The great thing about the foodie scene in Glasgow is its range - and that doesn't just go for its cafes and restaurants. The city's foodie stores are typified by real class and quality in some outlets and a demotic but health-conscious approach in others. Elsewhere is an infectious sense of fun that has you reaching for your plastic to pay for that impulse purchase of Herradura Anejo, one of the finest tequilas in the world.
It’s hard not to reflect on Cottonrake then just give a one-word review: ‘Nom.’ This is a contemporary bakery with great bread like olive focaccia, regional French and sourdough; savouries of distinction including tarts featuring Raclette and tomato, or shallot with pea and asparagus; and visually tempting patisserie that delivers on flavour on texture. If you can’t wait to get home, the premises also have some seating and function as a café too.
One of the best cheesemongers in the whole of the UK, the Mellis story started in Edinburgh more than 20 years ago and the business now boasts branches in four towns and cities across Scotland. The Glasgow outlet sits in the foodie village that is the West End – opposite Cottonrake incidentally – and is where to go for cheeses like Mimolette, Tomme de Savoie or tangy Isle of Mull Cheddar.
Yes, this is an excellent deli but it’s also a café. You can get breakfast here, sandwiches, platters and specials, while the coffee is fabulous – they roast and grind the beans themselves. The retail products include artisan bread, cheese, charcuterie, pâté, salads, oils, vinegars and chutneys, plus sweet things like cakes and gorgeous mini macaroons filled with lemon curd or rhubarb and custard.
Food shopping can be highly reverent these days; there’s not a lot of laughs in a chat about pig husbandry for example. Then you come here – a sort of Mexican deli with a catholic approach to its stock – and can’t help but smile. There are bottles of tequila, tins of Libby’s brand pumpkin, jars of Jamaican jerk seasoning and big old bags of tortilla chips; it’s a fun place to shop.
From its beginnings as a rather splendid fruit and veg shop, this business has expanded to include a wholefood and organics deli, a café and a florist – all clustered around its Great Western Road site. You can come here for bread, deli items, coffee, or a colourful bouquet but the fruit and veg (everything from blood oranges to organic purple mangetout or some humble tatties) remains the best in Glasgow.
This business started in Texas 35 years ago and now operates in the USA, Canada and the UK. It brought its characteristic approach to natural and organic foods to Giffnock in 2011; technically not in the city but effectively a southern suburb. Since then it has been selling everything you would expect from a supermarket but with a wholefood sensibility. Giffnockians have never had it so good.