Hot off the press, Whole Foods Cheltenham! I was going to reveal another recipe today but it has been swept aside as I had the luck of attending the grand opening of the new Whole Foods Market in Cheltenham! There has been loads of buzz and hype around the unveiling of this place, so I thought it was worth the drive down to witness the wonders inside for myself!
As I arrived at Whole Foods, there was a large crowd of people mulling around the entrance and a brilliant percussion band that were whipping up a great energy! As the sun rose on a very crisp November morn, the head honchos made speeches about the reason for choosing Cheltenham and also their mission for the store. There were some great charitable ideas behind the core concepts for the store, including supporting the Wiggly Worm charity. Wiggly Worm helps “instil in people a reminder of their true worth in society” through culinary courses and events.
The crowds were anxious to see inside the brand new Whole Foods Market!
Instead of cutting a red ribbon, the Mayor Of Cheltenham was welcomed to the front to break bread with the managerial staff and local charity members. This bread was made with local flour and beer and was offered out to the eager shoppers. It was very nice but I didn’t wait around for seconds, I was off into the belly of the beast!
However, there was nothing beastly about what awaited my eyes inside! As you made your way through the entrance, you were greeted with an array of colour from the pristine selections of fruit! It was as if someone had hit the saturation button; fruit never looks this good!
The juice bar looked equally inviting with all these vibrant concoctions on offer!
I quickly delved into the nachos and salsa dip that had been made in house. Sadly a queue formed behind me so I moved on quickly, still munching. The salsa was spicy but light and refreshing!
The spice bar gathered many “gasps” as this was a way of displaying spices I had only seen in foreign market stalls! I overheard a gentleman say “Yes, apparently if you only need two tablespoons for your recipe then you just take it from there!” If this is true then that is amazing, I thought it was just a grand point of sale process. One thing I think they should incorporate is a sign saying “Careful Not To Sneeze” as that could have catastrophic consequences!
Dispensing racks filled with an array of ingredients such as kidney beans and chickpeas! A savoury pic n’ mix if you will?
Check out the size of these Stiltons on the top shelf!
More cheeses and cured meats!
I absolutely love chutneys with any cheese or bread that I eat so I had to get myself a jar from here. I chose an Apple, Sultana & Date chutney, produced locally by the great company Relish The Taste. I can not wait to whack this on a chunk of cheese for lunch!
Then my absolute favourite, the “Fill Your Flagon” bar! Just pick up a flagon and fill it with any of the lagers, ales or ciders that they are serving that day. You pay £3 for the flagon and you can bring it back anytime to re-fill it with the drink of your choice. I must add that I managed to find my way to this before anyone else and am now the proud owner of the first ever poured Cheltenham WFM Flagon. Quite the privilege! I filed mine with 1.5 pints of local Cotswold Cider at only £3.99! This is going to be very popular I think.
They had wines from all over the globe.
Loads of local ciders and ales. Big thumbs up for this!
Then I found the coffee and tea bar where they had many different blends in sacks and huge glass jars. You could pick and choose your beans and then have them ground into your own special mix. I was also chucked a big bag of coffee beans for free from a cheery American vendor. The aroma at this end of the store smelt amazing.
Now on to the meat and poultry department. The fridges were filled with a variety of flavoured sausages ranging from the norm to the inventive. Fine cuts of beef and pork lined the cabinets. I even noticed some venison steaks and more expensive obscure meats.
The smoked fish counter looked amazing, reviewing these pictures made me wish I had purchased some smoked scallops!
As I arrived at the bakery I was greeted with this little interactive menu. It presented you with pictures of the cakes that they baked and details of possible custom bakes that you can have specifically made to your requirements.
The pastries looked amazing!
These cupcakes were exquisite too and the macaroon topped ones came in a wide variety of flavours.
Mmmmm freshly cooked bread smell!
Chefs busy preparing cooked takeaway meals, which could be accompanied with a side from the large salad bar.
Wandering around snapping the crowds and getting some funny looks haha!
Another brilliant idea, a touch screen recipe book to help inspire your meal and ingredients choices!
Wasn’t long till my sweet tooth craved some indulgence. I was treated to a sample of the chocolate pin wheel shortbread and pic n’ mix! I had to pick a few to take home with me so I chose a marshmallow melt cookie and a dark chocolate dipped cookie! The marshmallow one is no longer with us sadly, it was gone as soon as I got home! Extremely moreish!
If you needed anymore inspiration you only need to browse the collection of cookbooks on sale.
Then I wandered into the in-store coffee shop where I found some delicious looking goodies. These raspberry meringues in particular looked amazing!
Savoury popcorn, not sure what to think of Sour Cream & Chive, will have to brave it soon I think.
All of a sudden I found myself in the “Beauty” section? I didn’t realise this was here but thought I may as well browse. Seemed like the sort of place my mum would spend hours in, again it was immaculately presented.
Spotted a glorious favourite of mine, Fentimans!
Another genius idea was the “Bottle Your Oil” section. There were shelves of metal containers with different types of oils, such as rape seed and olive, which you could decant into your own glass bottle. I wonder whether you could mix between different oils? Or is this just a pointless idea?
Freshly prepared crab cakes and other delectables.
As I left I walked past the fish counter where they were doing a special sale on whole Salmons for £10, the queue was massive. Then to my delight a guy from Winstones Ice Creams, a local Cotswold ice cream producer, offered me a free vanilla cornet! This was the perfect end to a fabulous store unveiling.
The treats that I returned home with!
If you live or work anywhere near Whole Foods Market and you love fine foods, you should definitely make a trip to the store soon. I think they have done an incredible job and will definitely be visiting again! The design of the store is perfect. I loved all the creative touches they applied to different departments and the interior and colours are excellent. Although it is a supermarket, it does not feel like one at all. It was a real joy to walk around and discover new products and recipes. I think the inclusion of local producers such as Cotswold Cider and Relish The Taste is a really positive move and I wish them all the greatest success! I can not wait to see how the produce changes over the coming months for Christmas, I think this is going to become a favourite for many of the local community!
I hope my overview wasn’t too brief, I tried to take as many pictures for you all; regardless of how crazy I must have looked trying to get macro shots of polished kidney beans!
We The Food Snobs x