English products

The best place to buy this and that? Recommend shops and share your good and bad experiences.

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GuyJ
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English products

Post by GuyJ » Thu 27 Apr 2017 09:13

Is there anywhere that sells English products in the region?. Marmite, baked beans, and all the other favourites...

martyn94
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Re: English products

Post by martyn94 » Thu 27 Apr 2017 11:21

GuyJ wrote:Is there anywhere that sells English products in the region?. Marmite, baked beans, and all the other favourites...
I'm tempted to say "favourites for who?": that's what I'm escaping from. But the big Intermarché in Argelès has a reasonable selection.

Or even try Amazon Fr if you're feeling lazy: that's where my sister gets her Vegemite (she's a naturalised Australian).

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Post by Sue » Thu 27 Apr 2017 12:04

Pop over the border into Spain, La Jonquera for Heinz baked beans. Bingo supermarket has them 88 cents a tin. Escudero has large jars of Helmans mayo for 1.75 €. Man other products too.
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British favourites

Post by Lanark Lass » Thu 27 Apr 2017 12:19

5 Continents at Mas Guerido has products from many countries - including British favourites!

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Post by Allan » Thu 27 Apr 2017 15:03

The problem you will encounter is that the few shops that sell English products offer a very limited choice and you will end up driving here, there and everywhere to find half a dozen items.

Yes, you can buy Heinz beans, but usually the full fat version and none of the snap pots or low sugar variants. It's the same with most other products.

A few shops have tried specialising in UK products but none have stayed open very long.

We just buy online from British Corner Shop, good choice,good service and not hideously expensive.

https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/

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Re: English products

Post by Allan » Thu 27 Apr 2017 15:10

martyn94 wrote:
I'm tempted to say "favourites for who?": that's what I'm escaping from. But the big Intermarché in Argelès has a reasonable selection.
.
Why would you want to escape from products that might have been favourites in another part of your life.

I love living in France, but that doesn't mean everything here is better. The wonderful world of eCommerce means I can have the best products from anywhere that I have lived.

I buy local products where I can but if I want a decent steak or mint biscuits then I just import them. Shopping these days is brilliant, you can have the best of all countries.

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Re: English products

Post by martyn94 » Thu 27 Apr 2017 16:17

Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote:
I'm tempted to say "favourites for who?": that's what I'm escaping from. But the big Intermarché in Argelès has a reasonable selection.
.
Why would you want to escape from products that might have been favourites in another part of your life.

I love living in France, but that doesn't mean everything here is better. The wonderful world of eCommerce means I can have the best products from anywhere that I have lived.

I buy local products where I can but if I want a decent steak or mint biscuits then I just import them. Shopping these days is brilliant, you can have the best of all countries.
I was being facetious, to a degree, a bad habit of mine. But I did have a quick look at your website, and much of the stuff seems either disgusting (Bisto? Mr Kipling's cakes?) or inexplicable (English Persil? English cat food?). Or just mediocre: two or three decent jars of marmalade, and two dozen feeble ones. Britain had something of a head start with really shoddy industrial food, and it has evidently retained its claim on our affections.

But thinks for the link anyway: I'm running out of decent tea.

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UK goodies

Post by EILEEN » Thu 27 Apr 2017 18:55

The Corner Shop is one of my "shops" , like most people, I suppose mainly for Tea bags. I usually get a few other things whilst I am paying the delivery charge. Found that http://www.missmysupermarket.com/ is also good.... and sells cheaper pharmacy stuff.
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Re: English products

Post by Allan » Thu 27 Apr 2017 19:22

martyn94 wrote: I was being facetious, to a degree, a bad habit of mine. But I did have a quick look at your website, and much of the stuff seems either disgusting (Bisto? Mr Kipling's cakes?) or inexplicable (English Persil? English cat food?). Or just mediocre: two or three decent jars of marmalade, and two dozen feeble ones. Britain had something of a head start with really shoddy industrial food, and it has evidently retained its claim on our affections.

But thinks for the link anyway: I'm running out of decent tea.
Facetious and cynical - what a combination.

I think it is fair to say that you are perhaps not in step with the rest of the planet.

What you dismiss as disgusting or mediocre are top selling brands.

Many of us still have a hankering for Branston pickle, baked beans, Mint Viscounts and a host of products that we have got used to over many years.

Most people regard Waitrose as one of the better UK supermarkets I can't imagine that the 2,700 of their products that they sell are all mediocre or disgusting.

I think it is a sad fact of life that the perceived sense of French culinary excellence is nothing more than pure fantasy and certainly the industrially produced products in French supermarkets are at least as mediocre and disgusting as their UK equivalents.

Isn't it the case that most of us still like the food that we grew up with and add new cuisines to it over the years. The desire for some things like pickles and biscuits doesn't disappear just because you move to a different country.

Tonight I will be tucking in to Fish and chips (thrice cooked), mushy peas and curry sauce with branston pickle and pickled onions on the side. Only the haddock and potatoes were bought locally.

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Re: English products

Post by martyn94 » Thu 27 Apr 2017 23:38

Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote: I was being facetious, to a degree, a bad habit of mine. But I did have a quick look at your website, and much of the stuff seems either disgusting (Bisto? Mr Kipling's cakes?) or inexplicable (English Persil? English cat food?). Or just mediocre: two or three decent jars of marmalade, and two dozen feeble ones. Britain had something of a head start with really shoddy industrial food, and it has evidently retained its claim on our affections.

But thinks for the link anyway: I'm running out of decent tea.
Facetious and cynical - what a combination.
I am sometimes cynical, but I don't see that I have been so here. I genuinely don't miss the vast majority of UK industrial brands, any more than I buy their French equivalents. When I do have the occasional yen, it passes if I go for a bracing walk. The few UK products which everybody regards as good food - Worcester sauce is the example that comes to mind - are not in a ghetto in the supermarket, and I buy them like anyone else.

And of course I enjoy many of the dishes from my youth, and cook them. Really fresh haddock and chips are the food of the gods, done well, though I cannot imagine ever wanting your garnish: you certainly didn't get it in the chip shop in Pittenweem when I used to go there, before they mucked up the Fife haddock fishery.

There's a firm called Premier Foods which reckoned to make money by buying up "legacy" UK brands (from Bird's Custard to Bisto) and milking them for what they could: it worked for a while, but it turned out that people went off them even quicker than they had calculated. Not my most successful investment.

There's a great fuss, apparently, that Britain's real favourite food - houmous - is currently out of stock at Sainsbury's and M and S. It's available from your online supermarket for €3 and rising for a smallish pot, plus postage. Or about €1, and better, and fresh, made at home in two minutes. I could afford to buy it online, but I would die of shame.

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Re: English products

Post by Allan » Fri 28 Apr 2017 00:21

martyn94 wrote: I am sometimes cynical, but I don't see that I have been so here. I genuinely don't miss the vast majority of UK industrial brands, any more than I buy their French equivalents. When I do have the occasional yen, it passes if I go for a bracing walk.

And of course I enjoy many of the dishes from my youth, and cook them. Really fresh haddock and chips are the food of the gods, done well, though I cannot imagine ever wanting your garnish: you certainly didn't get it in the chip shop in Pittenweem when I used to go there, before they mucked up the Fife haddock fishery.

There's a great fuss, apparently, that Britain's real favourite food - houmous - is currently out of stock at Sainsbury's and M and S. It's available from your online supermarket for €3 and rising for a smallish pot, plus postage. Or about €1, and better, and fresh, made at home in two minutes. I could afford to buy it online, but I would die of shame.
I grew up in the south of England and didn't discover real fish and chips until I moved to Yorkshire where a standard order includes a tub of mushy peas and one of chip shop curry sauce. I have usually been disappointed with fish and chips in Scotland where they seem to forget to remove the skin and bones. I recently took a group of French friends to Edinburgh and tried to enrich their lives with a visit to a fish and chip restaurant. I really struggled to find one.

I think the houmous issue is that customers had discovered that it tasted awful and thought that it wasn't supposed to.

Next time I have a craving for a Pukka steak and kidney pie, I'll try your remedy of a bracing walk but your advice does remind me of a passage in Scouting for Boys that I read as a kid. It recommended that young men tempted by the idea of self-abuse should quell the desire with some violent arm exercises.

I will continue to enjoy the culinary delights of my youth while you can continue with your mushed up chick peas.

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Post by Pearsonb » Fri 28 Apr 2017 09:01

I agree that the Corner shop is good. I got some excellent Wensleydale cheese from there.

poundshop.com ship to France as well and yesterday they were offering 6 tins of Heinz bakebeans for one pound. Their offers never last long.

A lovely couple accompany the Sausage Man on his trips down here and they can provide many items. I buy sugar-free ginger beer off them.

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Re: English products

Post by martyn94 » Fri 28 Apr 2017 13:07

Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote:
I think the houmous issue is that customers had discovered that it tasted awful and thought that it wasn't supposed to.

Yes, of course. It's encouraging, I suppose, that people remember what the supermarket versions are meant to taste like. But it's a bit dismal that none of them seem to know how it's made, or what of, or how easy it is to avoid the "production problems" that have left them bereft. But then I enjoy manipulating food as well as eating it.

On a whole other tack. I remain staggered that anyone, let alone someone of your obvious good taste, could eat Branston pickle with haddock and chips (I will eat pickled onions with anything, not excluding cornflakes). But just look at what it's made of nowadays

Vegetables in Variable Proportions (54%) (Carrot, Rutabaga, Onion, Cauliflower), Sugar, Barley Malt Vinegar, Spirit Vinegar, Date Paste, Salt, Apple Pulp (Apple, Preservative (Sodium Metabisulphite)) , Modified Maize Starch, Tomato Paste, Colour (Sulphite Ammonia Caramel), Spices, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavouring

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Re: English products

Post by Allan » Fri 28 Apr 2017 14:19

martyn94 wrote:
Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote:
I think the houmous issue is that customers had discovered that it tasted awful and thought that it wasn't supposed to.

Yes, of course. It's encouraging, I suppose, that people remember what the supermarket versions are meant to taste like. But it's a bit dismal that none of them seem to know how it's made, or what of, or how easy it is to avoid the "production problems" that have left them bereft. But then I enjoy manipulating food as well as eating it.

On a whole other tack. I remain staggered that anyone, let alone someone of your obvious good taste, could eat Branston pickle with haddock and chips (I will eat pickled onions with anything, not excluding cornflakes). But just look at what it's made of nowadays

Vegetables in Variable Proportions (54%) (Carrot, Rutabaga, Onion, Cauliflower), Sugar, Barley Malt Vinegar, Spirit Vinegar, Date Paste, Salt, Apple Pulp (Apple, Preservative (Sodium Metabisulphite)) , Modified Maize Starch, Tomato Paste, Colour (Sulphite Ammonia Caramel), Spices, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavouring
Martyn, there are few foods that cannot be improved by accompanying them with Branston Pickle. Looking at your list of ingredients it looks like my entire '5 a day' is contained in the one jar. I have tried many artisanal chutneys but none of them taste as good, however lovingly prepared or high quality the ingredients.

Perhaps there is an addiction additive.

It's a shame they don't specify the quantities of each ingredient or you could make your own.

Out of interest, where do you source your pickled onions?

As for my good taste, or lack thereof, my first criterion is always the taste and other then a general concern over sugar and salt content I rarely look at the list of ingredients.

We eat out quite a lot but it is practically always for pleasure rather than to satisfy hunger so I have left many a meal largely uneaten because the taste wasn't sufficiently good that I could be bothered to eat it.

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Post by Gus Morris » Fri 28 Apr 2017 20:51

I took a look in our cupboards. The only item of UK origin is a tin of Bird's custard. We cook most of our food from scratch and bake our own bread. Don't know about Five Continents for British food but it is where we get ingredients for Asiatic cuisine.

It's worth taking a look in the shops across the border for stuff you can't buy in France. The choice of flour, for example, is much more varied. Digestive biscuits are also regularly available.

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Post by Lanark Lass » Fri 28 Apr 2017 21:10

We also occasionally by British style bacon at Aldi in Figueras.

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Re: English products

Post by martyn94 » Fri 28 Apr 2017 22:21

Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote:
Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote:
I think the houmous issue is that customers had discovered that it tasted awful and thought that it wasn't supposed to.


Out of interest, where do you source your pickled onions?
Anywhere I can find pickling onions, which is to say never recently, though I made some OK pickled shallots a few years ago (you need the non-clustering kind, which are equally hard to find). I've had OK pickled onions in Australia, imported from India, but not so good as to cart back home.

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Post by martyn94 » Fri 05 May 2017 14:03

Gus Morris wrote:I took a look in our cupboards. The only item of UK origin is a tin of Bird's custard. We cook most of our food from scratch and bake our own bread. Don't know about Five Continents for British food but it is where we get ingredients for Asiatic cuisine.

It's worth taking a look in the shops across the border for stuff you can't buy in France. The choice of flour, for example, is much more varied. Digestive biscuits are also regularly available.

Gus
The thing I remember about Bird's custard powder, from about 55 years ago, is that it initially goes a distinct pink colour (from one of the dodgy food colours which ultimately produce the yellow colour to mimic the egg yolk that it doesn't contain). I had thought that this might be false memory, but apparently it's still so

https://www.newscientist.com/blog/lastw ... stard.html

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