From the honkiest cheese to the best bags of coffee 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.

The Counter At 3 Hands Deli

3 Hands Deli

What is it? Tiny deli that shares space with Holy Grain sourdough bakery

What does it sell? For such a small space, 3 Hands Deli is packed to the rafters with speciality cheeses from The Crafty Cheeseman, unusual charcuterie (think rosemary lamb carpaccio and venison salami) and brilliant bakes by in-house pastry chef Siân Wilson. Find locally sourced deli fare such as pickles from Once Upon a Brine, hot sauce, pasta, olive oil and olives too. Julian Pizer - formerly of The Edinburgh Castle and Cottonopolis - takes the deli’s offering to another level with artisan toasties that have seen queues of hungry punters regularly lining the length of Deansgate Mews for a flavour fix.

Where? 3 Hands Deli, Deansgate Mews M3 4EN; a hidden street behind the Great Northern Warehouse

If you like this: You might want to venture down to Platt Fields Market Garden whose farm shop, garden and pop-up cafe is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

20172806 Barbakan


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

What does it sell? The 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

Butchers Quarter Tib Street Counter

Butcher’s Quarter

What is it? Artisan Butcher and Cheesemonger

What does it sell? Pick up beef, pork, chicken and lamb from local suppliers, as well as a huge selection of cheese and charcuterie from all over the world. The Butcher’s Quarter is a true artisan butcher shop, making all its own sausages, burgers and marinades across its two sites. The team here work with cheesemonger Mellis of Edinburgh to bring cheese directly from small family-run farms to the Manchester masses, and the wines are provided by Reserve - who can be found at Mackie Mayor, Didsbury and Altrincham. Don’t miss sausage rolls, pies and amazing jambon-beurre sandwiches - made with baguettes from local bakery Companio.

Where? Butcher's QuarterNorthern Quarter, 66 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG, and Deansgate Mews

If you like this: You’ll love the tasting rooms at both Butcher’s Quarter sites where you can spend some time sampling the goods before you buy.

Cheese Hamlet 2

Cheese Hamlet

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

What does it sell? The 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

Cheshire Smokehouse

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.

20172806 Hang Wong Hong

Hang Won 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 Won 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

Lilys Deli 600 X 450

Lily’s Deli 

What is it? Family-run Indian Vegetarian and Vegan deli

What does it sell? From the owners of Lily’s Vegetarian restaurant in Ashton, bringing to-go versions of its restaurant’s best-loved dishes to Chorlton - including a great ‘grab and go’ offer - perfect for a quick lunch or speedy dinner option. You’ll also find traditional Indian sweet treats that are made by its team of specialist chefs, samosas, spring rolls and chaats too. Not to mention Lily's signature pies. While you’re there, try a masala chai and pick up a range of essential Indian groceries to fill your cupboards at home.

Where? Lily’s Deli, 102 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9SZ

If you like this: You must try Lily’s original restaurant in Ashton, named after Lilawati Sachdev, who sold traditional Indian savouries from a small shop in Ashton, and who helped found the brand with her husband PJ in 1972.

Doughnuts At Lupo Prestwich


What is it? Award-winning Italian cafe and shop

What does it sell? Lupo sells proper Italian coffee for "piazza dreaming" from a unit on a trading estate. You will find a good selection of Lupo’s cakes and bakes across Manchester city centre at, among others, Ezra & Gil and Popup Bikes under the railway arches. But for the full Lupo experience and chance to sample owner Nico’s award-winning coffee, you’ll have to make the trip out to Prestwich where you’ll be greeted by grandma-style red gingham tablecloths, dried herbs hanging from the roof beams, and the smell of espresso. Apertivo is served in to the evening, and you can get your hands on a classic range of Italian pantry goods, wine, and fresh fruit and veg.

Where? Lupo, Trading Estate, Unit 65 Ardent Way Mountheath, Manchester M25 9WE

If you like this: Amato Food Products Ltd stocks the full roster of Italian ingredients. 

Mercado Deli Shop Didsbury

Mercado Deli Market

What is it? An independent deli specialising in European and Latin products

What does it sell? The Latin flavour is strong at Mercado, with Venezualan arepas, cachitos and golfeados, and Argentinian empanadas served daily. Here you’ll also find authentic European produce, from Sicilian pates to pasta and all manner of unique ingredients guaranteed to level up your dinner at home. Stop by for a champurrado (Mexican-style hot chocolate), a double scoop of gelato, or a Peruvian house coffee as you wander down Burton Road. Or maybe pick up a fresh croissant filled by hand with pistachio cream right before your eyes.

Where? Mercado Deli Market, 192A Burton Rd, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 1LH

If you like this: you’ll love the gelato and cannoli at Sicilian NQ, Turner Street M4 1DZ

20172806 Salvis Deli


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. Salvi's 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? 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.

Shefa Mehadrin 13001290 698518786917687 6631289808335076716 N

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 Saturdays 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

Unicorn Exterior

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 the 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 70 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

Venus Foods Manchester

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.

Bread And Wine At Wandering Palate Monton

Wandering Palate

What is it? "Purveyor of fine wines and indulgences"

What does it sell? The question should be ‘What doesn’t it sell?’ Because the new kid on the block, Wandering Palate is here for all your pantry needs. Bread? Only the best from Batard bakery. Pies and pastries? Check. Charcuterie, cheese and coffee? Also check. These guys are mad about their produce, but also about their wine. You’ll find a whole wall stuffed to the gills with delectable drinks - and owners Will and Emma Evans are absolutely more than happy to talk you through the fine details. Monton might not be the first place you’d think to pick up artisan products or stock up on Manchester Union craft lager, but give it a whirl - you’re bound to come home with something special.

Where? Wandering Palate, 191 Monton Rd, Eccles, Manchester M30 9PN

If you like this: try Deli-Lama Cafe-Bar, a family business that has served the community in its area since 2012. 

Compiled by Deanna Thomas and Sophie Rahnema

Read now: Can you dig it? Confidentials meets Manchester Urban Diggers

Read again: 'No it won't get you high' - Playfoots, Monton reviewed

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