The thing about bank holidays is that while we crave them like sugar, once they arrive, it is often hard to decide what to do. You want to make the most of precious time off, but you also have to balance this with the wish to chill out and not end up doing something totally random and out of character, like visiting a castle.
I was spending the day with family in the North West, and had already flitted away most of the morning getting a pedicure (crucial use of time). There were rumblings of visiting IKEA or a garden centre (not appealing), so then I had a brainwave. The Hollies Farm Shop in Little Budworth. A place I discovered last summer and have had a soft spot for since.
Now this place is proper Cheshire Life – I would shop here every day in my dream life. But in reality its once in a blue moon. Largely because I live about 200 miles away, but also because this is proper luxury food porn, and I can’t justify 17 types of jam (yet).
The farm shop is rammed full of lovely locally sourced products and niche ingredients you read about in great cookbooks but can never find in Sainsbury’s local. They have a fantastic way of presenting things so even the rice looks exciting.
The fresh ingredient sections are fantastic – particularly the cheese counter and butchery section. You can’t see in the picture below but they stock lovely chicken dishes marinaded in sauces like mango and white wine. If only more supermarkets in London would stock this type of thing, food shopping would be way more exciting…
Now just to finish off the middle aged theme to this post, there is also a garden centre and a craft store which are both very charming, and fun to walk around. They leave you thinking, yes I really should have more Magnolia plants and witty/inspirational wall signs in my life.
Sadly, (or perhaps with the mercy of Christ), I managed to resist buying everything at the Hollies (although we did leave with a gorgeous lemon sponge and an AMAZING pre-prepared korma dish.Plus you can buy giant chocolate slabs at half the price of Hotel Chocolate).
It is probably very easy to get carried away in the Hollies. But the place is great for special occasions, times when you’d like to feel like living like a Made in Chelsea heir…or just gifts.
Indeed they do some fantastic hampers with real personality.I once bought the Cheshire Hamper for a schoolfriend. It was lovely to be able to import a a touch of the Cheshire farm shop magic to London. Yes we have Harrods food hall, Partridges and Fortnum & Masons, but this place is a real champion of local suppliers and feels much more welcoming.
That hamper was bought was genuinely the most exciting thing that has ever been delivered to me at work, so I am kind of tempted to buy one for myself…