Since my arrival in London over the weekend, the first places I headed towards was St. James’ Park, one of my most favourite places in the whole wide world without exaggeration. The day was bright like mid-summer, lovely blue skies with not a cloud in sight and as warm as one can expect it to be in early spring. The daffodils, what I have been yearning to lay my eyes on, were in full bloom to my delight. Long stretches of sunshine yellow blooms, signifying the onset of spring, were in their full glory almost as if to welcome me back to the city I love so much. Having spent the afternoon in the park lunching in the company of the ‘royal’ ducks, I made my way through Buckingham Palace, crossing Green Park and purposefully strode towards my destination at 181, Piccadilly, Fortnum & Mason.
For the uninitiated, Fortnum and Mason is one of the most luxurious food departmental stores in the world that opened in 1707 and for more than 300 years, has been bringing the very best of food produce from all over the world. F & M is famed for its tea rooms with high teas, luxury picnic hampers, wines and spirits and a whole range of fresh and processed food from all over the world. Having said that, the thing that attracts me most to the store whenever I get the chance are its window decorations which are absolutely out of this world and unlike anything else one might have seen, especially over Easter and Christmas. I have been lucky to be here over the Easter holidays and as expected they had everyone ‘Eggcited’.
As I went hopping from one shop window to another like a little child, I realised the joy it brought to me and to so many others of all age groups. It was like being Alice in Wonderland, as I walked around five floors, feasting my senses on the most exciting, inspiring and innovative ideas one could set their eyes on. Aisle after aisle, floor after floor of chutneys, pickles, biscuits, shortbreads, chocolates and truffles, teas, cheeses, meats and seafood, wines and champagnes, cakes and pastries, scones and buns, fruits and vegetables, oils and vinegars, spices and herbs, it is indeed a foodie’s dream come true. If this store can’t get someone energised and animated about the delight that food can bring to one’s life, nothing can.
F&M is a perfect example of the harmony between century old traditions and modernity …be it through their tea rooms with their traditional teas, desserts and British classics on the menu or the innovation that they bring through their visual merchandising, innovative products, fusing the old with the new and uncompromising standards on quality and service. While these pictures cannot do justice to the real world of Fortnum and Mason, it surely gives you a sneak preview and something to put on your ‘to do’ list when you visit London.
For me, the afternoon ended with a steaming pot of traditionally brewed Earl Grey served alongside a huge wedge of the most crumbly Almond and Blueberry Cake I have perhaps had…couldn’t have asked for a more delightful finish to a beautiful spring day, albeit with a touch of rain at the end of it for good charm! Here’s wishing all my readers a very Happy Easter, stay Eggcited!