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Mar 21, 2008 12:47 PM

Return to Wholefoods - Some Observations

Figuring that it would be quiet on the eve of Easter weekend, I visited Wholefoods yesterday afternoon for the second time, my first visit having been a cursory one last summer. I spent a leisurely two hours wandering up and down the aisles taking in the vast array of product lines (and also picking up items to the tune of £45, you always spend more there than you intend to :-)). And have to say that I am impressed with what's on offer. As a lover of Japanese ingredients, I was pleased to find mizuna in the fruit and veg section and also was surprised to see fresh nameko mushrooms in the same section, part of a range of oriental mushrooms from a producer in the south of England, Fabulous Fungus I think is the name of the company.

Other items that caught my eye or ended up in my shopping basket:

* Honeycomb ice cream by Rocombe. Outstanding, I ate the whole tub yesterday evening. Checked out their website, they're based in Devon, I hadn't come across their products before.

* Onion Soup with Hambledon Ale and Mustard by the Yorkshire Provender. Wonderfully tasty soup especially on a cold wintery evening like we're having at the moment.

* Acetaia Dodi balsamic dressing. I have bought outstanding balsamic vinegar by these people before in Italy and via, unfortunately WF only carries a limited selection of their range at the lower end although I bet that the quality would still be good athough not the syrupy gloopy stuff I favour.

* Brazilian passion fruit pulp sachets. This was in the freezer section, I have very fond memories of fruit juices and smoothies in Brazil so bought a packet and will put to use at some point in a home made smoothie.

* Sesame semolina and raisin bread. Looked great and reminded me of a favourite bread from Manhattan days, I will buy a loaf next time I am there, I already had a daily bread supply.

* Fresh Juices. I bought 500ml blood orange and it's delicious.

* Sabores Aztecas range. We lament the fact that London is so woeful for Mexican fare but I am reliably informed that Mexican food is the section largest ethnic food type in London supermarkets, go figure. Unsurprisingly WF has a better selection than most, I picked up jars of nopales (cactus shoots) and pico de gallo (tomato condiment) by this company which is Mexico based but whose products I haven't encountered before. I look forward to trying them.

* La Mortuacienne Orangeade. Wonderful stuff from a range that also includes lemonade (clear and pink), mandarin, grapefruit.

* Wine shop. As has been noted before on the board, it's an impressive selection. I didn't get time to study the selections too closely but I noted some nice options including a £17 rioja called Padus (by a producer called Palacios Duque) which is one of my favourites from recent months. Also sampled some good Argentinian pinot noir which was selling for £7.99 per bottle. I will go back and examine more closely. Also noted that they have one sake on offer, I will give it a go at some point.

Would be interested to hear from other hounds about WF (London) products/ranges that have impressed them.

Also has anyone tried the sushi bar on the 1st floor?

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  1. I haven't made it there yet as it's a part of town I rarely go to but I may have to make a special trip after that report! I fear for my bank balance though...

    I'm surprised you haven't come across Rocombe ice-cream before - it's sold in quite a few places now.

    On the wine front, if you're ever in South London, Green and Blue in Clapham and East Dulwich is well worth a visit. I'm keen to get along to one of their wine tastings, and I'm told they do good food too.

    7 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      Yep. Rocombe are good - as are Yorkshire Provender (which as I'm almost a Lancastrian that's hard to acknowledge :-0

      1. re: Harters

        Haha! I'm from Yorkshire, but I haven't heard of this company. Is it widely available?

        1. re: greedygirl

          john, you're outnumbered, i'm also a tyke as you know!! i thought that the war of the roses finished over 500 years ago though :-) i will also admit to liking the odd pint of Boddies, well I used to like it until it became hard to find a good pint of the stuff.

          here's the website, not sure where it's available but you could send them an e-mail to find out.

          1. re: greedygirl

            I'm sure I've seen it in my local Sainsbury - in the little section where they have really nice, really expensive things - "special selection" or something.

            And please note I said "almost" a Lancastrian. I am a proud Cestrian born, bred and still living in the county. But friends say that's just a Lancastrian trying to be posh. They may have a point.....


            1. re: Harters

              I won't hold it against you John - I am after all practically married to a Mancunian (in fact we're going to be in your home town next weekend - where should we eat?).

              Oonth - I seem to recall that you're from Sheffield. Is that right? I was brought up there, in Stannington.

              1. re: greedygirl


                There's few recent Manc related threads for you to skim through. If you can't find anything, suggest you post a "reccs request" thread, so we don't hi-jack oonth's thread too much.


        2. re: greedygirl

          Thanks for the Green and Blue tip, I will give it a go at some point.

          As for WF, yes expensive but my philosophy on all fancy food shops these days is that you've got to switch into old woman mode and seek out the value options, they do exist. Plus the odd luxury never did anybody any harm :-)

        3. Forgot to mention one other thing, just outside the cheese shop they have a wonderful range of savoury jellies which I am a big fan of as an accompaniment to cheese, cold cuts, grilled meats etc. I almost bought a jar of tamarind/star anise jelly but decided that my basket was already full enough so next visit. Waitrose also have nice selections by Audrey Baxter, I like the chilli jelly a lot.

          1. OK... now I will definitely have to go see the store. That blood orange juice sounds terrific. I will need a van to get me back home. What I've seen of Mexican ingredients in supermarkets here is all that awful El Paso stuff, and you're right that they stock a wide variety of products. Someone is making a lot of fajitas! My favorite salsa was Paul Newman's, but I haven't seen that as yet.