We're on board with the notion of visiting your local delicatessens to buy fresh, locally produced and unusual foods, so we asked Anna Hamilton, food writer and operator of local supper club Alright Treacle, to give us a brief guide to the city’s best locations for deli-belly.
30 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6TP, goya23.co.uk. Open Mon–Thu 9.30am–6.30pm, Fri–Sat 9.30am–8pm, Sun 9.30am–6pm
Named after their first flat together in Zaragoza, Roberto Rodrigo and Amaya Berroya set up their solely Spanish delicatessen in June, creating a small slice of España in Stockbridge. This slick looking establishment is stocked high with the very best quality produce from all over the country, and word of mouth has created a buzz and steady increase of followers, from food fanatics to ex-pats and intrigued locals. In addition to the deli, there is a seated area at the back were you can eat thin slices of cured Iberico pork loin with Montes de Alcala goat’s cheese, all lovingly quaffed with a glass of Manzanilla La Goya sherry – in case you hadn’t noticed, this is somewhere I plan on frequenting regularly, particularly during the summer months.
181 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh EH10 4DG, 0131 229 4554. Open Mon–Sat 8am–6.30pm
Knowledge, patience and warmth are attributes not all retailers are blessed with – you either have it, or you don’t, and Charlotte Billinghurst (co-founder of 181 Delicatessen) has it in abundance. A relatively recent addition to the Edinburgh deli scene, Charlotte and her husband Michael opened last summer in the compact retail-hub of Bruntsfield after years of working in renowned establishments across the city. As well as selling scrumptious homemade bites and quality deli products, they are successfully championing small, local producers, which is marvelous to see, and if you're stumped as to what to do with certain ingredients, you’ll find almost everything is labeled with a delightful little tip for use.
Maialino Deli & Cafe
34 William Street, Edinburgh EH3 7LJ, maialino.co.uk, 0131 477 7778. Open Mon–Fri 8am–3pm
Maialino is a sweet little delicatessen in the narrow streets of the West End, founded by Tuscan Claudio Sapienza – a man who prides himself on really getting to know his customers (right down to the names of their dogs!), and what they like to eat before walking through the door. Fresh soups are made daily, as well as homemade chutneys to fill their delicious selection of baguettes and paninis. Deli products include Italian cured meats and cheeses, and a good range of imported pasta. A particular favourite with regulars is Meatball Friday, for a taste of fresh Italian fare – no passport required.
24 Leven Street, Edinburgh EH3 9LJ, lupepintos.com, 0131 228 6241. Open Mon–Wed 10am–6pm, Thu–Fri 10am–7pm, Sat 10am–6pm, Sun 12.30pm–5.30pm
Scottish couple Rhoda Robertson and Dougie Bell opened their shop-cum-deli 25 years ago, following a year-long trans-American voyage. This journey included a six month stint in Mexico, living with a wonderful woman (responsible for much of their Central American knowledge) called Lupe Pintos. It’s a fantastically quirky wee establishment, and although the deli counter selection is slightly limited, it’s definitely worth a visit. Fighting off competitive supermarkets has meant the shop has had to evolve from mostly Mexican to a tantalising variety of world foods – if you’re looking for something obscure, it’s likely to be at Lupe.
330 Morningside Road, Edinburgh EH10 4QJ, mellischeese.net, 0131 447 8889. Open Mon–Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 10am–5pm
An obvious choice perhaps, but I couldn’t resist including Mellis as the perfect go-to shop and deli for lactose lovers everywhere. Meander down Morningside Road (or any of their six other locations across the country) and you won’t have missed the punchy aroma of ageing cheese. Shopping here is a real treat, irresistible due to their sheer quality and variety, and far more personal than any supermarket counter. They know their stuff, and with that a level of theatre is created around the humble cheese, especially in the case of their made-to-order alternative celebration cakes – a multi-tiered cheese mountain, made from all your favourite fromage.
Alright Treacle is a supper club that operates on Saturday nights from an Edinburgh city centre location. Their next event is Forage, Nourish, Share, a one-off off-premises foraging special at Earthy Causewayside on Sat Feb 21, in collaboration with fellow foodie types The Fireside Collective – visit thefiresidecollective.com for more info on that, and alright-treacle.com for more info on Anna's regular supper club schedule. In addition to Alright Treacle, Anna also blogs about food at itsrudetostare.com and tweets @alrighttreacles.