Fortnum & Mason’s patisserie counter brings together some of the UK’s best bakes in its luxurious and historic surrounds
What’s the background
Fortnum & Mason needs little introduction, and beyond its legendary teas and gorgeous hampers its hallowed halls contains all manner of sweet treats. With its traditional offering you know you’re in safe hands, and it remains one of the few places you’ll see counters piled high with glistening marzipan fruits and other old-school delights, as well as more modern confections. You can easily lose the best part of an afternoon in the biscuit section alone (don’t leave without a tube of the deliciously rich Chocolossus biscuits), while if after this you still have chocolate cravings you can’t fail to be tempted by the counter of haute creations. Then, of course, there’s the Fortnum & Mason’s patisserie, bringing together some of the best suppliers in the UK.
Here I’m taking a look at the main food hall, which is very much a grab-and-go location, but if you have more time on your hands Fortnum & Mason of course has several dining destinations on-site, as well as its famous afternoon tea.
What’s on offer?
The advantage of picking up your patisserie at Fortnum & Mason is that it picks and chooses some of the best specialists to supply the counter. Therefore not only can you be assured of the quality, but also a wide and diverse range to choose from. Such names include Maitre Choux, where you can sample its picture-perfect eclairs without making the trek to South Kensington, and Babelle, which also supplies its canelés to the likes of Selfridges and Harrods. There’s a good selection of classic French cakes – in both large and individual sizes – as well as more simple sponge layer cakes.
What to choose?
A favourite is the florentines; here Fortnum & Mason has gone beyond the usual offering to incorporate a number of more unusual flavours, signified by different coloured chocolate toppings. The eclairs are always a safe bet, and the selection of French petit gateaux, while small, is well done.
What’s the damage?
Prices are as you’d expect of a fancy food hall. A petit gateau will cost around £4, and you’ll find that you may be paying slightly more than elsewhere for some of the ‘name’ items. For example, Maitre Choux’s eclairs are marked up compared to buying them direct from its standalone store, but it’s all about the convenience.
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London, W1A 1ER; fortnumandmason.com