I hate clothes shopping, loathe shoe shopping and detest Christmas shopping.
But food shopping? I love it.
At the moment my food shopping is done mostly online which helps prevent me from spending too much and although I visit farm shops for my fruit and veg I do miss walking around the supermarket and seeing all the lovely things there are to take home and cook. Waitrose is my favourite supermarket. Posh and pricey you might say, but I say excellent quality products, helpful, well-informed staff and uncluttered aisles.
From today, however, I have a new favourite supermarket. Whole Foods Market , Cheltenham.
Whole Foods is a Texas based chain of organic supermarkets which now has several stores in the UK. Most are in London but there is also one in Glasgow and as of this month one in Cheltenham. This is lucky for me as Cheltenham is only 3 junctions down the M5 from Worcester - a half hour journey.
If you like good food and enjoy food shopping then you will love Whole Foods, but be warned, if you thought Waitrose was expensive.... well...let's just say in America Whole Foods is sometimes known as Whole Paycheck.
The fruit and vegetables looked absolutely stunning. Much attention has been paid to how the produce is displayed. I was very tempted by almost everything I saw.
I examined the fresh turmeric (the knobbly little tubers next to the yellow carrots), the habanero chillies the graffiti aubergines,
the stripy beetroot,
I examined the nut butter machines where you can grind your own peanut or almond butters.
I exclaimed over the bowls of spices laid out like some Middle Eastern market. Here you can by as much or as little as you like. Little china scoops are provided along with small plastic bags. I chose the zatar which is sumac, thyme and sesame -two bowls behind the cumin powder.
Next I had a look at the oil cans. Here you can buy a bottle and fill it from the cans and then when it's empty you can bring it back and refill it. You can do the same with beer, cider and wine.
Fabulous looking dairy produce. I bought a tub of gorgonzola dolce which was on sale. The extremely helpful and knowledgeable cheese chap gave me some to taste before scooping it out from a large whole cheese and telling me to let it come to room temperature before serving.
These rolled pork shoulders looked wonderful and I noted they were cheaper then Waitrose. I wanted something quick to cook for supper tonight so I went for steak instead -a rare treat.
I didn't buy cookies from the cookie bar,
or cupcakes, or macarons (they get everywhere),
I came away from Whole Foods seriously impressed with the look of the place, the quality and choice of the food, but also with the excellence of the staff who were friendly and informed.
I also came away quite a bit poorer.
I'm dying to go back though. Soon.