Almost as exciting as Justin Bieber

6 Nov

What can make grown women jump up and down in a parking lot, squealing for joy?

Whole Foods has come to town.

I wish I could say I got a special tour — because I AM A BLOGGER — but really, I just slouched in with everyone else getting a pre-opening tour.  That’s okay.  I was thrilled to be there.  The rows of empty produce baskets and shelves taunted me.

This man gave me a tiny free cup of delicious coffee, roasted on site, made specially just for me.  I could taste the America.  I’m in love with him.  Just a little bit.

Casks of wine, where you can bring your refillable, reusable, recyclable wine bottle for a fresh pour.  (Not bulk olive oil, as I prematurely imagined, influenced by Martha-Stewart-tinged memories of stateside Whole Food adventures.  Whole Foods, you have so much to teach me.)

Bulk spices!  Piles of glory!  And the countertops are recycled church benches!  Because we are here to worship.

Bulk legumes!  Scoop out some goodness!

What?!  There’s a bar in Whole Foods?  I also love the man who gave me this fine sample of a local beer.

Um … and I also love this man, who gave me super-fine slices of three-year dry-aged ham.  It was like eating the god of bacon.

This man was a little too excited about me taking his photo.  I’m not in love with him.  But I like him just fine.  He has a very large knife.

I … ah … yummy.

I’ve been avoiding breads, lately.  I have a feeling that may change.  At least a little.  At least once.

And this lovely man gave me a sample of braised pork with some kind of honey-chipotle elixir.  I add him to my string of  new loves.

Burp.  Okay, there’s room for one more … buttery salmon …

There’s even an outdoor space with a (very small) play area, tables, and a fire pit.  As the guide said: “Ambiance.

Whole Foods plied me with lovely food samples, and sent me home with all sorts of goodies — but I promise, the goodies had nothing to do with this post.  It probably sounds absurd and shallow, and it’s not like I could afford to shop at Whole Foods back home all the time, but finding a familiar store in a new country — products, ethos, styling — is an almost desperate comfort.  It will be interesting to see how the store does in this already-saturated-with-groceries town. Whole Foods appears to be marketing itself as a destination, a lifestyle experience: come for a morning yoga class, stay for a coffee, pick up some organic/ethically-sourced/lux specialty items, watch a cooking demo, grab a fresh custom pizza from the deli before you go.

Also: yummy.

(Don’t worry, we’ll soon be back to our regularly scheduled castles or ghost stories or cultural adjustments — just as soon as I go grab a cup of coffee at my new favorite cafe … )


13 Responses to “Almost as exciting as Justin Bieber”

  1. Tanya November 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    How exciting! I have thought about taking a day trip into London just to go to the Kensington Whole Foods. I have heard rumors that they will build on in Richmond, which would a little closer to me. Have fun shopping and browsing all things food!

    • Monique November 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      SO much fun! Super crowded on opening day. If you go, I hope it feels worth the trip!

  2. Andrea November 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Agggh, we’re out of town this week, so I’m feeling a little sad 😦 I’m really curious to know how much it’s like the store in Annapolis … the same pizzas? I could only hope!! homemade tortillas? I’m not holding out for this one. Ohh, I can’t wait to visit!! Thanks for the sneak preview!!

    • Monique November 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Did not try the pizzas today, and forgot to check the tortillas! That’s settled, you’ll just have to go check it out when you return.

      • Andrea Kimball November 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

        We’re heading there between here and home 🙂

  3. Zazzy November 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    I’m so jealous! My closest Whole Foods is about 140 miles away – which seems a little far to go for grocery shopping.

    • Monique November 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Oh, wow! Yes, that would be very far. Gas would cost almost as much as the groceries!!

  4. Sarah November 10, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    Dirty (jealous whore) looks from East Midlands. I *know* it’s not your fault. I hope you know my dirty looks are all in good fun.

    • Monique November 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      I know, I know, and I am riddled with guilt by my extreme good fortune. Not too much guilt, of course … not enough to keep me from going back … over and over …. (Totally picturing Sassy Gay Friend describing you with his catch-phrase, lol)

  5. Sally - My Custard Pie November 12, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Is this in Cheltenham?!

    • Monique November 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Oh, indeed it is! And completely slammed with traffic and crowds the first week.


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