Fortnum and Mason (London)


Fortnum & Mason takes more than one ingredient to collectively describe its atmosphere and utter perfection. I'll do my best to share the wonders of this five-story specialty food store and cafe hub on Piccadilly.

The first ingredient is Alice in Wonderland. The winding center staircase made me feel as if I fell down a tree myself and ended up in a pastel paradise! Even the greenery on the storefront awning was shaped into iconic hats and tea pots. The cups, saucers and cutlery were the brightest of colors, and the silver china tea pots were stunning.

The second ingredient is royalty. We felt as if we had stepped into our palace of indulgent sweets and confectionaries. The title of our drink at Afternoon Tea was not just "tea," but ROYAL tea! Plus, our little waiter treated us with the utmost kindness, which of course added much to the experience.

The third ingredient is attention detail. Our scones and mini ice cream cakes - dark chocolate, mandarin orange and raspberry - were decorated with colorful flourishes, along with the overall store's decor. Crystal handeliers, gold lining and an inventory of thousands of chocolates or olive oils or liqueurs added to the overall store's expertise.

How incredible are these cookies?

And the last ingredient? It's a secret, like in every good quality recipe...but I will tell you that I couldn't stop smiling after every sip of tea, every taste of jam, and every food gadget or apron or cookbook I laid my eyes on.

I hope you too can experience the magic of F&M.