Friday, 9 November 2012

Whole Foods Market, Cheltenham

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to pop to Cheltenham to preview the new Whole Foods Market before its opening. Along with H&M (opening 2013), this ranks as a significant event in the Gloucestershire social calendar.

A group of us were given a tour around the new shop and invited to sample lots of delicious food and drink. The Whole Foods ethos is to offer high-quality, natural food, beauty and health products. More than 330 of the products available are locally sourced from within the county as well. 

The staff working on the different counters are all experts in their fields and able to offer advice on cuts of meat, recipe ideas, types of spices etc. It's far removed from a standard supermarket experience – you're expected to try before you buy and the selection is huge. It's a bit like having an old fashioned butcher, baker, fishmonger etc all under one roof, except there's also a pick of gourmet treats from abroad as well so you get the best of both worlds. 

If cooking's not your thing, they have stalls offering freshly made meals of all different types (and what I sampled was very tasty). They can even cater for dinner parties given the appropriate notice period. (You could totally order everything from Whole Foods and then pretend you slaved for hours in the kitchen... But that would be wrong.)

There's also a huge selection of natural and organic makeup, beauty and health products which I cannot wait to have a proper look through. If you're feeling brave you can have your face scanned by a machine that evaluates the condition of your skin, sun damage levels etc. The beauty staff are then able to provide product suggestions to counter any negative findings. You can even go back for a rescan to see how the products are performing. 

I'm really pleased this Austin-born brand has opened shop in Cheltenham and support their mission and values (more info here). I'm almost sorry I live half an hour away or I would be there several times per week. At least I won't go broke grinding my own pecan butter, buying fresh coffee and eating pots of olives and wheels of cheese.

The Cheltenham Whole Foods Market is situated at Gallagher Retail Park. 

I like... chocolate 
I like... olives
I like... beauty products
I like... coffee
I like... cheese
I like... fresh bread
I like... beans, pulses and nuts (?)
I like... fresh sushi man
I like... sweets! 

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