Soliciting Flavours

Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine

Lockdown living – soliciting supplies from the comfort of my own home

At the moment the last thing I want to do is go to a supermarket. It is a mind numbing experience at the best of times and at the moment there is the added frissons of queuing and dodging the people who seems to have no concept of what amounts to 2 metres (if I can smell someone’s BO they are too close – lockdown or not).

I know us men have a problem when it comes to measuring inches 🙄, but I think even we shouldn’t get metres and inches mixed up!!

In normal times (oh how I wish for those to return), my work base is in Cardiff city centre so I tend to
get my meat, fish, cheese, veg.  and booze at places like Cardiff Indoor Market, Curado Bar, Wally’s etc.

With me now working full time from home (for the foreseeable future it seems) and getting into town pretty much a non starter (even if I had the time), alternative options have had to be explored.

I have set out below how I have been able to source (and receive) in Cardiff my essentials locally without leaving the comfort of my current prison cell (albeit more akin to the one in Goodfellas) aka home.  My fellow cellmate (Mrs. SF aka Grouty) hasn’t shanked me yet, but time is (I fear) not on my side.

Meat

Not a fan of supermarket meat (tends to taste of bugger all) or the idea of visiting a supermarket these day, so what to do in terms of getting hold of quality meat in these trying times.

Pre – Covid 19, I tended to get my meat from Cardiff’s indoor market and most of it from K. Blackmore (first on your far left as you walk in from the High Street entrance).

So when I saw (on my Twitter feed) a tweet from them in terms of home delivery I jumped on the phone and put in an order.When I order from the stall in the market, I always get pork chops as they aren’t pre cut. You get them cut to order and they cut um nice and thick.To this I added some lovely looking Barnsley chops (great tasting too)a massive slab of  steak ( cut off the pin bone – very underrated cut – really tender and here dry aged for 5 weeks plus which gives it a great flavour) and beef mince (when I get the latter in the market it tends to be ground to order so you know exactly what cuts are used).

I rang the order in on a Thursday afternoon and it was delivered on the Saturday (was the Easter weekend so that is pretty darn good). I left cash in an envelope on the door step with an elaborate dance of pick up and drop off.

Payments can be made by online bank transfer for non luddites.

Delivery is free if your order is over £30.
Website: click here

Fish

Again not a fan of supermarket fish as it all tends to look a bit insipid (and disconnected from the real thing).

Personally I love a big counter full of fresh fish, where you  see the stuff’s eyes, gills,  fins, claws et al.Spain excels in fish, with fishmongers everywhere. Below are the glorious fish markets in Cadizand Donostia San Sebastián.Here in Cardiff, despite its maritime position and history, we are somewhat devoid of fishmongers. The shining light in the dark of the deep blue is Ashton fishmongers in Cardiff’s Indoor Market.

Despite the lockdown, they have stayed open and also deliver to the door.I ordered a selection of seabass, cod,  john dory  and crab (brown and white  meat – lovely in a risotto).All nicely packed, so easily put in the freezer.Payment is by electronic banking or over the phone – I did the latter. All very easy.

Website:Click here

Fruit and veg.

We started off with the very good boxes put together by the Heathcock pub (God I miss that place so much),but when these stopped (real shame that) we opted for boxes put together by the people behind Kemis in Pontcanna.

Ordering was easy with an email sent to them with the delivery address and a mobile number.

A link via text message was then received for payment via izettle.Couldn’t have been simpler if am honest.

Deliveries are on Fridays and the boxes are left on the door step, with the bell rung.

I was very happy with the selection and quality (saved me a trip down to Canton, to queue, which was a blessed relief).Nice mix of fruit and veg, with both the basics and some luxuries in there such as chard and a mango.

Website: Click here

Cheese

Many may not regard cheese as an essential, but to me quality cheese is one of those things I really miss when I don’t have it.

First world/ middle class issues I know, but after only a week of lockdown I was craving some quality cheese.

I then notice on the twitter “feed” (how apt) of Gourmet Gorro a retweet of a tweet by an outfit calling itself Ty Caws who deliver to the door quality British cheeses.I  have desperately missed the Cheese Pantry in Cardiff Market, since they shut up shop (Franks taking over their pitch has helped to somewhat assuage my pain), and a chance to stock up on the fabulous cheeses they use to do was something I wasn’t going to pass up on.

Ordering was easy via their website and payment was contactless (reader left on door step with cheese – chap delivering it was at a safe distance and collected the reader when I had closed the door – or online via link they send you).

It all arrived beautifully boxed

and wrapped up.

All the cheese were in perfect nick and a joy to eat.

We had to imprison the Baron Bigot in tupperware to stop it escaping out the door for it’s hour exercise.

The Rollright was close behind it.Glorious cheese, with a second order put in and received already (payment via online link that time).Highly recommend the beauvale – a seriously good blue.


Website: Click here

Booze

Booze is, of course, an essential and as I got down to my last 400 bottles the position was getting pretty desperate 😁.

I managed to kill two birds with one stone by adding a few extras to an order (the two halves) for a virtual tastings by the Mystere Wine Club (great fun).All bought from local vintner Viader Vintners (Gilbert Viader is an esteemed member of the Mystere Wine Club and until very recently the long serving and excellent chairperson – an all round good egg), which has a great selection in their online shop.


Payment is online and the box of wine was left in the doorstep and the bell rung.

They have a rather fine Portuguese offer on at the moment. Bit of a steal I reckon.
Website: Click here

I have also had a beer and wine delivery from the Bottle Shop (in Roath and Penarth and hopefully soon to be in Pontcanna – once this shitstorm is over).

Nice idea whereby you give them a budget (min. £50) and a few clues as to what you like and let them do the rest.I am not a big beer drinker, but Gourmet Gorro’s Twitter and Insta feeds with pictures of loads of beers from the Bottle Shop has always intrigued me – they say us winos come up with weird and wonderful descriptors, but we have nothing on the craft beer drinkers.

I, therefore, put in an order (managed to get my tel. number wrong initially – doh, but par for the course from me) with a £75 (ish) budget and my instructions being “a couple of red wines – not Spanish as have loads of them –  and some sour beers” (not a huge beer drinker, but thought I would give sours a go based on a recommendation as to that style of beer from @Cardiffbites).

Rather exciting to see what actually turned upand I was rather pleased when it did.

Couple of lovely Lebanese and South Africa wines (love Raats wines and been keen to try the juice from Massaya for a while) and some intriguing sours, in particular the Lindermans Oude Gueuze.

Email them at penarth@thebottkeshops.co.uk, with budget, idea of likes/dislikes, address and tel. nos – they will do the rest.

Payment is over the phone.

Website: Click here

Mumbles Fine Wines in Swansea are also doing free delivery to Cardiff addresses on Fridays (order online by 12.00 on Thursday for delivery Friday – tick the option to “pick up from store” to get free delivery) on orders of £20 or more.

Would have been rude not to take up such an offer, so I ordered a dry furmint from Hungary (absolutely adore the sweet stuff, but the dry stuff is also excellent- we should be drinking alot more of it) and a couple of bottles of my beloved sherry (best value, along with Montilla Moriles,  wines in the World in my humble opinion) in the form of a pasada and an en rama manzanilla.


Website: click here 

Spanish stuff

I always regard Spanish food and drink as utterly essential and Curado Bar has manfully stepped into the breach, with a home delivery service.

Email them on enquiries@curadobar.cok.uk and they will send you an order form and list, fill in you details and tick what you want.

You can add other stuff  (I added some wines, of course), that isn’t on the order form (if you are a frequentee of Curado Bar you will know what you like, otherwise check out Ultracomida’s website).

Can highly recommend the Montilla Moriles Bodegas Alvear CB fino (lovely alternative to sherry), the Sentada Sobre La Bestia from Valencia (absolutely cracking wine for the £15.95 price tag) and the Quinta de 67 from  DO Almansa by Bodegas Volver (bottle of the latter great with the pin bone steak from K. Blackmore butchers).


Some great canned goods, cheese and charcuterie can be ordered on top of the fab wines.

They were also doing mighty chuleton at a bargain price.
Not sure if they are still are doing these, but no harm in asking is there!

Pay over the phone and stuff is left on the door step.

Quality gear and I so look forward to being able to sit at the bar at Curado Bar and Vermut in town.

Website: Click here (Ultracomida’s)

Verdict

In these trying times, I take comfort in food and drink  (going to be about 40 stone and needing a forklift to get me out of the house when this is all over).

I have to say Cardiff’s indies (and a Swansea one) have served me admirably during lockdown to date – bravo chaps and chapesses👍.

The supermarkets will always be there, but indies may not be unless we use them. My advice is skip the queues and gives this lot and other indies a go. I doubt you will regret it.

For details of who is doing what, Find My Dine has loads of info. re indies (restaurants and retail suppliers) on their website – well worth a look for what each indie is up to.

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