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?