Opulent Harrods in London
What comes to mind when you think of British food? Umm…Umm… fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, and tea time with scones.
At least for my food sensibilities, the list doesn’t have much to offer. It’s no wonder that my Google search came upon a sarcastic quote from A.J. Liebling (20th century journalist and author):
“An Englishman teaching an American about food is like the blind leading the one eyed.”
On a second look, Liebling wasn’t too fond of American food either. Perhaps he longed for delicate French pastries.
Part of the joy of visiting a new place is exploring its food. For years, my father-in-law raved about his daily escapades to Harrods‘ food court while he was staying in London’s Hyde Park. When I compiled my list of places to go, Harrods was scribbled in under the category- “food”.
Two lively travel companions joined us as we entered the mammoth department store. My childhood memories of Marshall Field’s on State Street in Chicago were now surpassed by the mega sized Harrods. Being in London during the Queen’s Jubilee made the store even more festive than usual. The salesladies in the cosmetic department were wearing tiaras with sparking artificial gems and colorful banners decorated other areas.
The jubilee crowds were extraordinary and so were the number of people strolling through the aisles. People were in every department, including the food area. Clusters of people congregated wherever a salesperson was handing out samples. The chocolate truffles with champagne were delicious.
Unlike the bread and prepared food display cases that were somewhat depleted by mid afternoon, there were dozens of candy displays.
I couldn’t help but think of Josh when I passed by the cupcakes.
I have to admit that the assortment of desserts was not as tempting as the cupcakes.
Our small group explored the nooks and crannies of different departments and ogled over some of the more impressive price tags.
For a lasting memory of our afternoon, we splurged at Florian, a Venezian coffee house, on the third floor. The original Caffe Florian had its debut in the Piazza San Marco in Venice on December 29, 1720. Today, it is the oldest cafe in Italy.
Our order was delivered on a silver tray with individual carafes of water. The freshly baked Harrods’ scones- one plain and one raisin- included clotted cream and individual jars of jam for an obscene price of 9.25 pounds. Most of the other menu options were Italian in origin. The presentation begged for a picture.