Beetroot and buckwheat risotto

Derby’s food heroes

Having lived in Derby, albeit in two houses now for nearly seven years, I am reaching the watershed where it will overtake, in the next eighteen months, the places I have previously spent the longest in my life. I have had a rather nomadic existence up until now but overall I like Derby. It has got a great mix of small city and accessible countryside with public transport and road links that make getting to other places really easy.

One thing I particularly enjoy is that there is still a myriad of small businesses that serve not only the English community in the city but also the different ethnicities that have chosen to make their home here. Between them, it is possible to eat really cheaply and healthily, whilst enjoying the benefits of personal service and keeping money for the best part in the local economy. Here is my list of the top ‘Derby Food Heroes’ that I would recommend for food shopping:

Gerald Langley Greengrocers, Osmaston Road.

I have shopped at Gerald Langleys since I moved to Derby in 2012, and was pleased to see the business revitalised when taken over by its current owners. As well as an amazing selection of fruit and vegetables in the shop, the business now offers a free delivery service which is a great addition to the local community for people who may be less able to get out and about. There are regular ‘deals’ featuring two fruit or veg for £2.00 which are possible to mix and match within. I particularly like the fact that there are often unusual vegetables and fruit for sale, depending on what is available at the wholesale market. Recently I have tried multi-coloured beetroot and carrots and pineberries. Gerald Langley’s also make eating seasonally and locally much easier as all product growing regions are listed and a good proportion of the produce is grown locally within the East Midlands.

Puri Food Store, Stenson Road.

Considering the latest craze for bulk sold goods Puri foods are ahead of the curve for this trend, having sold dried goods from sacks ‘just like back home’ for several years, at fantastic prices too. The business owners are always really friendly and the shop sticks not only a huge range of nuts, spices and pulses that you can buy in bulk straight from sacks but a massive range of other items that are essential for me on a gluten-free diet. These include many different GF flours (gram, coconut, rice, water chestnut), alongside really beautiful Indian chutneys. paneer, live apple cider vinegar, organic coconut oil and natural live yoghurt. The fresh food section supplies beauties such as fresh tamarind, Medjool dates sold loose again and fresh turmeric root. Puri food has almost become my ‘local shop’ the place where I pop in for milk and a chat if I want to get out of the house for a walk and some fresh air. A real gem and almost impossible to discover unless you walk in because they have no website.

Terry’s Butchers

I only discovered Terry’s (named after the original proprietor and now run by his apprentice Ram) after moving to Sunny Hill and have once again got the pleasure of a local butcher I can walk to. Terry’s range of products reflects the diversity of his customers, selling the typical English favourites of pasties, pies and honey alongside prepared Tandoori curry, mutton and goat meat which I am looking forward to trying soon.

Every time I have visited, nothing has been too much trouble and Ram has taken the time and care to make sure I have everything I needed. Alongside a huge range of meat products (some of which do require preordering) Ram also sells a range of bread, eggs and basic vegetables.

Supersam, Pear Tree Road.

I LOVE Supersam. This shop has got a meat and cheese deli the length of the back of the shop and the most amazing on-site bakery that sells cakes that put Bird’s to shame, in terms of size, quality and price. If you are into breads made from different flours there are a variety of sourdough and rye loaves to pick from. I get a whole lot more of my gluten-free shopping from here, including potato starch and buckwheat flour (both essential for GF home blended flours), plus buckwheat groats, an amazing range of herbal and fruit teas and healthy rice cakes about a fifth of the price you would find them in Sainsbury’s just up the road. The spirits section is second to none. If you are a vodka fan I urge you to venture forth and have a gander as the range of Polish and Eastern European spirits is huge. Quite a few people would be put off, I know, by the fact that many of the labels and staff are not English but please don’t let this stop you. I have always managed to make myself understood and google translate can go a long way in deciphering labels.

Chung Wah Chinese Supermarket, Wilmot Street.

The last of the food heroes I have discovered in Derby and an absolute must if you like Asian food. Chung Wah caters for a host on different Asian cuisines, including Japanese, Filipino and Thai from what I have seen on the shelves. It is also another regular stop off for me as a gluten-free shopper as it stocks a massive range of GF noodles (sweet potato starch, corn starch, mung bean starch or brown rice?) as well as everything that I need for making homemade kimchi.

The staff have always been incredibly friendly and helpful and I have found some unusual and fun presents for friends, including Japanese Sake wine and chopsticks for kids. The last great benefit is the free parking which is located just across the road, meaning that there is no need to pay through the nose to get your goods.

Dumelow’s Dairy

Dumelow’s are a dairy farm that sells raw cow’s milk from a chilled automated dispenser at the entrance to their farm. Raw milk can only be legally sold directly from the farm in the UK. The ethos of the store is really sustainable; the cabin includes reusable glass one-litre bottles that are great value and useful for a whole host of stuff. I also use mine for storing iced tea in the fridge. Alongside the milk, the farm sells a range of honey and other jams from different local makers and operates with an honesty box. The dispenser is available until 9pm each day.

That’s the end of my list of food heroes for the city of Derby. I know that new shops often come and go, so if you know of anywhere else worth a mention please stick it in the comments below.

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