Retail Therapy with Canny Food
After writing about the farm shop at Brocksbushes Farm I thought about all the great little stores we have in Newcastle and the surrounding areas that I’ve enjoyed visiting recently. I decided to do a round up post of some that you should put on your list to try over the weekend. We feel strongly about supporting local businesses and always endeavour to shop local where we can. The old adage of ‘use it or lose it’ springs to mind. Enjoy!
The Health Warehouse, Darlington
Owned by the team behind The Green Guerrilla, a vegetarian and vegan catering company Canny Food has encountered at many of the region’s food markets recently, The Health Warehouse has been going since 1985. Not only is it a fantastic place to visit if you follow a meat and dairy-free diet, as you’d expect, but also it caters for those who are following a healthy eating regime.
We found it a cornucopia of delicious items we hadn’t seen before in other shops, alongside some we already knew. Finding a larger selection of products suitable for Mr. Canny was great, who was like a kid in a sweet shop! They also have a range of cakes and salads to take-away, and we picked up some dairy-free pre-prepared milkshakes from to try. From vegan pate to jars of cooking sauces that don’t contain dairy, there was so much choice.
Rural, Westgate Road
I visited Rural just after it opened so they were still in the process of stocking their shelves, so to speak. I had a great chat with Dominik, who was so enthusiastic about their produce. In fact, over half of the goods on sale here are created by or for them especially. From honey to cured meat, Rural has some tasty treats on offer.
I picked up Ovelheira, a cheese made from sheep’s milk. Similar in texture to Camembert when it is cooked, I was advised to leave it out of the fridge for a day before eating so it softened. Myself and the Teen enjoyed it with some fresh bread purchased from Urban Bakery, which we also highly recommend if you live in the Gateshead area for grub (see post here).
Alongside fruit and vegetables supplied by Brocksbushes (there’s that name again!), it is a great place to venture to pick up some jamon or Portuguese wine for the weekend if you happen to be in that neck of the woods. They also now stock a range of pies, pastries and vegetarian quiches. If they start selling Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts) I’ll never leave.
It isn’t the most obvious place to stick a store of this standard, but they’re hoping to kickstart some sort of foodie revolution amongst the motorcycle stores of Westgate Road. Meryenda Cafe next door is somewhere we have tried out for food too. I was told vegetarians can eat squid when asking what dishes they had – it’s pescetarian, actually – so I’m reticent to write anything up about the experience.
La Casa, Grainger Market
My friend Andy was the person who alerted me to La Casa, a Spanish Delicatessen that has set up shop recently in the Grainger Market. With a great selection of cheeses, it’s definitely my sort of place.
The Mr. was a little put-off visiting because of the charcuterie hanging about, so I ventured in on my own to pick up some oils and olives. The Grainger Market is such an exciting place to visit now, and there are a few unit openings to look forward to in the upcoming weeks.
The Honey Tree, Heaton Road
An independent food store, you could probably do the whole weekly shop at The Honey Tree. With seasonal vegetables from local farms, a deli counter featuring Doddington Dairy cheese, and a full range of carefully sourced groceries, I was very impressed such a small shop could carry so many interesting products.
I was told to visit by a friend because they stocked vegan ice cream which, disappointingly, is the same brand Tesco and all the major supermarkets stock (Swedish Glace by Walls, in case you’re interested). It was Raspberry Ripple flavour though, which we hadn’t encountered before.
There were lots of other frozen items that were particularly good for the vegan on sale, such as Clive’s Pies. I’d have liked to have seen a few more local producers showcasing their wares, like favourites No Muu, but we’ll definitely keep popping back for odds and sods if we’re in the area.
Farplace Animal Rescue Shop, Clayton Street
After the success of my Dairy-free Milkshake post I thought I should write something about the Farplace store, which is located on Newcastle’s Clayton Street. I was able to purchase things like vegan ‘squirty cream’ here to create my ‘Freakshakes’, as well as Mheat Steaks and Tyne Chease. I’m personally not a big fan of some substitute products on sale, but Mr. Canny rates them and his opinion counts more than mine on such matters!
Their cakes, pastries and ‘sausage’ rolls are worthy of praise, with the Teen saying he couldn’t believe how tasty vegan food could be. It’s worth having a browse even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan as they also have gluten-free products on sale too.
Thanks for reading,