Trust us: the food in England is not bad, despite that nasty stereotyping. On our last trip, in 1993 we had one bad meal, and it was at a restaurant that we have here: The Hard Rock Café (we had John Lennon’s alleged favorite, The Pig Sandwich; it was heinous).
We’re pleased we can say the same thing about this trip: save for one horrible (the first night, microwaved frozen fish and chips that cost $13) meal, we loved just about every meal and snack we ate.
By now, you know that BeansTalk was a bit felled by how expensive everything in London was (given the very deflated dollar). Luckily, a lovely foodstuff we discovered in the first days of our recent trip earlier this month was shockingly affordable: Mr. Kipling’s Cakes.
We bought our first Mr. Kipling (French Fancies; which were eight little petit fours) at the London equivalent of a 7-11. We assumed and put it into the category of a Hostess/Dolly Madison kind of thing. Ah, but we were wrong. The French Fancies, and the later discovered Mini Battenberg cakes were delightful, very good and the quality and freshness were surprisingly yummy.
The closest thing we can equate it to are the kind of treats you buy at Gelson’s Bakery or a fancy indie bakery. They’re like little princess cakes.
The Battenberg Cake (which apparently comes in a whole cake, too) is a checkered sponge cake (pink and white), with a thin layer of apricot jam and wrapped in an almond frosting. God, they are good.
Information can be found at www.mrkipling.co.uk, but here’s the good news. We found them available to those of us now across the pond, at several on-line sites, many British Food sites, but excitingly enough, at www.amazon.com/gourmet.