Admittedly, I hadn't been to Fremont's Fine Foods
before. Something about the thought of descending down into that unknown mineshaft of a shopping center at San Mateo and Lomas has kept me away. But no longer.
I had been wondering what Fremont's could offer that wasn't already covered by the likes of Ta Lin, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. The 4th generation family-run shop looks deceptively compact from the outside. Inside, you had better be ready to take some time to take it all in. It's a bit like making your way through a very tasty and colorful maze.
The UK selection is especially noteworthy. Get your sugar pigs here, folks. Ta Lin run out of Spotted Dick in a can? No problem, Fremont's has you covered. There's even a couple of small refrigerated sections featuring items like meat pies and a sampling of cheeses.
The stocking stuffer potential here is enormous. I walked out with a hodgepodge of items including some Jackson's of Piccadilly Orange Pekoe tea, two Joseph Schmidt champagne truffles, a bottle of Fentiman's ginger beer, a box of Dutch peppermints, a bag of Marich dark chocolate chipotle covered almonds, and a Violet Crumble ("Australia's Crisp Golden Honeycomb"). There's nothing violet about the Australian candy bar, but it does taste suspiciously like astronaut ice cream covered in chocolate.
Fremont's also offers a small lunch menu, so I piled a hearty albacore sandwich on with the rest of my booty. I recommend going for the homemade wheat bread.
If you're participating in the gift frenzy this year, Fremont's is a gold mine of fun edible and decorative items with the big bonus of being a long-time locally-owned business. Take some time to chat with the staff and you'll be just as likely to get a hot tip for Chinese food in San Francisco as find the perfect obscure ingredient for your holiday cooking. It's worth the descent into the shopping center unknown.
Fremont's Fine Foods
1100 San Mateo NE