Food Journey: Huntley’s Country Store
This instalment of my #FoodAdventure takes me to a well known local Food Hall in Preston.
Huntley’s is a shining example of the growth of the farm shop from a produce-led market stall to a destination for a broad cross-section of society. The Country Store acts as a bustling hub for the local community and beyond with regular craft and gift fares, a well-established café, space for other local businesses to showcase and a fabulous food hall.
I’m going to focus on the food hall and pick out a couple of the food finds that I couldn’t walk away from…
The food hall is structured differently to a lot of other farm shops and food halls I’ve visited as most try to emulate the layout that is now commonplace in supermarkets and hitting the shopper in the face with fresh produce or bakery as soon as they walk through the door. Huntley’s have opted for a slightly different approach with impressive displays of new and seasonal artisanal products at the front of store. Your attention is then immediately drawn to the well lit and merchandised butchery and fish counters. Each section is embellished with appropriate sauces, spreads, rubs and carbohydrate meal components to allow the shopper to piece together their meals.
The store has a very definite flow making it easy to navigate and shop and, more importantly, they have resisted the temptation of filling space with mainstream suppliers.
I could have spent hours examining and interrogating each sub-category as it was so exciting and inviting. However, I didn’t have hours so I built a meal with a few food gems to take home and cook for Mrs Munkee.
Bionita Gluten Free Tomato Gnocchi
I love a good gnocchi and I’m all for supporting the free-from revolution but I was a little sceptical about how well this potato treat would translate. I needn’t have worried! The deep tomato flavours were held within a crisp outer case and a soft, fluffy potato treat! Lovely stuff!
Pink’s Lemon and Chive Pesto
This is a stroke of genius. You’d be within your rights to accuse a pesto being quite oily and greasy (because a lot are) but the lemon and chive in this creative concoction lift and cut through any oily mess to give a light and multi-textured pesto. The chunks of pine nut shout provenance, authenticity and quality.
Huntley’s Basil Chicken
I just couldn’t resist. The fresh counter that dressed the back wall of the food hall enticed me to engage and this chicken looked phenomenal with a deep red marinade littered with whole peppercorns, rosemary and basil. The delivery was incredible and it was obvious that the chicken loved the marinade as much as I did because it ran through the whole meat.
Raging Bull Meat Peri Peri Biltong
I’ve started to develop a keen nose for biltong so I’m trying to absorb as many different varieties and subtleties as I can and this certainly added to my repertoire. If I’m honest, it wasn’t at all like I was expecting. I am used to, and prefer, a wetter biltong where the meat melts in your mouth but that’s not what the guys at Raging Bull are pitching for. This biltong is sharp and crisp and comes in shards as opposed to chunks. The flavour isn’t as prominent as you might expect but there is a definite Peri follow on at the back of the throat. I think this type of meat snack would appeal to a different audience as something to be had on the hoof as opposed to a King’s Snack or Gloucester Biltong which you really need to stop, sit down and savour.
Well I would consider this a successful foraging expedition and #FoodAdventure. Good work Preston!