From the honkiest cheese to the best bagels and Italian sausages you just can’t nduja without

It’s not all about eating out in restaurants, you know, and we reckon you lot know your way around a kitchen. We’re guessing your madras is monumental and your Yorkshire puddings make Aunt Bessie spit with envy.

Apart from our wit and occasional foray into culture and politics, you read Confidential because you like reading about food and booze and want to know where to spend your hard-earned money. But where should you go to buy the best ingredients? Sometimes supermarkets just don’t cut it with their tasteless tomatoes and their overpriced spices, so below we’ve rounded up the best food and drink shops in and around Greater Manchester.

We’re talking about the kind of places which sell harder to find ingredients from the most interesting producers across the world, so that you may create a meal fit for a Masterchef final. Food shopping doesn’t get any better than this.

Cheese Hamlet

What is it? A family run, independent, multi-award winning cheese specialist established in 1960.

What does it sell? Their list of cheeses is enormous and includes varieties from around the world as well as those made with milk from cows, goats, ewes. As well as cheese you’ll find matching condiments such as pickles, sauces, jellies, mustards, crackers and biscuits. They also offer a range of cheese-heavy hampers.

Where? Cheese Hamlet has branches in Didsbury village and in Alderley Edge

If you like this: Try the Cheese Stall in Bury and Bolton Markets or Granthams Fine Food in Alderley Edge

Cheese Hamlet 2
Cheese Hamlet - Cheesey heaven

Unicorn Grocery

What is it? Long-standing vegan paradise

What does it sell? This co-operative grocery makes you feel wholesome just by walking inside it. It sells plant based organic produce and their approach of direct purchasing in bulk quantities and repackaging into smaller retail-sized packages on the premises, leads to reasonably competitive pricing. As well as dry goods such as pulses, grains, nuts, dried fruits and spices, you’ll find around seventy lines of organic fruit and vegetables grown, where possible, in the North West. There’s also a decent range of organic beer and wine, fresh organic bread and an ever-expanding vegetarian deli counter.

Where? Unicorn Grocery 89 Albany Rd, Chorlton, M21 0BN

If you like this: Try the 8th Day Co-operative on Oxford Road or The Herbivore in Stockport

Unicorn Exterior
Unicorn - Chorlton's wholesome organic grocery unicorn


What is it? Hipster bakery

What does it sell? Pollen offer a range of only five different breads: their signature loaf being the 28 hour sour, made with a blend of white flour, wholemeal flour and rye which are added for nutritional value and flavour. The others include Pollen rye made with 20% rye flour and added soaked cracked rye to give it a little bit of texture; One with oat porridge that’s fluffy and moist; Five seed sour and 100% Danish style rye bread. They also have a range of slow-proved croissant and pastries and introduce a different flavour cruffin every Saturday – get there early if you want to try these.

Where? It’s not easy to find, being in an archway behind Piccadilly train station. Pollen Bakery, 2 Sheffield St, M1 2ND. Tel: 0161 273 3171 Follow the queue.

If you like this: Try Trove Bakery and Cafe in Levenshulme or Campanio Bakery in Ancoats or at Victoria train station.

2017 Pollen Owners
The team from Pollen


What is it? Italian delicatessen, mozzarella bar and restaurant

What does it sell? Much of the goodies here have been specially imported from Campania by owner Maurizio Cecco. They specialise in different types of the best quality buffalo mozzarella – some have even been produced by Maurizio’s own brother. You’ll also find excellent quality pasta including some lesser known varieties as well as cured meats and interesting tins, bottles and jars. They fill fresh canoli and sweet pastries with flavoured custards every day and display them in piles on top of the chilled cabinet. You’ll also find good Italian wines imported from lesser known vineyards.

Where? They also have a restaurant on John Dalton Street, but Salvi’s deli is on the first floor of 22b, The Corn Exchange, Corporation St, M4 3TR

If you like this: Try Roma Caffé and deli in Whitefield or Casa Italia in Didsbury.

20172806 Salvis Deli
Salvi's sell Italian produce imported from Campania

Shefa Mehadrin

What is it? A kosher supermarket, deli, butchery and fishmonger

What does it sell? It stocks a wide range of kosher products including fresh meat and fish, general groceries, dried goods, fresh and frozen food. In the deli counter you’ll find an extensive range of freshly made salads, sides, dips and fried foods. This is the kind of place where you’ll find all the ingredients to make a proper Jewish chicken soup such as good boiling hens as well as seasonings and lockshen noodles. They’re closed on Friday afternoons and Saturday’s for the Sabbath as well as all Jewish holy days.

Where? Shefa Mehadrin, 49 Bury New Road, Prestwich.

If you like this: Visit Halpern’s Kosher Supermarket, Salford or State Fayre Deli and Bakery in Crumpsall

Shefa Mehadrin 13001290 698518786917687 6631289808335076716 N
Shefa Mehadrin - Kosher foods galore

READ: 10 Manchester restaurants the locals don't want you to know about

Venus Foods

What is it? Turkish bakery, butcher and Middle Eastern supermarket

What does it sell? Huge Turkish pide bread and freshly made baklava are available from the bakery section. There’s a wide range of Halal meat and poultry in the butchery counter. You’ll find fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs piled high as well as Middle Eastern dairy produce and pastry. The shelves are piled high with reasonably priced packets of spices, grains, dried herbs, dried pulses, bottles of oil, as well as tins of vine leaves, marinated beans and other mezze items.

Where? Venus Foods, 45-49 Anson Road, Rusholme, M14 5DE

If you like this: then pop into the shop at the front of Comptoir, Spinningfields or Worldwide Foods in Rusholme or Longsight.

Venus Foods Manchester
Venus Foods for Middle Eastern food

Cheshire Smokehouse

What is it? Smokery with on-site bakery section, butchers shop and wine area. There’s also a specialist deli and an on-site café.

What does it sell? You’ll find everything in this food emporium including a range of olives and snacks (including their smoked nuts), condiments, sauces and seasonings. Huge display fridges span the shop and are filled with various types of home smoked meat and fish, as well as ready meals prepared on site and fresh dips and sauces. Their on-site bakery produces a daily range of breads, biscuits, savouries and cakes. The butcher offers a range of items from humble chicken livers to huge joints of aged beef, sourced from local farms. You’ll also find seasonal fruit and vegetables, wines and spirits, luxury handmade chocolates, biscuits, ethnic products and a selection of interesting cheeses. It can be a bit on the pricey side but every single thing has earned its place on the shelves for being nothing less than top notch. They also have regular tasting events where customers can meet local producers and sample their wares. Hampers are available for the ideal food gift.

Where? You’ll have to head towards Manchester Airport and take the turn off towards Wilmslow. Cheshire Smokehouse Vost Farm, Morley Green, Wilmslow SK9 5NU

If you like this: There are no other Smokehouses in the region, but for good farm shops with cafes attached, try Red House Farm near Altrincham or Falshaw Farm in Bury.

Cheshire Smokehouse
Cheshire Smokehouse in Mobberley


What is it? Continental bakery, deli counter and food shop

What does it sell? Their bakery uses nine tonnes of flour per week which goes into a massive range of different breads, cakes, savouries and pastries. In the shop, they try to stay away from the more common products sold in supermarkets to focus on their favourite tried and tested imported and local goods such as honeys, jams and chutneys, granola, crackers and crispbreads, chocolate and Italian biscuits, pasta and sauces, Polish produce including pierogi and cabbage, Greek stuffed vine leaves and capers, tinned fish and stocks, Spanish paprika and paella, German stocks and sauces, olive oils, cooking wines and balsamic vinegars. The deli counter has a huge range of cheeses, meats, Patchwork pates, dips and salads.

Where? Barbakan, 67-71 Manchester Road, Chorlton, M21 9PW

If you like this: then go to Fusion Deli in West Didsbury, or Katsouris deli in Bury

20172806 Barbakan
Barbakan bakery and delicatessen in Chorlton

Hang Wong Hong

What is it? Chinese Supermarket

What does it sell? Here you’ll pick up all you need to make great Chinese and Asian dishes from chopsticks to seafood. Their fridges and freezers are packed full of locally made pork balls, Chinese sausages, dumplings, sliced meats, dim-sum and seafood. You’ll find good quality, exotic fruit, fresh herbs and vegetables imported from Asia as well as hundreds of different types of rice and noodles, sauces and seasonings. To wash it all down, you’ll find a large variety of herbal teas imported from different part of China along with imported soft drinks as well as grass-jelly drinks, soy milk and energy drinks, Chinese beers, cooking wines, Japanese sake and Chinese rice wine.

Where? Hang Wong Hong, Connaught Building, 58-60 George Street, Chinatown, Manchester M1 4HF 

If you like this: Get to Wing Yip, Ancoats or WH Lung on Upper Brook Street

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Massive selection of Asian foods at Hang Wong Hong


What is it? Independent, multi-award winning Catalonian and Spanish deli, attached to a restaurant and bar, with venues in Liverpool and Manchester.

What does it sell? There are well over a thousand different products in Lunya’s delicatessens, each one cherry picked by owners Peter and Elaine Kinsella to represent the very best of Catalan and Spanish food. They sell around fifteen different types of olives, along with giant caper berries, pickled garlic cloves and pepinillos; tiny pickled cucumbers. You’ll also find 40 varieties of Spanish cheese, sliced cured meats and a superb selection of fantastic crisps, snacks and sweet things. Discover interesting condiments, several types of vinegar, pickles and even tubes of luxury jellies and jams, readymade sauces and dips as well as olive oils. This is also the place for interesting Spanish wines and spirits.

Where? Lunya, Barton Arcade, Deansgate, M3 2BB

If you like this: You can purchase wine and ingredients from the deli Iberica in Spinningfields and you’ll find a range of Spanish wines from smaller boutique producers in Evuna, Deansgate.

20172806 Lunya Deli
Lunya - an emporium of Catalan goodies Georgie Glass