There are many reasons to visit Bradford on Avon, the beautiful Wiltshire town that straddles civic Georgian stone architecture over its underlying river with majestic elegance. There is a very interesting array of small shops and cafes, and within its narrow lanes and arterial route you will find all you will need for your daily victuals.
In The Shambles we found Bloomfields, a delightful old greengrocer’s shop, so pretty and well laid out that we enquired of its owner how long she had been there. “Twenty five years. I started as a helper in the shop, and then eventually I took over it. People always stop to take photos of it, especially the drawers!” So we stepped inside, and there we saw a really traditional old merchant’s wall cabinet, replete with little cupboards, display boxes, pull out drawers and filing sections. If ever this shop closed down, and God forbid it should, the shelves alone would fetch a fortune at retro auction.
The quality of the produce was excellent and we came away with several basketfuls of fresh asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli, pink fir potatoes, baby shallots. Then we stopped at the cheesemonger round the corner, which forms part of the Neston Park Estate. Despite being a very small shop, there is plenty there for a dinner party: cheeses, hams, salamis, olives, stuffed peppers, crackers, fresh bread and pates.
In Maples, the delicatessen and café, we found fresh hot cross buns, chicken pate, fresh local eggs, a myriad of charcuterie, biscuits, cakes and other larder ingredients. You can sit comfortably, watching the customers who come in for their daily coffee and croissant, chatting happily to the staff and buying their lunch time sandwich. We were tipped off that their chicken pate is really superb, so we bought it and it was.
Maples Delicatessen: www.maplesdeli.com
Neston Park farm shop: www.nestonparkfarmshop.com