Take Stock: London
Entertaining is an art and personal expression of our preferences, tastes, style and values. The manner in which we entertain may change over time and either grows or shrink based on experience, interest and desire. However, what stays consistent are the trusted resources we accumulate around our cities to help us execute our vision on the table. In fact, one can learn a great deal about a city and its offerings by examining where people go to purchase the food, the beverages and the accessories they use to entertain their guests.
From a day to day perspective, food shopping often arises in an unplanned and spontaneous manner resulting in consumption purchases based due to close proximity or convenience of a store to where we are. Food shopping for entertaining, on the other hand is calculated, deliberate and planned where some will travel great lengths to acquire their secret spice, signature meat, fresh produce, or the most interesting dessert; all in the name of delighting guests to create an extraordinary experience.
Map Illustration: Alina Kotova for Countlan Magazine Issue 01
01 Bakeware: Divertimenti is the best for bakeware, although it is expensive. Otherwise, I prefer to buy Alan Silverwood bakeware from Amazon.co.uk. Divertimenti 33/34 Marylebone High Street London, W1U 4PT Full-service Divertimenti offers bakers with equipment for any sweet tooth craving from flan tins and moulds to cake decorating tools and baking mats.
02 Meat: Jacob’s Ladder Farms (biodynamic and organic butchery) meat can be purchased at Druid Street on Saturday mornings. Jacob’s Ladder 104 Druid Street Saturday from 9am-2pm in an area now known as the Maltby Street market where a collection of food and beverage retailers open to the public and sell their goods every Saturday morning.
03 Flowers: Columbia Road is great on a Sunday but I buy my flowers from the local flower man outside the Royal Free Hospital in South End Green, Hampstead NW3. Columbia Road Shops & Flower Market Sunday from 8am-3pm (ish). It is located in the East End sitting close to Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Spitafields.
04 Chocolate: Rococo Chocolates on Marylebone High Street. I buy my chocolate from Mother Earth Health Food shop in Newington Green. They have amazing handmade, sugar free raspberry dark chocolate hearts. Rococo Chocolates 45 Marylebone High Street London W1U 5HG has been around for thirty years. Created by Chantal Coady, her stores make beautifully hand crafted chocolate and she also runs a chocolate school.
05 Tea I buy Pukka Organic tea bags which are available in most health food stores or for a fun thing to do, I visit TeaSmith in Spitafields. TeaSmith 8 Lamb Street London E1 6EA is a gourmet tea retailer and tea bar located in the Spitafields market area where you can sample and purchase tea as well as enjoy sweets from their pastry and chocolate menu.
06 Spices Arabica Food and Spice Company at their Broadway Market location. Arabica Food and Spice Company (various locations) is the source to find everything from aromatics, flavourings, preserves to chutneys, herbs and spices.
07 Tableware Head out of town to Daylesford Organic Farm for the most beautiful tableware. It’s worth the drive. Daylesford Organic Farm Daylesford near Kingham, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YG (multiple locations) is part grocery store, part restaurant, part cooking school, part retail store. You can find beautiful tableware items such as wooden measuring spoons, glass storage jars, bread boards and candles.