BETHEL, Conn. -- Whether homesick or stocking up before a winter exodus to Florida, British natives flock to UK Gourmet In Bethel, especially around the holidays.
From Christmas cakes, puddings and pies, to an entire refrigerator devoted to cheeses from the British Isles, the shop carries an array of food, many staples, from the British Isles.
"The majority of customers are from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales," said Lisa Whitmore.
The Bethel native and husband Nigel Whitmore, of Gloucester, England, opened their store in Newtown in 2003. The store relocated to Bethel a couple of years ago.
"We 're definitely a destination. We pride ourselves on having a huge variety of things. You might find a British store, but (one) with a small selection. We have all the staples from across the pond."
"People travel to come see us. Snowbirds come on their route to Florida and we've had people come from as far away as Albany. They travel hours here. Some come then spend the weekend in other parts of Connecticut," said Lisa.
The Bethel location is two-and-a-half times the size of the old store.
"We love our extra room," she said. "We have the cheeses and a huge freezer with meat pies, bacon, bangers, and pasties, among items."
The holiday cakes are popular, especially the Christmas cake, a fruitcake with icing and marzipan.
"There's tons of Christmas chocolate. The holiday packages are selection boxes of the popular chocolate bars from over there, not the American versions," Lisa said.
The store also carries lots of Indian curries.
"We have a cheese with curry in it and a chocolate bar that has curry." The cuisine among British is popular — similar to how Mexican food is popular among Americans, Lisa said.
"It's nice because the world is getting so much smaller. It's international. Curry even surpasses fish and chips in (England). Over there you get fish and curry."
UK Gourmet is located at 78 Stony Hill Road (Route 6), Bethel.
To contact the store, call 203-628-7462. Email Lisa Whitmore at Lisa@UKGourmet.US. Click here for the store website.
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