Here at Rocket we celebrate most occasions with good food, and Christmas is the best of them all, a time when our favourite food shops fill to the brim with ornate displays of festive favourites that remind us what makes this time of year so special. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite food shops and destinations in London, plus some insider tips on some of their best products, whether you’re looking for the perfect foodie gift or curating an indulgent shopping list for holiday celebrations.
Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest markets in London. From well-known cheesemongers and butchers to fresh British produce and purveyors of fine wine, this massive food hall with over a hundred stalls seems to have it all. Come here for the colourful variety of gourmet items from across the world and stay for the unique food and dining experience. No wonder Borough Market continues to be a crowd-favourite for decades, whatever the season and whether you’re a local or not.
Rocket tip: Head to Brindisa for the finest Spanish charcuterie like their jamón iberico de bellota, which they slice by hand daily so you get the freshest cuts. Last-minute gifting? Look for Chocolate Amatller on their shelves, a luxury Barcelonian brand with the most eye-catching packaging. We’re partial to its 80% Cacao Sal de Mar.
Fitz Fine Foods is not your ordinary purveyor. Their little stall sells foraged fare from Kent as well as homemade pâtés, terrines, confits and condiments from the owner’s estates in France and England. Their wide range of mustards is also a sight to behold—our favourite being their wild garlic mustard.
And of course we can’t forget Neal’s Yard Dairy, a Borough Market favourite and Rocket supplier for years. Founded in Covent Garden in 1979, they’re known for their aged cheeses, which ripen in nearby maturing rooms beneath the brick railway arches of Bermondsey. Don’t forget to grab some of their prized Stichelton while you’re there – no Christmas cheese board is complete without it! If you’re looking for a deeply savoury firm cheese, the Isle of Mull cheddar is a proudly Scottish cheese that has a distinctive zesty and boozy goodness that sets itself apart from cheddars.
Much to the delight of its patrons from all over, Eataly recently opened its doors in London earlier this year. Known to be the largest Italian food market and restaurant concept in the world, the 42,000 square-foot space in Broadgate Circle houses four eateries and a vibrant selection of retailers that offer high-quality authentic Italian products including cheese, cold meats, freshly made pasta, wine, olive oil, chocolate and sweets, and so much more.
Rocket tip: Eataly has partnered with Natoora to provide the best seasonal products from selected farmers and producers. You can find exotic Italian fruit and vegetables on the first floor, like the melograni di sicilia, a type of Italian pomegranate that’s sweet and syrupy and ripened fully on the tree. Besides their broad Salumi e Formaggi selection, Eataly also prides itself in having an in-house butcher. Look for the La Macelleria counter where you can shop for a wide range of ethically farmed and sustainably sourced meat from La Granda, an association of breeders from Italy.
Panzer’s has been a neighbourhood mainstay in St. John’s Wood since 1944, and it’s easy to see why. The delicatessen is a go-to for its wide array of delicious gourmet items like smoked salmon as well as freshly baked bread. Panzer’s offers gorgeous seasonal hampers too, perfect for your upcoming holiday gifting and festive parties.
Rocket tip: Anyone who’s a regular at Panzer’s will know that you can’t leave the deli without purchasing their famous Scottish smoked salmon, which they have been hand-slicing on site since 1944. Available in three different kinds—dry, medium, and oily—their smoked salmon is dubbed some of the best in London. Be sure to have it with one of their artisan bagels, made from scratch daily, and their silky-smooth homemade cream cheese sold by the tub. If you want to avoid the Christmas rush, Panzer’s delivers daily to select areas around London.
With over 10 branches across West and Central London, Bayley & Sage has become a household name for people who are fortunate enough to have one in their neighbourhood. They’re popular for their fresh fruits and vegetables, local cheese selection, charcuterie from the UK and Europe, as well as their delicious seasonal dishes prepared in their kitchens. This holiday season, they’re offering special seasonal gift hampers, ready-made party food, and sweet treats like decadent mince pies.
Rocket tip: Don’t miss Bayley & Sage’s wide variety of award-winning British cheese such as the Berkswell, also known as the champion of the 2017 Artisan Cheese Awards. The cheese is made using milk from Friesland ewes, which are born and bred at Ram Hall Farm in Berkswell, Warwickshire. With a delightfully complex flavour that has hints of sweet caramel and pineapple, it’s no surprise the firm cheese has been recognised as such. We also recommend trying their range of cheeses from Sharpham Dairy specifically the brie, which was the winner of the 2019 Food & Drink Devon Awards.
Unlike many places in London, Fortnum & Mason begin to deck their halls as early as July in preparation for the busy festive season. In addition to their magnificent Christmas Shop in Piccadilly, Fortnum & Mason is also especially known for their seasonal offerings like Christmas biscuits, tea, and fruit preserves, among others.
Rocket tip: Tea lovers will have a field day thanks to the various loose-leaf teas here—one of our favourites is their Japanese Sencha, a delicate and aromatic ‘first flush’ green tea, which is only grown during the spring in Japan’s mountainous Shizuoka prefecture. For preserves, the sublimely citrusy Sir Nigel’s marmalade is your best bet. Named after 1920s actor Sir Nigel Playfair, the fruity concoction is an ode to his sweet childhood.
Then find your way to 45 Jermyn Street, an elegant restaurant at the back of Fortnum’s. With all that shopping under your belt, reward yourself with a champagne cocktail or one of their famous Bloody Marys (they have over five to choose from) and some of their luxurious scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or caviar – it is Christmas after all!