HIDDEN LONDON : Fortnum & Masons Food Hall
In these times of Lockdown 2, it can become quite easy to slip into sadness and lose yourself in the cycle of eat work, sleep and repeat. The days blur into each other and there is nothing outside of our lives to connect to, this is especially true if you live in London where most shops of joy are closed! Though there is one that is still open, and may take you out of yourself for a few moments.
Fortnum & Masons opened their first shop in St James’s Market around 1707 and in the late C18th became purveyors of provisions to Queen Charlotte wife of King George III.
The store, which was fully restored in 2007 for their tercentenary, has always had a flair for display, with wonderful Christmas windows that are often automated. At present though other floors are closed, their Food Hall remains open. It is quite unlike anywhere else, with the distinct luxury packaging in tins and boxes of their own brand teas, biscuits, sweetmeats and their world famous hampers.
They also sell handmade chocolates by weight in small bags so you can choose your own from a selection of exotic flavours, these include vegan chocolate as well. Surprisingly it’s not that expensive to buy a small bag. For a retail therapy treat, I would recommend 20 mins of browsing, their range of stock is quite unusual and they do give out tasters!
Part of what makes a visit special, it is that the store is out of the ordinary and that’s what many some people need at the moment.
If you want to step out of the ordinary at home this week and join in a social activity without venturing outdoors you could join in the live “Cook In” where I will be baking delicious and surprisingly simple to make Viennese Whirls [see the picture to the right ] and then showing how to dance the first steps of the Viennese Waltz.
Maybe join me and give yourself a whirl!