Liverpool & Manchester's best food & drink shops

Good food isn't all about eating out. As our best food and drink shops show, delis and emporiums selling the finest food and drink products in the northwest

Feature by Lauren Phillips | 06 Jan 2016

When it comes to stocking your fridge, Liverpool and Manchester have a wealth of food and drink retailers that go above and beyond the aisles of any big supermarket. Whether it's buying a gift for a foodie friend, tracking down that speciality ingredient or just going buckwild on payday, there's always a good reason to head to one of the Northwest’s food and drink retailers.

The Skinny readers like to keep it local, independent and often organic. The votes for Best Food and Drink Shop definitely skewed towards some old favourites, with three of this year’s lineup featuring in last year's survey. Beermoth and Delifonseca made excellent impressions, too, with their fine selection of craft beers and deli meats respectively. We spoke to the other winners, who talked us through their hero products of the moment and how you can use them.

Epicerie Ludo

“Right now, we’re all about a sweet balsamic vinegar dressing called Little Doone. We've been stocking it right from the start and it's always been a firm favourite. Little Doone balsamics have a consistency somewhere between a traditional vinegar and a glaze, which makes them wonderfully syrup-like and fantastic for drizzling. The range of dressings have a sweetness to them, but are versatile enough to be used with savoury dishes. The more savoury varieties are great in pasta dishes and the sweet and fruity varieties are amazing over fruit or ice cream.”

Matta's International Foods

“For us, it has to be Matta’s special blend. It’s a Punjabi curry spice mixture passed down through the generations. Our Bold Street shop has been open for 31 years now but the recipe is much older. It contains 19 different ingredients and is unique to our store; you can't buy it anywhere else. People travel far and wide for the stuff, and we’re often serving people who've moved away from Liverpool but come back to us just to get their fix. It's proved so popular that we’ve recently started producing it in bulk – it's our obligation to make sure it never runs out!”

Unicorn Grocery

“At Unicorn we have a growing file filled with what we think are our stand-out products; our 'recommended file'. We know we're not perfect and neither are all the products we sell, so we’ve created the file in celebration of the companies and products we are proud of.

"Zapatista coffee is an amazing product. It’s grown by a co-op in Mexico, shipped to a co-op in Hamburg for roasting and packaging, then delivered to a co-op in Bristol for wholesale before reaching our shelves. We love us some co-ops! The best thing about it is that the Zapatista movement has been enormously influential in bringing positive social change for the Maya people and profits from the coffee go direct to the communities of the Society of Social Solidarity 'Mut Vitz' (Mountain of Birds) who produce it.”