Charcuteries and Deli's

(Helen Aurelius-Haddock) #1

There was a good piece on the Guardian Word of Mouth this morning by

Matthew Fort, entitled Old

Delicatessen And New Delis
, which in short offered up a bit of

nostalgia for the old style deli over the new eat and meet genre that

proliferate today.

In truth, I miss the UK style deli’s (the former type he mentions) as

here in France the Charcuterie is a bit of a different animal.

While the foods are indeed enticing, they are firmly and squarely

centred on French traditional food, whereas in the UK there was always

such a cosmopolitan offer to be had.

Take Wally’s in Cardiff as an


Stowed away in a narrow arcade, it defies the laws of physics in by

cramming the seemingly impossible into the tiniest of spaces. They try

to represent most country’s specialities, and exhaustingly attempt to

source and even bigger selection to entice you through their doors.

It is scrupulously clean and all the staff wear crisp starched white

coats and cannot do enough to help you.

It is one of the few places I have been able to get semolina flour to

make bread, and I buy as much as I can carry to the car when I visit.

Sadly I now have to stick to long life goods as it is no longer feasible

to take them on the long road home – 500 hundred miles is just a tad

further than the 20 odd I used to travel to get there.

I console myself with a picnic style selection of their meats, cheeses

and wonderful Arab bread, telling myself that less is more, and I will

always return another time.

In the corner of the French charcuterie I have a favourite in Les

at the Thouars market, and am slowly working my way through

the delights on offer there. Rillons de porc and hand sliced

ham on the bone are just two of my weekly favourites.

On Fridays the market has a wonderful stall selling all sorts of

Moroccan foods, so at least there is an exciting array of tit bits to be

had for weekend meals.

Artisan bakers sell a staggering array of breads as well, so a quick

tour around the market offers up a tasty selection of the highest


Further afield I visit a Halal butcher who sells spices, pulses and a

good selection of grains and teas, flower waters and the like. Around

the corner from him, there is a Chinese supermarket as well, selling

mountains of fresh herbs, exotic vegetables and other delights.

So, provided I am organised and decide on my shopping destination, I can

still get pretty much all I want within about a forty minute

drive………..except the semolina flour. I’m still looking for that.

My comment on Matthew Fort’s piece this morning