Food. My number one weakness. Whole Foods Market feeds my habit. The love affair started when it opened in 2011. I dragged my parents there on the Opening Day to check out the place that would later become my favourite supermarket and go to place for produce (It was the bread, cakes & vast quantities of Pistachio ice cream that sealed the deal!)
One evening chatting with the management, I brought up the fact that Glasgow has so many food bloggers who are rather influential and what better way to promote WFM by raising its profile and showcasing itself for these bloggers and their readership by having an event… a few weeks later #LoveWFM was born. I liaised with Darren and Emili at WFM and sent out invitations to a group of the best bloggers in Glasgow. The evening started with a tour around the store going to each individual produce area, learning more about what is on offer and trying some samples.
We headed to the Fruit & Veg Department and were talked through the ranges that they have on offer. Huge varieties of vegetables that you don’t see in a “normal” supermarket and the fact that the majority of the produce are loose enabling you to feel what you are buying ensuring you get the very best. I like this idea over pre-packed because you can never truly tell what you are buying when it’s all wrapped up. I like feeling fruit and vegetables to make sure they are perfect for me. I only wish more supermarkets did this. While in the Fruit & Veg department, Cucumber and Carrot sticks with freshly made in store Guacamole and Salsa were served up to sample. It was Cinco De Mayo weekend after all. Beautiful! So beautiful I bought some later in the evening with some homemade Tortilla Chips. YUM!
The Health Department was next up where we were given little pots of Greek Natural Yoghurt with some chia seeds while learning about what was available in the Health Department. I usually just walk past this department when in store because frankly, food is all I can think about. They have a good selection of products and on this occasion, I actually made the time to snoop around. I doubt I would return to the Health Department though, not because they don’t have a great variety of Health Produce, but because it is just something I’m really not interested in. Others of course, may love this section, I know a lot of the bloggers who also attended the event did. I’m just all about the cakes.
We were then introduced to the Fresh Fish & Seafood Counter, given a little talk about the traffic light system they have for the produce and shown signs that state where the fish came from. WFM are also passionate about sustainability and were very informative on the matter. It was very insightful to see how passionate the team are regarding locally produced products & the environment. Not something you’d really think a supermarket chain would be vocal about; but WFM is no ordinary supermarket chain. Douglas (The Fish Man) handed us some Smoked Salmon Pate on crackers and Trout Roe Bellini’s. I’m not a fan of Roe but I tasted it then reminded myself why I didn’t like it in the first place but oh my the Salmon Pate was to die for. We couldn’t resist asking Douglas what his favourite fish was… for reference it’s Haddock & Salmon. Very Scottish of him!
One of my favourite parts of the tour? Meeting the head butcher. He discussed with us that the meat comes from various farms which they know produce quality meat. All the meet is free range and follows an Animal Welfare Rating Program. In fact, they even have posters featuring the farm suppliers so that customers can “get to know the farmer”. He pointed out signs which show when certain items were cut & minced so that the customer knows how fresh it is. They have their own full butcher shop in store where they dry age meat, slice and dice animals which you don’t have in your average supermarket. We were then shown the back of the store, shown the meat chill room, shown different cuts of meat and the dry ageing cupboard. The greatest thing I’ve ever seen.
After being shown where all the in-store food is prepped & cooked behind the scenes, we went to explore the Cheese Counter. They have a wide selection of different cheeses which would give you the greatest nightmares on the planet. I was tempted to buy some Truffle Brie but totally forgot about it when I shopped in store later in the evening, ARGH! Remind me to go grab some cheese the next time I’m in store, will you?
As I was walking past the cheese, a monster ciabatta caught my attention. This was approximately a metre in length and was the ultimate of ultimate manwiches, the ciabatta is then individually sliced when a manwich is ordered. In fact, Mr Manwich himself was drooling over it. I had a manwich from WFM before and it did not disappoint. If you’re in store and feeling hungry, try a manwich. They are freshly made to order and you can choose a creation from the menu or create your own. They are good. Very good. Trust Me. If Manwiches aren’t your thing, the thin crust made to order Pizza is wonderful. I’ve had the Mozzarella & Tomato Pizza and Salami Pizza before. I can’t fault it at all.
My favourite counter in store has to be the Cakes. They look so good you’re almost afraid to eat them. Macarons, Cake Pops, Cupcakes, Tarts, Mini Cakes, Medium Cakes and Bigger Cakes. Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, Carrot Cake & Fruit Galore. I could just spend all afternoon drooling over them. Every time I’m in store, I cannot resist buying something. I think it’s because they have Pistachio Macarons screaming my name. Unfortunately, the Macarons aren’t the greatest (sorry WFM!), they are made in London, frozen and then delivered to the store due to the fact they cannot find a supplier closer to home. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy them because I love Macarons but nothing beats a Fresh, Non-Frozen Macaron. The Caramel and Fruit Tarts are great (I’ve had quite a few as my ever expanding waist line will confirm) and I cannot resist the Carrot Cake. I’m sure Carrot Cake is part of your 5 a day. Yes?
A must-visit at WFM has to be the Bread Counter. Proper French Baguettes, Ciabatta, Foccacia and Soda Bread to name a few. The Baguettes are the best I’ve tasted in the UK. I’m rather picky about Baguettes since my parents moved to Paris and my morning ritual was eating part of a Baguette for Breakfast. I detest Baguettes or should I say “French Sticks” out of my closest supermarket, Morrisons. They are far from being anything close to a Baguette. WFM makes an almost perfect Parisian Baguette. The Ciabatta is also one of my must haves and I get it sliced in store as I’m pretty useless with a bread knife. I have a few scars on my fingers as proof. All the bread within WFM used to be Kosher as Giffnock has a high Jewish Population, however, they have now moved away from making Kosher bread which means they can be more creative with bread. In particular, Foccacia with Cheese, Onions & Tomatoes. So light and fluffy. Foccacia is great dipped into Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Well…. any bread is really.
After the store tour, the wonderful staff laid on a table full of food & drinks for us to try. Crackers with Coconut Oil, Beer, Smoothies, Cheese on Toast with Asparagus, Haggis Pies, Various Meat Pies & Carrot Cakes were the main highlights. The food, as ever was wonderful. Who knew that Asparagus worked on Cheese & Toast?! Haggis, Neeps & Potato Pie was delicious. I’m not a big Haggis fan but I think that Pie has converted me.
After snacking on the food, we were given a demo by Max on how to make our own Guacamole, simpler than I though and tastes great fresh. I honestly couldn’t eat anything else, I was so stuffed and had to miss out on some Carrot Cake.
I had a wonderful time at WFM, it was very enlightening to know how passionate all the staff are about their jobs and they couldn’t have been any friendlier. I love WFM and even though I live a good 30 minutes away, it’s worth the trip for the products they sell.
Have you been to Whole Foods Market before? What’s your favourite thing about the store? If you haven’t been, what on earth are you waiting for?!