What souvenir should I ask for from Scotland/England?
December 12, 2004 8:30 PM   Subscribe

SouvenirFilter: Sister-in-law and her husband are going to Scotland/England for a week. They asked what should they bring us (me and wife) back? any cool suggestions? Less then $10US and easy to find, but the more odd the better.
posted by ShawnString to Travel & Transportation around Scotland (14 answers total)
How about some delicious haggis?
posted by interrobang at 8:41 PM on December 12, 2004

Haggis is vile.

What you want is some English candies that are usually hard as hell to find in Canada-- I can't imagine how difficult they'd be to find in the USA.

We're talking things like Refreshers, Sherbet Fountains, and oh yes, Buck's Fizz. How about a bottle of Barley Squash (tastes much better than it sounds).
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:38 PM on December 12, 2004

Delicious and haggis don't belong in the same sentence. I've been over there, and $10 won't get ya much. Just let them use their discretion when they get there.
posted by Doohickie at 9:39 PM on December 12, 2004

Yeah, I was thinking candy too. English Cadbury chocolate is finer than the North American variety. Either milk chocolate or Caramello.
posted by Doohickie at 9:40 PM on December 12, 2004

If they are going to Scotland then Lees macaroon bars and tablet are the simple things to get.
Maybe even some Edinburgh rock. ( candy not actual rock )
posted by stuartmm at 10:52 PM on December 12, 2004

Single malt Scotch or chocolate.
posted by codeofconduct at 11:56 PM on December 12, 2004

Shortbread cookies.
posted by grouse at 1:38 AM on December 13, 2004

Best answer: Generally speaking, I don't think the UK is really a place you go to shop, even for novelty items. Everything here is 50-100% more expensive than in the US, and there are very few things here you can't get in the US.

That said, your best bet for novelty items is to have your cousins stop by a big grocery store and browse.

Personally, I must be an American philistine because I don't especially like Cadbury. However,the Cadbury Flake bar is something you can't get in the US.

Irn Bru is a unique Scottish soda. I've been told it tastes horrible if you didn't grow up on it, but you do want odd things, so...

They sell "Mushy Peas" in cans here. That's what it says on the can: "Mushy Peas." They seem to think this is a good thing.

Peanuts are known as "Roasted Monkey Nuts." Who wouldn't want a bag filled with Roasted Monkey Nuts? (I have a photo of Roasted Monkey Nuts at my blog, if you're curious. Self-link, obviously.)
posted by yankeefog at 1:53 AM on December 13, 2004

Less than $10US will not get you much in the UK.

A Gallon of Petrol!
A jar of Marmite (for your toast)
A Bowyers Pork Pie. God, I'd kill for a Bowyers Pork Pie right now.
A copy of the Sunday Sport Newsaper (just to be amazed at how many breasts can be displayed in a mainstream newspaper)
A jar of Branston Pickle (to go with that Pork Pie)
A Cadbury's StarBar, if they can find one.
A can of Irn Bru
posted by BadSeamus at 2:07 AM on December 13, 2004

Best answer: I was going to suggest Branston Pickle, but BadSeamus beat me to it. Truly the best condiment ever, and I know my condiments.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:02 AM on December 13, 2004

Anything chocolate. IIRC, the process that they use in the UK to make chocolate candy bars is different than what they use in the US. Every time I went to Scotland this year, my coworkers would ask me to bring them back some (specifically, the really large KitKat bars).

I'm also a fan of Irn Bru. It's not great straight, but if you mix it 50/50 with fresh orange juice, it's pretty good. (And yes, I recognize that many of the Scots out there will want to lynch me for that recommendation, but I really do like it!) The owner of The Grange in St. Andrews got me hooked on it...

Shortbread is abundant, and really good. Bonus that you can usually get it in small tins that have Scot/UK themes on them. It's a good little reminder to have around afterwards.

Whisky or Scotch, of course, but not for USD$10 or less.

And don't listen to the naysayers above: Haggis is great. But no chance of bringing it back in someone luggage!
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:20 AM on December 13, 2004

I have had my fair share of bizarre and disgusting British food but I actually enjoy haggis. If the idea is too revolting to you, try a vegetarian haggis first, and then you can move on to the real thing!
posted by grouse at 6:58 AM on December 13, 2004

Forget haggis. Black pudding is where it's at. And maybe a gallon of real ale such as Theakston Old Peculiar (although I'm not sure how well it would travel...)
posted by NeonSurge at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2004

NotMyselfRightNow is right--or so I've been told. Allegedly, American chocolate bars have a higher wax content (!). Maybe it's the power of suggestion, but I would swear that a UK KitKat bar tastes slightly different than a US KitKat Bar. Maybe your cousins could bring bring back some UK versions of American candy bars and you can have a taste test.

Oh, also, just occurred to me: if your favorite currently-living author is British, it's possible that their latest book is out now in the UK and not yet available in the US. I think Terry Pratchett's latest came out first here, for example.

The UK text of the Harry Potter books is slightly different than the US text--British words like "jumper" are changed to "sweater" and so forth. The first book was "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in the UK, and "...the Sorcerer's Stone" in the US. I personally wouldn't find this the most exciting souvenir, but YMMV.

Your in-laws should also take a look at the magazine rack and the comic stand of a UK bookstore. Private Eye and Beano are two distinctively British publications, and they might find others.
posted by yankeefog at 7:30 AM on December 13, 2004

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