffee in the U.S. is nonsense. It's upsetting to even look at the hard slabs of sugar that's supposed to be toffee here. Proper toffee is chewy, even after it hardens. Since the euro-dollar conversion rate has grown even more ridiculous, not to mention the weeks I have to wait for a shipment, I've discovered the British Food Shop, based in California. Now I can order anytime and not worry about import costs and long waits. Last week, I ordered three bags of Thornton's toffee and I have it today. Just one bite takes me back to strolling through Camden Market or watching the street performers on Piccadilly Circus. For me, Thornton's toffee from London beat's Laduree macaroon's from Paris or Mozartkugeln chocolate from Salzburg. What's your favorite travel sweet?

16 comments:

Execumama said...

YUMMM! Sounds delish! I have family living in London, Jamaicans at that, so perhaps it's time for me to schedule a come-see! I heard that the shopping there is insanely wonderful too. Hmm...I might just be London-bound in 2010.

A Cuban In London said...

I love Thornton's. I can never get enough of them but they are quite dear for my monthly budget.

Right, in regards to British food, I used to think the same at the beginning, that the food was not really good (this coming from a recently arrived Cuban who was half-starving in Havana, the irony of it :-D!). With the passing of years I haev changed my mind completely. British food is a very good and varied. Fish'n'chips or beans on toast needn't be the staple of your diet when you live. For instance today my wife will be cooking roast dinner, a typical British dish with chicken, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, veg and gravy. On other days we'll have Shepherd's pie. Also, you have regional cuisines and I've tried the ones in the West Country and they're just as yummy as anything else I've tried for instance in Spain or Dominican Republic. For a good treat go to a pub, a real, down-to-earth pub full of jolly folk who get together for a nice Sunday meal and you'll have the time of your life.

You made my mouth water with those photos. I have just left a message for my wife to get some chocolate when she gets back home.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Mama, the shopping is unbelievable. You need to make reservations immediately!

Cubano, I had a feeling you'd say that! Yorkshire pudding, gravys and boiled or roasted (the British way) meats still don't appeal to me. Give me Spanish or Dominican dishes any day! Of course, that's besides the point. I'm living on Thorton's and tea the next time I come!

Tiffany,Ebony Intuition said...

" There's a saying that British colonialists really weren't trying to to take over all those countries, they were just looking for a good meal" lol good quote.

I'll have to try thortons toffee next time I go back to London.

"Thornton's toffee from London beat's Laduree macaroon's from Paris "

Really?? Because when I first tried the macaroons from Laduree I was sitting at the bus stop on the champs elysees and ate the whole box before the bus came lol. It was so good.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I visit London regularly, and we have Thorntons branches all over the country. My father loves Thornton's Special Toffee.

Fly Girl said...

Tifanny, macaroons by the Champ Elysees! Now that sounds heavenly. I think Laudree is wonderful and the macaroons are really, really, good. But if I had to choose, I just can't pass up good toffee!

Jean-Luc, your father has excellent taste!

marina villatoro said...

I lived in london for 4 months ages ago and never tried toffee. I've had it since in other places and love it:)

Footsteps said...

My splurges usually involve hot sauces. I bring favorites home from trips but eventually run out and have to track them down on-line.

Fly Girl said...

Marina, you were in London and missed eating toffee! You have to go back and have a do over.

Heather, I love giving extotic hot sauces as souvenirs from my travels. I find that they're not always easy to find online so I always get several bottles.

Maxine said...

LOL - your joke about 'looking for a good meal'. At least there are West Indian eateries in London. I fill up everytime I come visiting. Here in Australia, in the city I live in (Melbourne), there is one West Indian eatery :( I am really digging your blog. Nice work.

shantiwallah said...

"...they were just looking for a good meal" I can't wait for my husband (originally from Britain)to get home so I can tell him this! Thorntons toffe is good, but OMG do you not buy the truffles?! My Mother in law brought us a big box last year and they lasted...wait for it...1 day! And I agree with some others that, when done well, there is some great British food, but I'd love to know about some Dominican food. I'm off to search you blog in case you written about any:-)
P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog. I think yours is gorgeous:-)

Fly Girl said...

Maxine from Melbourne, I'm surprised that there is even one Caribbean restaurant in Melboune. Lucky you! Thanks for dropping by and I think your blog is quite fly as well.

Shantiwalla, I hope your husband doesn't get upset! I'm afriad I missed the truffles, I've never been able to rip my focus away from the toffee. I do have a few Dominican food posts, look under global cusine. Thanks so much for visiting, I enjoy uour blog as well.

Lola said...

Love truffles of all sorts, though I'm not a huge chocolate eater. The hubby is and can literally be lured away by a piece of chocolate ;)

[***Fresh&Fab***] said...

this is making me hungry now, i love toffee

Fly Girl said...

Lola, I just like candy!

Fresh & Fab, I can live off just toffee alone!

kristine said...

my mouth is watering...