Monday, July 18, 2016

an exquisite (and expensive) return to Fortnum & Mason

Good Day

Well, here we are. As per the last time I wrote an account of a visit to Fortnum & Mason I must, look you see, be very careful with my choice of wording. The more astute of you shall, no doubt, have noted that for a start I have elected to use the correct capitalization of words in this text. If I get nothing at all else right in this world I am determined that my account of the grand splendour of Fortnum & Mason is expressed correctly and with the respect it so truly warrants.

Those of you who have been so quite unfortunate to have read of my recent exploits in London will know that I went down for some very good reasons. A splendid bonus of all of this was, of course, that I would be once again able to walk within the grounds of Fortnum & Mason, the provider and purveyor of all that is good in the world.

No, alas I was not dressed in a suit, morning or otherwise. Indeed I should have been, and once it would be true the the doorman would have chased me away for approaching the building dressed as I was, although he would not have beaten me in doing so for my shirt, at the least, does feature a rudimentary collar.

Why all this fuss, if I may call it such, about Fortnum & Mason? Well, if not them, then who? I would dare to suggest that a visit to their official site would tell you more than I could of their history and their stature, as well as their significant importance to both London and British history.

In short, the name of Harrods is known around the world. Most would associate that London store with the class, sophistication and expense of the city, and believe it to be the finest. It is indeed a very good store, but when people picture Harrods what they are actually seeing, without knowing it, is Fortnum & Mason. Fortnum & Mason are, have always been and for ever shall be the suppliers of provisions to Royalty, the aristocracy, the landed gentry, people of significance to both culture and society and, from time to time, simple folk such as I.

The above is the basked I had the distinct honour of using to carry my selected wares around the inner workings of Fortnum & Mason. My adventure did not start with such a splendid contraption, though. I was strolling around carrying my items in my hands when a gentleman in a long tailed suit jacket approached me, addressing me as "Sir". He, in his infinite wisdom, suggested that Sir might prefer to make use of this provisions receptacle, so as to make Sir's shopping excursions somewhat less of a burden.

I did indeed thank the gentleman most kindly for his gallant display of wisdom and chivalry. Why, yes, I did indeed do a slight, somewhat silent but all the same heartfelt bow to him as I bidded him good day.

A closer look at the provisions for which I paid Fortnum & Mason a most princely of penny for? Why not, dear reader, why not.

The centrepiece is, of course, the three connoisseur sample  jars of marmalade which you can see central to the top. Yes, dear reader - I am happy to confirm that Sir Nigel's recipe is indeed one of the three which I have. Below the marmalade are three connoisseur tins of ground coffee selected and blended by Fortnum & Mason. One of the tins features Kenyan, another Colombian and the third I momentarily forget but I am certain it is a splendid coffee.

To the left one can see the purple tin which contains digestive biscuits which Fortnum & Mason have, kindly and thoughtfully, dipped into some chocolate on the milk variety. To the right one can see a strawberry jam preserve which carries the colour and banner of the sovereign, for this is no ordinary strawberry jam. Far from it, dear reader - this is jam commissioned so that the strawberries used for it were plucked, stewed and formed into a jam designed to commemorate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.

In the background one may observe a rather large, yet not crass, selection of tea from Fortnum & Mason. Thus far I have availed myself of the Smoky Earl Grey and Afternoon Blend tea which is contained within the presentation box, and both have been the finest of tea which I have ever drunk. Except, of course, for Yorkshire tea, which is superior to all.

Whereas some of the most splendid marmalade is visible in the above picture, your focus and attention is kindly drawn to the Shrewsbury Woodland honey. I purchased this for my (considerable) better half, who has quite the current penchant for drinking tea which has honey placed within it.

Indeed, it does bring me much joy to report to you, my very dear reader, that my American family, whom also love Fortnum & Mason, helped in the selection of this very fine specimen of honey.  

Towards, then, the practical application of the assorted goods and wares which I purchased, at some cost when measured in coins of money, from Fortnum & Mason. As I would presume to take it as you have no wish nor desire to see me eating, let us remain within the realm of coffee.

When my (considerably) better half was granted the choice of which of the coffees from Fortnum & Mason we should elect to use, her selection - after appropriate deliberation - was the Kenyan blend. A most splendid choice, I trust you shall agree.

Sadly I did not film this coffee being brewed in our filter machine. This is a shame, as I am certain it shall make for most exceptional and entertaining viewing. It is my pledge to you to endeavour to film the mechanism at work as and when we next treat ourselves to some of this coffee.

I can, at the least, show you the finished product. Please excuse the fact that the coffee is being served in, and it pains me to use such a crass word in the context of this article on Fortnum & Mason, mugs.

It is quite likely that the incumbent proprietors of Fortnum & Mason would give me a beating which is jolly and sound if they were to see me using such a lower class item with which to drink of their coffee. A fearful likelihood is the placement of a ban or other such restraining order on me, prohibiting me from ever entering their premises again in this lifetime.

And just how was the coffee? Magnificent. Splendid, as point of fact. One of the finest coffees which I have ever had the privilege to consume, if not the finest. I look forward to trying the remainder of the tins.

That is all from Fortnum & Mason for this sojourn, then. Fear not if you fear that this is an end to London inspired posts, though. I still have a few items to share; in particular my most recent adventures with Spiros. Those, however, are tales which can wait another day or so.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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