We’re not talking supermarkets or department store food halls here: these are Manchester’s truly independent food emporiums, where the cake is beautifully crafted, the wines are from all over the world and the chocolate is the finest artisan you can find. Tuck in!
Here are our picks
Almost right next door to Manchester Cathedral, in one of the most pleasant parts of town, Hanging Ditch Wine Merchants have bottles covering the entire back wall, floor to ceiling. Their selection is largely high end, and includes some very fine wines indeed, as well as some more esoteric options, such as Portuguese Orange Wine (a white that’s made, unusually, with the inclusion of the grape skins). If you’re after beer instead, head for the specialist Beermoth shop on Tib Street.
Tucked snugly away in the Northern Quarter, the Bonbon Chocolate Boutique does the best hot chocolate in the city (seriously) in a range of flavours, as well as deliciously rich and alluring nibbles. There are densely rich brownies alongside chocolates in unconventional flavours like stilton and caramel, cardamom, and lemongrass. You can enjoy a couple at one of the sweet little tables in the shop, amidst the heady scent of cocoa, or put together a selection box to go.
Bringing the taste of Catalonia to Manchester’s Barton Arcade, Lunya’s latest delicatessen and restaurant is all set to replicate the massive success that it’s been enjoying in Liverpool. The Manchester deli is an authentically decorated larder of treats both sweet and savoury, stacked to the rafters with more than 1,000 Spanish and Catalan specialties, including hams carved from the bone, and jars and jars of olives. Other delis we can recommend include Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar (Italy’s finest), Thyme Out Delicatessan in Didsbury and continental bakery Barbakan Delicatessen in Chorlton.