The 50 Best Delicatessens
The finest purveyors of mouth-watering meats, artisan cheeses and perfect patisserie, selected by Rhiannon Batten
Saturday 09 August 2008
West Street Deli
With Bird & Carter and East Harnham Deli to choose from there's little chance of going hungry in the Salisbury area. The pick of this fine bunch, though, is the new kid on the block, West Street Deli, which opened last autumn and is packed with local produce. The range currently includes organic veg and salad from Sting's Lake House company, but the shop also buys in anything from courgettes to truffles from local gardeners with a glut and sells it on either as is or turned into delicious, home-made ready-meals.
Where: 5-7 West Street, Wilton, Salisbury, Wiltshire (01722 744566)
East Dulwich Deli
"Our food editor, Angela Boggiano (note the Italian ring to her name), swears by the excellent Italian produce here," says Matthew Drennan. "From tasty cheeses, salami and prosciutto to great pastas, oils and vinegars that you just can't get elsewhere, it's always packed to the rafters with fantastic ingredients to try out, and Tony, the owner, is always on hand with some good advice on gourmet and fresh products. It can get extremely busy on weekends and is at the more expensive end of things, but there's no denying the quality."
Where: 15 Lordship Lane, Dulwich, London SE22 (020-8693 2525)
Fine Foods of Yorkshire
The small market town of Easingwold is becoming an essential foodie pitstop. As well as Tea Hee cafe, which sells a fantastic selection of British cheeses alongside award-winning coffee and cakes, it's also home to this great all-round deli. Opened two years ago, Fine Foods of Yorkshire sells fresh fish (delivered daily) and a good choice of cheeses, artisan breads and homemade savouries and desserts. One of the owners was previously a butcher so the meat - much of it local - is top notch too.
Where: 107 Long Street, Easingwold, North Yorkshire (01347 823 606; www.finefoodsofyorkshire.com)
An outpost of foodie indulgence in a region where adding Marie Rose sauce to a meal is often seen as the height of decadence, this fast-growing deli and bakery now includes a butcher's shop and a home-baked pizza service. Though the deli only opened three years ago, it has already won a deserving following in the local area, with regulars making a worthwhile pilgrimage for its range of gourmet olives, gooey cheeses, luxury biscuits and homemade pies.
Where: 61-63 George Street, Whithorn, Dumfries & Galloway (01988 500329; www.ravenstonedeli.com)
The antithesis of some of the more chi-chi delis in this list, Belper's Fresh Basil is a no-nonsense sanctuary for good, honest food. Set in a former fire station, the decor in both the deli area and the attached "eaterie" leans towards the homely. Welcoming and inclusive, the store stocks an excellent range of produce, from home-cooked meats, fresh pâtes and over 60 varieties of cheese to fresh salads and marinated olives.
Where: 23 Strutt Street, Belper, Derbyshire (01773 828882; www.freshbasil.co.uk)
Narberth's answer to Dean & Deluca, this popular deli-cafe (with a sister branch in Aberystwyth) does a brisk trade in continental cupboard staples at reasonable prices. Though the deli's shelves support plenty of local produce, as the name suggests, there's a definite Spanish influence here. The tapas, especially, is becoming an institution and, if you don't want to eat in, you can buy everything from stuffed peppers to Serrano ham to go.
Where: 7 High Street, Narberth, Dyfed (01834 861491)
"There are lots of good things at this family-run deli," promises Rosie Sykes, who adds that you can spend hours looking for "tasty bits" - largely local, handmade produce from Devon. Alongside cheese, charcuterie, dips, pâtes, olives and antipasti, Red Earth has carved out a niche supplying "free-range" ready meals put together by hand in its nearby kitchen. There's also a cafe tucked away at the back of the deli.
Where: 1 Duke Street, Kingsbridge, Devon (01548 856100; www.redearthkitchen.co.uk)
"The owners of MacFarlane's, Angie and Angus, used to work with Hamish Johnson on nearby Northcote Road (which I also recommend highly) and they now run their own place," says Matthew. "It is mostly a fromagerie but it also has a really good deli counter with lots of meats and salamis, plus great pies, tarts, tortillas, sandwiches, fresh veg, organic milk, smoked fish, freezer section - the list goes on!"
Where: 48 Abbeville Road, Clapham, London SW4 (020-8673 5373)
This lovely organic deli, in the heart of the pretty estate village of Hovingham, stands out from the crowd for its ethical stance. Like its sister branch in Kirkbymoorside, everything it stocks is either organic, pesticide-free, naturally produced, locally made, fairly traded or minimally packaged - ideally the whole lot of them. The ethos even extends to the shopping baskets, which are handwoven from English willow.
Where: Park Street, Hovingham, North Yorkshire (0845 838 3459; www.mcconnellthomas.co.uk)
Stocking everything from cooked meats, pies and cheeses to teas, coffees and fresh local veg, this "age-old institution" (it's been operating as some sort of food shop for more than 150 years) is "full of good things", according to Rosie . "I grew up in this area and my childhood memory of Halseys is the smell of coffee and roasted ham." The owners also recently added a tearoom to the deli.
Where: Market Place, Hitchin, Hertfordshire (01462 432023)
Mortimer & Bennett
"The Mortimer in the name is Dan Mortimer, and while that might not ring many bells generally, Mr Mortimer is neck-high in foodie connections and well known to us here at delicious.," says Matthew, who adds that this also gives him the edge when trying to source "seriously obscure, or wittily unusual" products. "With a thriving online business and a good nose for quality produce this place has it covered."
Where: 33 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London W4 (020-8995 4145; www.mortimerandbennett.co.uk)
Daniela’s of Jesmond
The great thing about this largely Italian deli is its lack of airs and graces. Though there's plenty of posh nosh among the stock - from hams, olives and cheeses to hard-to-find Sardinian wines and gourmet ice cream - there's nothing stuffy about the service. Daniela's bakes its own ciabatta and focaccia in-house, but it'll happily serve up a no-nonsense stottie to anyone rolling into their sandwich bar a little the worse for wear.
Where: 5-7 Cavendish Road, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (0191-281 1142)
The battle to be Glasgow's best gourmet grocery just got a little tougher with the opening of Cafezique. Sister business to Delizique (and occupying the premises the deli left when it shifted next door), this works like an elaborate tasting room for the deli's wide range of produce. Adam, the deli's baker, makes "the most beautiful breads", says Rosie, "including an enormous stuffed loaf, made every day, which is then sliced off by the piece as sandwiches".
Where : 66 Hyndland Street, Glasgow (0141-339 2000; www.delizique.co.uk)
Nearly 10 years old now, this "lovely little shop has a great range of meats and cheeses and some splendid pasties and pies", says Rosie, though she warns that "at lunchtimes there's a queue right out the door". A quality grocer's with an emphasis on home-cooked produce and good service, it makes the most of a network of local suppliers. If you're feeling too lazy to cook it does a popular range of homemade ready meals.
Where: 88 Woollards Lane, Great Shelford, Cambridge (01223 846129; www.shelforddeli.co.uk)
This chic deli, patisserie and cafe in Clapham has a large, mouth-watering window display piled with cakes and tarts - each of which are made freshly in-house each day. The front area has floor-to-ceiling shelves groaning with olive oils and all manner of pasta (it's great fun to step up the ladder to find what you want), while the back part of the space operates as a sociable cafe, complete with communal tables.
Where: 160a Clapham High Street, London SW4 (020-7622 2288; www.escauk.com)
Yellow Door Deli
A spin-off from a restaurant of the same name, the Yellow Door Deli opened in Portadown a decade ago. Serving up freshly baked bread, olives and patisserie alongside gourmet ready-meals, the idea is that customers can shop here and enjoy the restaurant experience at home. With the original restaurant having been sold off in 2000, the company now focuses on the deli, with a second branch in Belfast now in operation, too.
Where: 74 Woodhouse Street, Portadown, Craigavon, Northern Ireland (02838 353528; www.yellowdoordeli.co.uk)
Leicester might not be up there with Bologna or Barcelona as a classic gourmet destination just yet, but that doesn't mean it's a culinary wasteland. For a start, it's home to Deli Flavour. Set in the Stoneygate area, you'll find everything here from sourdough bread and local Quenby Stilton to Spice-N- Tice curry kits. If you're looking for equipment, or gifts, the shop has also recently introduced a range of cookware.
Where: 27 Francis Street, Stoneygate, Leicester (0116-270 0771; www.deliflavour.net)
Riverford Goes to Town
Known for its organic veg and meat boxes, this is "the friendly high-street face of a tidy little empire in the West Country", according to Matthew. Strong relationships with producers, a focus on organic produce and a farm-to-plate ethos, with excellent control over the provenance of their produce, helps draw customers in at the company's first town-based outlet (it also runs several farm shops).
Where: 38 High St, Totnes, Devon (01803 863959; www.riverfordfarmshop.co.uk)
If there were awards for snootiness, Carluccio's would win hands down. If you like to be treated like a lesser mortal while you shop, this Manchester branch of the now-nationwide chain is the place for you. Aside from the surly service, though, it does have some decent, if pricey, stock. "From Tunbridge Wells to Manchester, Carluccio's is a fabulous nationwide Italian deli serving Mediterranean specialities and beautiful pralines," says Sophie Conran.
Where: 3 Hardman Square, Manchester (0161-839 0623; www.carluccios.com)
"This is just one example of a growing phenomenon - the deli-as-cafe-as-cookery-school-as-bistro-as-focal point..." advises Matthew. "With a well-stocked deli on the one hand and a fully functioning catering company operating out of the same kitchen on the other, the result is a fantastic range of prepared pastries and foods to take away, alongside the buzz of a lively kitchen. It's well respected locally and a real find for this part of south London."
Where: 16 Half Moon Lane, London SE24 (020-7733 8838; www.mimosafoods.com)
This long-established Scottish deli stocks a massive range of what it calls "sexy food". And, no, that doesn't mean mountains of asparagus and tanker-loads of oysters, just good, wholesome produce. All the usual suspects are here, from pasta to artisan olive oils, as well as a good range of local produce (don't miss the raspberries in season) and, if they don't have what you want, they'll order it in. If browsing leaves you feeling peckish, there's also a cafe next door.
Where: 28 Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, Perthshire (01786 833903; www.cliveramsay.com)
Bill’s Produce Store
"Bill's is a show and no mistake," promises Matthew. "The displays demonstrate a masterful grasp of texture and colour: black potatoes against white mushrooms; oranges sit with beetroots; and dried peppers, chillies and tomatoes hang from the ceiling. Part- greengrocery, part-restaurant, Bill's Lewes branch (there's another in Brighton) has expanded into the next-door space and now sells bacon, sausages, eggs and cheese."
Where: 56 Cliffe High Street, Lewes, East Sussex (01273 476918; www.billsproducestore.co.uk)
Deli on the Square
You might expect a town that boasts two Michelin-starred restaurants to have a decent food store and Ludlow does, in the shape of this traditional deli. Specialising in local, British and Continental cheeses (it stocks over 140 different varieties), it also sells mustards, meat, olive oils, vinegars as well as quirkier products like raspberry gin, smoked sea salt and Shropshire gravadlax.
Where: 4 Church Street, Ludlow, Shropshire (01584 877353; www.delionthesquare.co.uk)
"This is literally Italy in a shop," says Rosie of this long-established but up-to-the-minute Italian deli. "You'll find loads of really good freshly made pasta, with truffles and all sorts. It's been there forever and, after services in the nearby Italian church, it's full of expat Italians from Barnet or wherever coming in to get their fix."
Where: 167-169 Farringdon Road, London EC1 (020-7837 1586)
The Black Olive
With its beautiful seaside location, The Black Olive is both well known locally and attracts tourists from far afield, according to Matthew. "If you're embarking on a seaside jolly then this is a great place to stock up on provisions. Leaning unsurprisingly towards local seafood (one half of the dynamic duo behind this place is a fish merchant), there's an excellent range of everything else too. A relative newcomer, it's rapidly making a name for itself."
Where: 80A-80B High Street, Southwold, Suffolk (01502 722312)
This is "a feast for the eyes when you walk in", according to Rosie, and "one of those places you won't ever leave empty-handed". Known for its excellent seafood and cheese sections (there are 150-200 cheeses on offer at any one time), Sawers champions small local producers. Stock up here on infused vinegars, sun-dried tomatoes and local favourites such as Ditty's oatcakes, Sprott's dry-cured bacon and Tiernan Family Farm cheese.
Where: 7 Fountain Centre, College Street, Belfast (02890 322021)
Lucy's of Ambleside
"In essence, Lucy's is one person's interests in a diffusion range – Lucy's Specialist Grocers houses the deli, while there's a café and restaurant next door, an affiliated cookery school, a wine-bar franchise and a catering company," says Matthew. "The deli is still the main draw. Triple its original size, much of the produce is baked in the kitchen, with the emphasis on quality Cumbrian fare. You may come here to shop, but you'll likely stay to eat," he warns.
Where: Church Street, Ambleside, Cumbria (01539 432288; www.lucysofambleside.co.uk)
"Trinity Stores is the type of café-cum-deli that brings the village feel back to a suburban neighbourhood, or, in this case, Balham," statesMatthew. "It has open floor-to-ceiling shelves with all the foodie brands you'd expect and plenty more. There's an excellent selection of salads, tarts and quiches, plus the best scotch eggs and sausage rolls south of the river. Boxes of Amalfi lemons, wild rocket and freshly baked breads greet you as you enter."
Where: 5-6 Balham Station Road, London SW12 (020-8673 3773; www.trinitystores.co.uk)
The Merchant of Venice
This family-run business prides itself on its friendly, and very knowledgeable, service. Co-owner Lorenzo Maraspin used to run Gino's, a popular Italian restaurant in Bournemouth, and "99 per cent" of the stock here is Italian. In addition to stocking the usual deli staples, the Merchant of Venice also runs a fantastic, made-to-order sandwich bar, packed with exquisite ingredients. Afull catering service is also available.
Where: 489 Ringwood Road, Ferndown, Dorset (01202 855166; www.merchant-of-venice.co.uk)
The Corner on the Square
From local cheeses to carefully chosen wines, decent haggis to organic Highland wheat beer, the Corner on the Square may not have the largest stock of any UK deli but it does have some of the most eclectic. Big on local produce such as Highland herb hams, smoked salmon and heather honey, as well as seasonal specialities, the shop also does a nice line in cheeseboards and platters-to-go. There's also a small café, serving delicious home baking.
Where: 1 High Street, Beauly, Inverness-shire (01463 783000; www.corneronthesquare.co.uk)
A treasure trove of mouth-watering produce, both local and Continental, though this tightly packed traditional shop sells most deli favourites, it is best known for its wide range of cheeses and meats (the home-cured bacon has an especially dedicated following). Pleasant, helpful staff lend it a welcoming atmosphere and, if you don't make it to the shop itself, the owners also have an outlet in the town's market hall.
Where: 85Wylecop, Shrewsbury, Shropshire (01743 240180)
According to Matthew this "fantastic" Italian deli just got better, recently extending to create a restaurant and expanded wine range. "There's no shortage of delis in this part of south-west London but Valentina stands out for it's great service as well as the pride the owners clearly take in what they do. Expect the usual Italian fare, but better, and you'll soon be well on your way to living la dolce vita," he adds.
Where: 210Upper Richmond Road, East Sheen, London SW14 (020-8392 9127; www.valentinafinefoods.com)
"They're better known for their presence in Bristol, but there's something about the atmosphere in this Bath branch that draws me in," admits Matthew. "With such a variety ofWest Country produce available and some of the most discerning restaurants nearby (including Bath Priory and Lucknam Park), there's a real clamour for good food locally and you can get in on the action at Chandos. Whiling away some time browsing is time well spent here."
Where : 12 George Street, Bath (01225 314418; www.chandosdeli.com)
Head to this "fantastic" deli to stock up on "Eastern European meats, breads and pastries", advises Rosie. "I love all those crazy meats and cabbage in a jar," she adds. From buckwheat honey and dried mushrooms to authentic pierogi – ravioli-like parcels stuffed with cheese, cabbage or meat – this is a great place for Polish supplies. It's especially good on breads, with over 50 different types baked on the premises.
Where: 67-71 Manchester Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester (0161-881 7053; www.barbakan-deli.co.uk)
If you like your delis to come with an old-school flavour, Wally's is for you. One of Cardiff's oldest delis, in business for over 60 years, its shelves, counters and ceilings are packed with over 1,400 products, from German charcuterie to Italian panettone and South African biltong. "You name it, we've almost certainly got it" is their motto, which helps explain the shop's semi-religious following.
Where: 42-44 Royal Arcade, Cardiff (029 20229265; www.wallysdeli.co.uk)
"Well known for its upmarket, bistro-style restaurant and relaxed wine bar, this serious operation also extends to an expansive deli and foodstore," says Matthew. A recent refurb has given the place a welcome lift and, though the shop also operates an effective online store and a take-away counter, "browsing among the dry goods, charcuterie and fantastic breads and pastries is an absolute pleasure".
Where: 170 Great Portland Street, London W1 (020-7631 3131;www.villandry.com)
The Chef's Table
"Tetbury is something of a foodie mecca in the Cotswolds," says Matthew. "The Chef's Table is home to the former Michelinstarred chef Michael Bedford. Famed for its top-notch bistro, there's also a small café, cookery school, open kitchen and a notincidental deli. Prepared foods to take away dominate, local producers like Shipton Mill are given due prominence, and continental produce is well represented."
Where: 49 Long Street, Tetbury, Gloucestershire (01666 504466; www.thechefstable.co.uk)
Lewis & Cooper
From a humble grocer's store in the North Yorkshire market town of Northallerton, Lewis & Cooper has developed into one of the UK's most famous food emporiums. On a par with Selfridges food hall, it has a special deli department packed with high-quality local specialities as well as more cosmopolitan produce, including fine wines, continental cheeses and meats. It also has an excellent online store.
Where: 92 High Street, Northallerton (01609 772880; www.lewisandcooper.co.uk)
Valvona & Crolla
The fact that this Edinburgh institution is coming up to its 75th anniversary shows how good it is. The owners' extended family have branched out into cafés and restaurants over the past fewyears, but, for serious foodies, the original store is likely to remain the best, a tightly packed treasure trove of Italian oils, wines, cheeses, chocolates and much more.
Where: 19 Elm Row, Edinburgh (0131-556 6066; www.valvonacrolla.co.uk)
Opened just last autumn, this new deli-cum-cafe stocks all the products no self-respecting foodie's store cupboard should be without, aswell as a nice range of cookery books, culinary gifts and wines and has a friendly atmosphere. A word of warning, though: don't go when you're feeling hungry if you're trying to save money – it's very hard to leave empty-handed.
Where: 2-6 High St, Daventry, Northamptonshire (01327 312909; www.sadlersfinefoods.co.uk)
"In chi-chi Saffron Walden, this is the foodie destination," states Matthew. "A family business established for over 50 years, what Chris Chisnall doesn't know about cheese, quite frankly, isn't worth knowing. It stocks both continental and UK cheeses, plus all the accoutrements you can shake a fondue stick at. You can still get all your cold cuts and produce to round things off, but it's the cheeses I go there for."
Where: 3 Market Walk, Saffron Walden, Essex (01799 528239)
As the name might suggest, this celebrated Cumbrian store is best known for its range of cheeses. Both local and international tastes are catered for, with stock running a full and pungent spectrum from Tovey goat's cheese to Picos Blue. Traditional hand-patted butter, homemade cakes, chutneys and pickles are also part of the draw.
Where: 4 Market Street, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria (01524 273005; www.churchmousecheeses.com)
Melrose and Morgan
"This is a really beautiful shop full of home-made pies, salads, cakes andmany other things," says Rosie. With both a deli counter and an in-store kitchen rustling upwholesome ready-meals to take away, you'll find everything here from fruit and veg to chicken pies and whiffy cheeses – largely sourced from small, independent UKproducers. "It's friendly and approachable and they're happy to advise and help," she adds.
Where: 42 Gloucester Avenue, London NW1 (020-7722 0011; www.melroseandmorgan.com)
The Carmarthenshire town of Llandeilo isn't quite as stuck in the sticks as the rural location suggests. As well as being home to a branch of fashion store Toast and a glamorous new boutique hotel, it also boasts one of the best small delis in Wales. Originally a 17thcentury pub, this well-stocked foodie emporium has a wide range of local, British and European produce from pickles, cheeses and cold cuts to organic bread, herbs and – on Fridays – fresh fish.
Where: 3 Carmarthen Street, Llandeilo, Dyfed (01558 824609)
Keeping the discerning stomachs of Nottingham content, Delilah is an independent deli and wine merchants combined with a tapas-style food and coffee bar. The store's design is as sophisticated as the upmarket brands its stocks but don't be intimidated by the fancy-pants styling. The atmosphere here is welcoming and friendly and the range of produce on offer impressive.
Where : 15 Middle Pavement, Nottingham (0115-948 4461; www.delilahfinefoods.co.uk)
This large, split-level store brings the traditional deli up to date. Downstairs is a stylish shop selling quality staples – including local cheeses, charcuterie and freshly baked breads – while the upstairs is home to a swish dining area, the perfect setting for gorging on one of the store's delicious homemade sandwiches. Another thing that sets this deli apart is its sociable atmosphere – events, such as wine tastings, pull in yet more punters.
Where: 12 Stanley Street, Liverpool (0151-255 0808; www.delifonseca.co.uk)
This place, in Burnham Market, personifies the "small is beautiful" mantra, according to Matthew. "It's extremely small but absolutely stuffed to the gills and has a good deal of charm and character. It stocks well-sourced and carefully balanced produce, with much thought going into good provenance and food miles. The focus is on homemade jams and chutneys."
Where: The Green, Burnham Market, Norfolk (01328 738581; www.humble-pie.com)
"My assistant, Hattie, has to walk past the windows of this deli every day going into work and says it is torture not to stop and look at the fabulous, jewel-like windowdisplay," sympathises Sophie. "Hattie recommends their brownies and I love their fabulous meringues. They're the size of pillows, make great pavlovas and are fabulously colourful."
Where: 1Holland Street, Kensington, London W8 (020-7937 0003; www.ottolenghi.co.uk)
The owner of this Glasgow stalwart, Fiona Buchanan, trained withScottish chef Nick Nairn. But if that makes this foodie haven in Glasgow's West End sound fancy, it's much more down to earth than you might expect. Also offering a catering service, private dining and cookery workshops, Heart made its name selling gourmet ready-meals but it also stocks all the staples of a good deli.
Where: 380 Byres Road, Glasgow (0141-334 7626; www.heartbuchanan.co.uk)
Perns of Helmsley
Run by the Nicholson family for three generations, this former butcher's shop was bought by the owners of the Star Inn at Harome three years ago and now also stocks wines, salads, sandwiches and pickles. It's the meat that really sells Perns, though. You can pick up everything here from home-made pies and locally bred meat, game and poultry to readymeals, parfaits and terrines.
Where: Market Square, Helmsley, North Yorkshire (01439 770249; www.thestaratharome.co.uk)
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