The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

London, England

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KathyHo's picture

London, England

My husband is heading to London in April for a week.  Any suggestions of what I should ask him to buy me from England (of a bread nature, of course!)



mrfrost's picture

Hovis Granary flour!(send me some)...jk

firstfloorfront's picture

If you can't talk your Husband in to bringing you back a years supply of Hovis Granary flour, you can always get it delivered; can't vouch for the Company, I just came across it whilst having a pootle around.


Doughtagnan's picture

might be a good option and would avoid those awkward questions at airport customs/security re a suitcase full of bags of a powder-type-substance..... cheers Steve

pjaj's picture

Hovis is good, but they are part of the Giant Rank Hovis McDougal conglomerate. Try to find flour from the smaller independent millers. My current favourite is Wessex Mills in Wantage, they are widely available. Their web site lists 5 outlets within range of central London. Their Wessex Cobber flour is the closest to Granary (which is merely a RHMcD trade name) and IMHO makes a better loaf. They make a large range of other flours (see web site) and sell mail order, but ship only to the UK (so far).

There are other small and medium milling companies including Allinsons, Bacheldre, Doves (best dried yeast I've found) to name but a few. A quick trawl through Google for UK flower mills will find most of them, and their sites will list stockists.

The US company "Wholefood Market" have branches in 39 states, the UK and Canada, so they may be able to help you get supplies of imported flours, although I don't know what the FDA has to say about this - I gather they can be a bit picky about food imports.

I endorse what Doughtagnan says about trying to get bags of powders through airport security, and any significant quantity is going to be seriously heavy.

I don't know in what part of London your husband is going to be but there are some fine artisan bakers, try to track down one or two of them. Failing that he can always fall back on Harrods who sell a range of breads, including imports from Paris. The afore mentioned Wholefood Market in Kensington High Street bakes excellent bread, and look for the chain of shops called Le Pain Quotidien - more excellent artisan breads and good food.

For a laugh, get him to pick up a malt fruit loaf (Soreen is one brand widely available), these are heavy, sweet and seriously sticky - not for the denture wearer! These malt breads are only made in the UK as far as I can tell.

qahtan's picture


I don't know where in Canada you are but here in southern Ontario,

Hamilton, Oakville, Bronte, St Catharines, Niagara On The Lake all have British imports for sale. All the things that make you say" wow, look at that" and make you spend a fortune, they have Marks and Spencers Christmas Puds, and their cakes, biscuits etc, Thorntons candies, all kinds of uk  biscuits, Oxo cube, Bovril, all manner of stuff. on the odd occasion they carry Soreen malt loaves, also Hovis flour granary and wheatmeal.

 The store in Hamilton is called "Across The Pond", " Niagara On The Lake is called Scottish Loft" if you want to google them or phone......

Hamilton will put you on their list and e mail you when they have specials, 


jenniferFarnell's picture

Pjaj is right - Hovis is just a big conglomerate, and their flour is nothing to write home about.  They're a bit like Robin Hood for flour. 

You're better off asking your husband to look out for some flour from Stoate's Mill or Shipton Mill - both lovely organic flours, and they come in 1.5kg bags, which might be easier for him to get through customs :) 

That being said - I've brought flour through airport security with no problems before - I think they have enough high-tech equipment to smoke out the illegal stuff that they don't really bat an eyelash.

qahtan's picture

Yes I have brought flour to Canada from UK, without a problem,,  It was Sultanex the one that make malt loaves, I bought it at Clarks Mills at Wantage..... qahtan

pjaj's picture


I presume you meant "without a problem"

Clark's Mill in Wantage is now trading as Wessex Mill. They no longer make a product called Sultanex, but it's probably been renamed "Malt Loaf Bread Flour". It's about as close as you can get to a British malt loaf in a dry mix, but if you are interested I've posted quite a bit on the subject in the past and tried to make my own with added malt syrup, treacle, malt powder etc. with partial success.


Sorry I didn't realise you were in Ontario when I made the first post, but it doesn't change much of what I said. Please let us know what your husband manages to come back with.


I don't know Stoate's Mill, but Shipton is another good one I've tried over the years.

Doughtagnan's picture

suggestions and if he ends up down the other end of High St Kensington from the Whole Food w/house  there is also a Waitrose  that does top end flours from Shipton mill and others. Also get him to check out UK baking books from Dan Lepard and the River Cottage series. Cheers Steve

KathyHo's picture

Hi Qahtan - yes, I live in Ontario - Ottawa area and thanks for the pointers on UK food.  I was just in Niagara-on-the-Lake last Christmas and saw the Scotland store but didn't go in as I envisioned a store full of kilts!  I go to Niagara Falls every year so swinging by the Hamilton store is certainly do-able.

I think I'll just get my husband to buy a small bag of flour of whatever he can find and stick it in his luggage. He will be in the Buckingham Palace area.

I am also on the hunt for bannetons but they are impossible to find in Ottawa - I called every kitchen store and only one knew what I was talking about.  I will buy one at Sur La Table when I am in Seattle next month.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions.


pjaj's picture

The last time I was in a branch of Le Pain Quotidien in London they had Bannetons for sale, so maybe your husband could bring you back some of them if your Seattle trip fails. There are 4 branches within about a mile of Buck House. Google maps knows all about them.

Bakingbird's picture

Hi KathyHo. 

I live in London and can vouch that there are plenty of yummy treats your husband can bring home to you. I would suggest hitting Fortnum and Mason and &Clarkes. 

See if he also can get a hold of cob loaf! And maybe he can throw in a Scottish Egg or two, they're not breadrelated (other than the bread crumbs), but delicious nonetheless. 

HokeyPokey's picture

I just came back from there, and they've really went down the hill - the baking section is tiny, and way overprices. Shipton Mill is very good, I get all my flour from them, but they are quite pricey. If anything, I'd say get him to browse lakeland - lots of cheap, good baking stuff there. Plus, if he is anywhere near Notting Hill gate, Books for Cooks is an amazing place - all they do, is sell books on cooking and baking, and their staff are very helpful. Right across the road from them is the Spice Shop, i get all my spices there, there is nothing they don't stock

Hope that helps



pjaj's picture

Are we talking about the same store? I was there two weeks ago, it's in the Barkers building in Kensington High Street, opposite the southern end of Kensington Church Street. The store is huge for its type, over three floors. I'll admit they are not cheap, but I would have said comparable to any other Organic / health food / Holland & Barrett / farmer's market type shop. The bakery is at least as big as any large high street bakery I've ever been in.

I must admit that our impressions are poles apart.