When living abroad, it’s not always easy to find the things you want to eat or cook with…
There’s the supermarkets to get used to, learning what foods are available and which work as substitutes in your favourite recipes. It can be awkward to find that specific cut of meat you’re after (braising steak, I’m talking about you) and sometimes you’d give anything to have a bag of proper Jelly Babies.
Finding Home Comforts Abroad
In living so close to Munich, I’m lucky. There’s a whole range of British products available in the area. Cupboards are quite easily stocked with Billingtons Light Muscovado Sugar, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Heinz Baked Beans. You’ll even find the same curry paste as you’ll get in Asda, if you know where to look! That’s why I’ve got a whole series of posts dedicated to Home Comforts.
But there are still certain things you will just not find here in Germany, even in a city as diverse as Munich. I’m talking about big blocks of Waitrose Golden Marzipan, proper Prawn Cocktail crisps and delicious Warburtons Crumpets. That’s where online shopping comes in handy.
So I’m going to pause right here and let you know that the lovely Alex from British Corner Shop dropped me a message and asked if I’d like to receive a selection of their products. What Alex didn’t know was that I’m already a British Corner Shop customer! My plan was to write this post later in the year, after placing another order – but I’m taking this opportunity to share it now!
The First Shop with British Corner Shop
Back in November 2015 I wanted to get a box of treats to a friend in America – but with one thing and another, arranging the shipping was not going well. Namely, being at work when the shipping companies wanted me to be at home! Time for a different approach: Find an online retailer. The requirements? Sell Dolly Mixtures, have a good range of Twinings herbal tea and ship affordably to America.
British Corner Shop fit the bill. Their website looked good, was user friendly and had a great choice of stock. Happily, the customer service folk responded quickly to email queries too!
One point to mention though – the website has an unfortunate quirk if you prefer to shop using multiple browser tabs. Eh? It’s best to explain with an example: Open the Crackers-Biscuits category in one tab and Childrens-Cereals in the next. Go to the first tab and click through to the second page of the Crackers-Biscuits category – the website will pull the second page of Childrens-Cereals instead. It’s minor but worth knowing.
Shopping for Myself from Germany
Roll foward to moving out to Germany and by some wonder of good fortune, they started stocking Waitrose products! I was embarrassingly excited about that! But not so embarrassed that I wouldn’t tell you. That first order contained all sorts of bits, including Waitrose Self Raising Flour, chocolatey Bourbon Creams and Paxo Stuffing (a roast dinner essential!).
Shopping remained easy and straight forward, with good category organisation. A great little bar indicator showed just how full the box was and what the shipping costs would be. And when it arrived? The order was really well packed, with loads of bubble wrap protecting everything.
Nudge forward again to Christmas shopping and I wanted the Fabulously Fox’s biscuit selection for the other half. It’s a bit of a tradition. Whilst transit damage wasn’t a concern, some reassurance was needed that products ordered in late October wouldn’t be out of date come January. As calling from abroad can be a pain, I used the Live Chat feature on their website. Honestly, I love a Live Chat box. Typing to someone can be so much easier than talking, especially when you’re abroad!
The lovely Customer Service lady actually got up and went to the warehouse to check Use By dates! Now here’s the thing – I’d priced up a similar basket at a different company, but their shopping experience wasn’t as sleek and when asking the same questions, the answers weren’t overly reassuring. So whilst it cost only a little more to buy from British Corner Shop, I decided it was worth it.
Choosing an Online British Food Store
Obviously I’ve been happy using British Corner Shop. I’ve felt valued as a customer and ultimately trusted them to deliver. For me though, I just genuinely value a great customer experience and tend to stick with companies that get it right.
I’ll address the elephant in the blog post too; Prices. I don’t expect supermarket prices – they’re not Asda – but at the same time I’m prepared to pay a little more than supermarket RRP for the very specific things I want. When living abroad, they’re luxury items and I treat them as such. Being able to get certain Waitrose things in Germany? Worth it.
As for shipping? It is what it is. If you’ve ever tried to send things from the UK abroad, you’ll know pricing isn’t cheap. It cost me €35 to send a 2kg box to America from Germany! Shipping can often cost significantly more than the value of items, which is why the clearly identified shipping costs are so important.
So that’s why I said yes to Alex’s offer and I couldn’t be more happy that my first collaboration happens to come from a company I like and already use. All the pictures in this post have come directly from the review shipment she put together for me.
Find Out More
Bristol based British Corner Shop has been in business since 1999 and recently celebrated their 18th birthday!
Our website offers over 10,000 British grocery products from adored UK brands, ready to be shipped to you, wherever you are in the world. | British Corner Shop
They also stock a range of gift-perfect Brit Kits. Pre-chosen items in easy to purchase boxes – just pick one, add shipping and buy! It makes foodie gift shopping for those abroad that bit easier. And who doesn’t like surprise foodie gift deliveries?
Disclosure: British Corner Shop provided me with a selection of products free of charge, in exchange for a fair and honest representation of the items supplied. All experiences and opinions given are my own and have not been influenced by this exchange.