Winchester has a handful of shops selling food produce, but what we lack in quantity we certainly make up in quality. Now all we need is a butcher and greengrocers!
Chococo , High Street
If you haven’t visited Chococo then stop what you are doing, put down your phone and get down there immediately. If it is a hot day, I insist you go straight for the ice-cream. I cannot even begin to describe how good their chocolate ice cream is and there are a number of other fantastic flavours too – check out my niece with the strawberry – she insists we visit overtime she’s in Winchester. Not only can you get a cone to eat there and then, they also sell tubs you can take home for your freezer if it makes it that far. If it is winter when you arrive, stay inside the cafe and enjoy an indulgent hot chocolate. But mainly, I come here as it is the perfect place to buy gifts. Take a look at the image below of the Easter egg I bought my dad last year – absolutely stunning – almost too pretty to eat. My sister who is dairy and soy free and had given up hope of any decent chocolate – no problem for Chococo – the really lovely staff pointed me in the direction of some suitable chocolate – hoorah! I was bought some of the gin chocolates as a gift for my birthday – they were almost too pretty to eat, but I managed it. But don’t just wait to buy gifts, they also have things like small pots of buttons which are delicious when you want just a bit. Really great shop, high quality products – enjoy!
Char Teas, High Street
Do you like tea? If you do and even if you don’t, you are going to find something you love on offer at Char. This shop, unassuming on the outside offers over 150 different types of tea. In the shop, small glass pots are out in front of the teas so you can get a really good sniff before buying. And if you are still not sure, the staff give really good advice about what you might like and also the important things like how to get the best from each tea too, steeping time, temperature of water etc. Char sell all of the tea paraphernalia you require – pots, diffusers etc. Last time I visited, I had arrived back from a trip to Tokyo where I had become obsessed with this toasty green tea which I had no idea what it was called. Char helped me identify it (if you are interested it was an incredible genmaicza tea which is combination of Japanese sencha, mild matcha and peeled toasted rice -just wonderful). So whatever your tastes, you will definitely find something in Char for you.
The Cheese Stall , High Street
Oh how I love you Cheese Stall. I love you so much that my husband restricts my visits. I love you so much that I massively over bought Christmas cheese from you this year and then had to use it up by making a giant cheese bread hedgehog for New Year (which was epic). Have I mentioned how much I love it?
What I love about The Cheese Stall is that the people who run it have excellent knowledge about the cheeses they stock. Not only can they quickly identify what you might like and help you decide, but they also let you know when a cheese is at its best, whether it will go with the wine you are having, what temperature you want to get it up to, and how much you should buy (I tell them that its for more people than it is so I get more). While they have a great stall in the High Street it’s also really nice to visit them in their HQ out towards Winnall.
The Cheese Stall is on the High Street just outside Laura Ashley, every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On Thursdays you can visit them at their HQ in the Business Park (details on their website)
Kingsgate Wines and Provision Kingsgate Street
When we first moved to Winchester, we lived on Canon Street. We had moved down from Brixton and within the first week we realised that there were no supermarkets open past 7pm (at this point there was no Tescos in town). What we did discover was that at the end of our road was Kingsgate Wines and Provisions. Here we could stock up on fresh produce, eggs, a decent range of dried goods, a small selection of meats, local cheeses and an excellent selection of wines at a range of prices. It also has dry cleaning that you can drop off and pick up. As well as being a really excellent local store, it is undeniably gorgeous too and staffed by lovely people. Drop in.
Asian Food Hall, Upper Brook Street
No website to link to here, but this is one of my top shops in Winchester which while never packed out always has a steady stream of customers. I absolutely love exploring the aisles to see what I can buy and use at home. I am obsessed with dim sum and here is where I get the frozen pre-made ones, but also the ingredients such as the specialist flour if I am attempting to make my own. So much variety packed into these small aisles with products from China, Japan, Thailand, India and more. As a bonus there is a really good restaurant/cafe on one side of the shop – I’m sure we will be reviewing that on here soon – I’m almost reluctant to spread the word of how good it is.