From mouth-wateringly good cheeses, fennel salami, seasonal samphire, the perfect gooey chocolate brownie and liquid salted caramels… these are some of the highlights from our favourite West Country Delis
The Salt Pig, 6 North Street, Wareham, Dorset
This fab little deli on the main street in Wareham, just a short way from Corfe, has a good fresh fish counter with lobster and local crab, local mackerels and samphire in its fleetingly short season, Purbeck Ice creams and field fresh veg. It also has a café where you can have delicious and often imaginative lunches, snacks such as lamb stiffado pie or lobster salad. Eat in or take away. Using locally sourced food based around local seasonal produce. They also do wonderful and reasonably priced Sunday roasts. Open 7 days a week.
Turnbulls, 9 High Street, Shaftesbury, Dorset
One of our favourites, with a perfect selection of delicious cheeses. Their gooey gorganzola is legendary…catch it if you can. Owned by a true foodie and cheesemonger (who has organized the Shaftesbury Food Festival), Charlie Turnbull, there’s not much he doesn’t know about cheese. Other favourites are Montgomery, Sharpham plus Dorset Blue Vinney. But it’s not just for cheese fanatics, this deli also has a great selection of oils, charcuterie and yummy things. They do a hugely popular home catering service with particularly imaginative picnics.
Arch House Deli, Clifton Village, Bristol, Somerset
Winner of The Great Taste Awards UK Top Deli in 2011 this is a treasure trove of delicious bounty. Great lunch time salad boxes and stockists of gluten free and dairy free products too. Good outside catering service and if you’re peckish late morning check out their regular free tasting mornings where they showcase local products. On tap infused virgin olive oils and balsam vinegars (including a poplular Fig and Date Balsam) plus a great English truffle oil. Good online shop with some great hampers. Over 60 Artisan cheeses, including Stinking Bishop and Black Bomber. Stockists of Tom’s Pies from Devon and delicious cakes such as Apple and Geranium, with bread and pastries from Hobbs House bakery (see our piece on Top 10 Artisan Bakers) to Cheese wedding cakes – yes. This is an emporium of delights with a huge variety of secret treats. Good café too and well known for their delicious sandwiches. There's a cafe here and it's open 7 days a week.
Kittows of Fowey, Cornwall
This may be a butcher first and foremost (with meltingly good beef) but it’s also a wonderful deli in the chichi town of Fowey. Great crumbly short crust pastry. Pasties are hugely popular here too and they have a good range of gluten free products. The queues may be off putting in the summer but definitely worth the wait especially for one of their steak and stilton. Award winning sausages too and great seasonal game. Plus rather clever little hampers with all you need for a good breakfast especially if you're camping. Great cheeses including Cornish Blue voted Best Cheese in the World 2010! Awesome cakes (try the courgette and lemon cake and chocolate and beetroot). Fifth generation family-run butchers with their own farm, where many of the cakes and pastries are also made.
Williams Fish Market and Foodhall, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
This multi award winning deli seems to have it all, down to its renowned Oyster bar where you can get amorous with some oysters and champagne as you work out what to buy for dinner. Iberico ham carved from the bone, padron peppers and seafood platters from their Fish counter to take away. Great selection of cheese, salami and their vegetables and fruit from the Rungis market outside Paris. Fish and shellfish from all over the UK coast particularly Cornwall. They also stock Mendip Moments ice cream. This place is one of Rick Steins’ Food Heroes. Looks beautiful too and is the perfect eye candy for any food lover.
The Fine Cheese Company, Bath, Somerset
Although predominantly a “manna from heaven” cheese shop this is also a deli and just has to be visited. Boasts a huge range of artisan cheeses include Sharpham Brie, Colston Bassett Stilton, Stinking Bishop and so many more. We love the look of their stunning cheese wedding cakes – works of art and something that will actually get eaten (unlike the more trad option). Huge selection of cheese biscuits, including The Fine Cheese Company Red Hot Chilli or Fig Crackers. A range of Fruits For Cheese including Damson For Cheese and a good selection of sherry and port. Plus delicious truffle products, balsamic vinegar, pistachio oil, hot chocolate death by chocolate…oh and if you were undecided... Liquid Salted Caramels. This is one to remember for Christmas.
Photo: The Fine Cheese Company
Papadeli, Clifton, Bristol, Somerset
Perhaps it’s time to move to Clifton…as another great deli there and a firm favourite of ours is Papadeli where the choice of seriously good food is huge. With their “ready meals” to order and take away you can expect choices such as Chicken Tagine, Spanish Lamb with Paprika, Papadeli Fish Pie or their salads such as celeriac and lentils with hazelnut and mint. We also love their Papadeli picnic boxes. Their medium picnic box includes such things as fennel salami, Parma ham, beetroot mint and goat cheese salad, Hobbs house bread, brownie…makes us want to roll out the picnic blanket right now. Simple, fresh and truly delicious food here. They also have a great café at the RWA where the cakes are beyond great.
The Bird and Carter, 3 Fish Row, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Set in a beautiful building in the middle of Salisbury this is a small but great deli with a lovely airy café (upstairs and downstairs) Delicious filled paninis and zingy lemon polenta cake that has to be tried. It has a really good range of cheeses including Old Sarum and New Forest Blue. One of the best hams, the Spanish Pata Negra plus of course their great Wiltshire ham (cooked in demerara sugar and mustard) and tasty salami. Antipasti and some store cupboard essentials, plus their own range of chutneys and chill jam. Good deli platters too for the café . Seriously delicious coffee and rather sophisticated hot chocolates, plus chocolates from Purbeck company, Chococo. They also do a good outside catering service with wedding cheesecakes. Open seven days a week.
Chandos Deli, Roman Walk, Exeter, Devon & George Street, Bath, Somerset
We’ve had lots of recommendations for Chandos who have several branches in the South West. In particular their Exeter and the Bath branches are stand outs with us. Both have a great selection of wonderful antipasti, cheese, charcuterie and their award winning sandwiches. They also have a delicious choice of local produce to try once you’re there. The Exeter branch has a great place to sit outside where you can catch a few of the remaining rays, whilst tucking into one of their sandwiches. Expect lots of exciting products from around the world as well as local. Open seven days a week.
River Cottage Canteen and Deli, Axminster, Devon
At the front of the Axminster Canteen there’s now a delicious deli, with fresh perfect food to eat in or take away. Amazing pies, cheeses, quiches and cured meat, sausages to travel miles for and all as delicious and fresh as you would expect them to be. Lots of local seasonal delights to be had here. And there’s always the Canteen to experience some amazing food if you’ve got a more time where the emphasis is on showcasing the best local producers in the South West. Go try – you won’t be disappointed.
Bloomfields, Highworth, Wiltshire
Recently voted best deli in the South West by Olives Et Al 2012 and championed by the Guild of Fine Food. Most food comes within a 30-mile radius. Delicious cheeses including Barkham Blue and Oxford Blue. Great local honey and the freshest veg. Their Scotch eggs are hugely popular as is their “ Grumpy Mule” coffee. They’re also renowned for their freshly baked baguettes and sandwiches and great homemade cakes. Big supporters of Fairtrade .
Also worth a mention is Made By Bob in Cirencester and recent start up the Feisty Pheasant in Blandford. Delicious brie and crunchy salad sandwiches, cured meats, plus loads to taste whilst you’re waiting.