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
The Courtyard
1100 San Mateo NE
792-3463

Views: 10

Comment by Adelita on November 29, 2007 at 9:05am
Ah, Edith, I love Fremont's! Originally it was in Coronado Mall close to where Vip's Big Boy used to be. I remember going with my dad, who was quite to gourmet cook. My sister and I would stroll up and down the aisles looking at all the exotic food. He'd always let us buy a tin of hard candies.

They moved to my neck of the woods on Fourth Street and Ranchitos. That's where I fell in love with their boxed lunches. I like the chicken salad on whole wheat!

I recently went to Fremont's (on my way to Mama's Minerals) and it took me waaaay back to when I was a kid. I saw all of my dad's favorite delicacies and all my favorite candies!
Comment by NMBosque on November 29, 2007 at 11:01am
If you're organizing a casual group or outing, their boxed lunches are wonderful! Call or fax in the order the day before, be sure to check the dessert box for chocolate mousse on the form, then pick them up at the appointed time.
Comment by W2M on November 29, 2007 at 11:34am
Sweet heaven !
did they have Schwepps BItter Lemon or dare I ask? STrongBow Cider?
Comment by Edith Grove on November 29, 2007 at 12:10pm
Not sure about the Bitter Lemon, but they don't stock any alcoholic beverages so you're out of luck on the Strongbow. I would like to know where in town to pick up some good English cider...you can get K at Jubilation, but I'd love to have more options.
Comment by Jack S on November 29, 2007 at 12:22pm
How about McVittie's ?
Comment by Eckleburg and Grumblecake on November 29, 2007 at 1:13pm
Fremont's has yummy clotted cream and lemon curd for you scones, too!
Comment by Aly Sanchez on November 29, 2007 at 5:50pm
Fremont's also has the "Better Than Bullion" stock base that I love. For those of you that are too lazy to make your stocks from scratch but too much of a foodie to like bullion, this is an easy to use and great tasting option. It's the type of paste base that many restaurants use.

Unlike grocery stores, which *may* carry chicken and beef versions, Freemont's has a full line - even lobster base.
Comment by Aly Sanchez on November 29, 2007 at 5:52pm
Quick addition... The Better Than Bouillon line also includes a fantastic vegetarian base - not the watery bleck you find in most cans and boxes. Here's a look at the line: http://www.amazon.com/s.html?ie=UTF8&node=3580501&brand=Better%20Than%20Bouillon.
Comment by intobliss on December 3, 2007 at 6:53pm
(((shudders))) oh yes...the chocolate mousse!

I've followed Fremonts around for its last four locations and it was well worth keeping up with them.

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