This is the easy bit since the deli and the café aren’t really about us, they’re about you, the customer. The deli is run by Mike and the café by Katie. We have a great passion for fine food and our business is a labour of love. There’s no great over-reaching ethos of being super ethical (we do our best though) or incredibly high-class. We want this place to be relaxed, friendly and easy going; the kind of place we would love to frequent if, you know, we didn’t already work here.
The Village Delicatessen is the name of our deli. It was the name of the place when we took over and, well, we never got around to changing it. We have been running the deli since the beginning of 2004, but it’s been a shop in one guise or another for many, many years. The building itself is dated back to 1566, although it probably wasn’t somewhere you could get good Brie back then.
We are fanatical about food and like to think the shop reflects this. We’re always on hand to offer advice on all of our products, so even if it’s a little unusual you won’t be left wondering about the best way to use or cook something. We’re also a member of The Guild of Fine Food.
What we stock
We stock a huge range of deli-style items; we have a large cheese counter and meat counter, a wide selection of high quality wines and spirits, biscuits, preserves, ice creams, chocolates, snacks and much more.
We like to think our cheese counter is pretty impressive for a village shop set in a little place like Wivenhoe, and at any one time it harbours around forty different cheeses from around the world. There’s always something begging to be taken home and consumed on some warm bread with a delicious bottle of wine! We try to keep a good range of British cheeses along with a selection of non-cow cheeses; more and more people are lactose intolerant these days and it isn’t fair that they should miss out on something as civilised as cheese!
Sitting just above the cheese are the olives. We keep a few varieties loose, so you can take home a couple of scoops in one of our bio-degradable pots, or there’s a selection of jarred olives such as those bad boys stuffed with anchovies. There’s plenty to choose from and our supplier is Olives et Al, suppliers of some of the highest quality products in the deli market.
As you can see on the left, we also carry a good range of wholefoods along with cooking and baking ingredients; from spelt flour to Maldon sea salt, from Bouillon to Carnaroli risotto rice, along with nuts, dried fruits and a variety of tinned beans. Most of our wholefoods come from Suma, a wholefoods co-operative with a very ethical attitude. For customers that wish to take advantage of Suma’s bulk rates, we are happy to tag extra onto our orders for a mark-up much smaller than that found in-shop.
Biscuits, Cakes and Chocolates
A selection of cherry-picked items from suppliers around the world and quite a few local options too. From the classic Jules Destrooper range of fine biscuits to the rather scrumptious and filling cakes by Mrs. Botham. During the warmer months our rather ancient building gets a bit too warm for chocolate, so our range is very limited during summer. However, from the late autumn and into Christmas we carry an excellent range of choccies, so please pop in and have a look around.
The bread delivery arrives every morning before we open. De’Ath’s Bakery (yes, De’Ath, not Death, the apostrophe is important!) drops off the loaves, rolls and cakes still warm from the ovens. The previous day’s bread is taken away and offered up to the animal sanctuary in Mistley.
We take daily orders from customers and can even supply the bread in larger quantities should you be catering for an event. Please be aware, we don’t do any catering ourselves!
The world has enough problems without the supermarkets flying strawberries across the globe to be sold in this country, during strawberry season. We’re a little guilty of this long-haul food supply as well, but being a delicatessen, it is kind of the idea. We do balance this by offering a range of local produce. Along with jams, honeys and cheese, we also have beers from nearby Sticklegs Brewery, eggs from Happy Hens in Thorrington (yes, that place where the hens all roost in old caravans) and last but far from least, the magical, meaty offerings from Primrose Pork in Great Bromley.
Knowing where to end this page is difficult. We are very passionate about food, our shop and our local community, so the temptation is to keep rambling on. The only way you’ll really get to grips with what we have to offer is to pop in and see us. And once you’ve done your shopping, maybe pop through to next door…
The Tudor Tearooms is our café. As with the deli, it’s a business we just never found the time to re-brand. It’s not really a tearoom in the traditional sense; lots of light lunches and we do serve a fantastic cream tea, but there are no net curtains and there isn’t a doily in sight.
The café serves fully free-range, and for the most part local cooked breakfasts. Only the tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans come from further afield, but everything is English. Seems a little silly to call it a ‘Full English’ otherwise!
Later in the day, light lunches are available and range from sandwiches and beans on toast, to jacket potatoes and slow-cooked casseroles.
We try to keep the menu simple so that we can keep the quality high and our customers satisfied and full. There are no beds of mash, you won’t get any jus and never would we even think about topping your lunch with a sprig of parsley.
Lunches aren’t served all day though – in the afternoon it’s a little more of the traditional tearoom affair. There’s plenty of home-made cakes, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a good selection of hot drinks, including Teapigs tea and fantastic coffee. The cake selection – much like the ‘specials’ menu – changes almost daily, and it all depends on what we fancy making at the time.
The importance of a good coffee
Along with our delicious home-made cakes we serve a great selection of coffee types, from basic black coffee to frothy cappuccinos and the terribly trendy, tightly foamed, flat whites. It’s to be expected that we have a bit of a boast on our website, but we tend to agree when people tell us we serve the best coffee for many, many miles. We offer a good selection, but if you have a personal favourite we haven’t listed, just ask and we’ll be happy to help.
Just don’t expect milk if you ask for an Americano – it’s a black coffee. Deal with it.