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shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

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shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

I am a bread-and-chocoholic. I am hoping to stuff a large carry-on with loaves of bread in my last few hours in London. We are staying in Bloomsbury in October. Any suggestions on where to go-we have a Waitrose convenient? Brands to get? Any other specialty foods that make good gifts?

I have not done much international travel up to now, but have loved European bread. Also the European chocolate we buy here does not taste the same. I think it must be processed differently for shipping or it could just be my over-active imagination.

Norwich, United...
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1. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

Waitrose bread isn't really that good, if you can find a decent independent baker you'll do much better. Try one of the food markets like Spitalfields or Borough.

For chocolate again if you can seek out a speciality provider you'll do much better. The 2 big chains Thorntons and Hotel Chocolat are everywhere but really not that great. Try the following list:


London, United...
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2. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

The trouble with good bread is that it is only really good for a few hours ( hands up anyone who brought baguettes back from school trips). I'm not sure it would be worth eating by the time you get home, I say this only to avoid disappointment.

I agree about Waitrose bread, not as good as it should be. You will be spoilt for choice as far as chocolate and biscuits are concerned. Try a lot while you are here to find your favourites:)

Yorkshire, England
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3. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

There is a Waitrose in Bloomsbury, in The Brunswick Centre just up from Russell Square station.

You need to go to the Borough Market for foodie heaven. Google it for more info.

London, United...
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4. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

British bread is not European bread. Most of the bread in British supermarkets is no better than Wonder Bread. At least 80% of supermarket bread (and much sold in "bakeries" like Greggs) is produced by the Chorleywood Process (google it), which produces limp, boring bread. Waitrose does have some decent breads, but much of what they sell is Chorleywood.

Spitalfields is not really a food market. It does have a food market on some days, but Borough is a better call, particularly Wednesday-Saturday. It is closed entirely on Sundays. If you want a shop, check out Gail's, which has an outlet in Exmouth Market, which is near Bloomsbury.

There are also a number of farmers' markets around London, many of which have good bread options (see www.lfm.org.uk for details).

For chocolate, Thorntons is mass market and has mostly gone out of the retail business. Hotel Chocolat is much better, though pricy. Even pricer (but even better) is Paul A Young, with a branch in Islington that is reasonably convenient for Bloomsbury. At Waitrose, look out for Montezuma or Monty Bonjangles brands. Green and Black is now owned by one of the big food conglomerates but is still well above average. Lindt is Swiss rather than British but widely available in supermarkets and excellent.

London, United...
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5. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread


If this link works one of your fellow countrymen posted this short link about Harrods Chocolate Department. It is big as is the choice of types and flavours of chocolate.

Destination Expert
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6. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

Try William Curley for chocolate.

Best bread IMO in London is Reubens Bakehouse in Twickenham. Twenty minutes from Waterloo and worth the journey if you really like bread. See their website.

London, UK
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7. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

Farmers' market in Bloomsbury on Thursdays http://www.lfm.org.uk/markets/bloomsbury/

I'm not sure what kind of bread you have in mind. One thing Waitrose and the other supermarkets sell is Brioche Bread which comes sliced or unsliced and lasts for a spooky length of time (goodness knows what additives they use). A lot of people I know like it, but I have no idea whether it's similar to what you can get at home.

If you can get up to Islington (not very far from Bloomsbury), Paul Young makes the best chocolate.

Edited: 26 June 2014, 16:36
Destination Expert
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8. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

William Curley 's a good shout. Some other chocolate shops to try:




or just the chocolate/confectionery of many supermarkets if you like the stuff that pretends to be chocolate like Cadbury's!:).

I don't think bread will survive a long journey tbh as it's best eaten fresh. Some Waitrose have Gail's bakery products FWIW or you can try one of their shops:


Harrod's food hall has a good bakery counter too.

Edited: 26 June 2014, 18:15
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9. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

Agree that the bread products should best be enjoyed while you're in London, although I'm not sure what you are expecting unless you plan on visiting French bakeries. But, lots of chocolate/sweets options whether you want fancy gourmet or grocery store varieties.

London, United...
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10. Re: shopping for specialty foods/chocolate/bread

A Gail's just opened up round the corner from me - heaven, but a bit pricey.

My favourite chocolate brand is Divine which is fair trade and can be bought from most supermarkets.