I love Marlow, a lovely town by the River Thames with a good choice of restaurants and cafes and for special treats a glass of champagne down by the river at The Compleat Angler. The one downside about Marlow is the lack of a decent butchers, fishmongers and nice smelly foodie shops (OK well there is Waitrose and that's lovely but it doesn't really count as you can be in and out with no idea of which town you're in).
What I mean is the kind of foodie shop that you're drawn to because it 'looks interesting' and then HAVE to enter because the smells that are emanating from the door are so tantalising that you NEED to find out what's inside. Your eyes tempt your
nose guides you and then, suddenly you are off the street and into an enchanted wonderland of food. Welcome to Gather and Hunt.
Martina Hunt is the passion behind this delicious shop that fits in so well into Marlow that it's difficult to believe that it hasn't been there forever. Almost too good to be true, like Marlow can't believe that Gather and Hunt has recently arrived and doesn't want to admit that it's not been there for years. It's the kind of foodie shop that makes such strong memories in childhood that you have to revisit when you grow up. For us grown ups it's an excuse to have an impromptu dinner party, just because the selection of goodies is so divine I challenge you to leave empty handed. If you really can't decide then they will put together a hamper, one of their specialities, either off the shelf or bespoke.
One of the best touches (apart from the food) is the fabulous customer service from Martina and her staff, always on hand to make sure food shopping is fun, suggesting favourite products and gently coaxing customer's tastes to match new delicacies and products that they may like. Products are sourced locally where possible; Milk comes from Lacey's Farm in Lane End, meat comes from Town Farm in Bisham, Bruce from The Black Pig in Hambleden Valley makes the sausages. Martina and her team know the stories and the people behind all the products and it's all interwoven with delicious tastings and events too.
Mojito marmalade, Trotter's Hot Pepper Jelly (the chap who makes this is only 25 years old and is from Scotland, OK he's not local but he'd just left uni, couldn't get a job and his parents returned from Italy with this wonderful condiment that they couldn't source in Scotland. He found a recipe, fiddled with it and made it himself, then launched it as a business) it is amazing in chocolate cake, giant rye bread the size of wagon wheels, real ones, not the tiny marshmallow ones that have shrunk since I was a kid, fabulous chocolates, oooh I love this shop. A combination of food, stories and a knack of putting the fun back into food shopping. Abandon supermarkets, we need more Gather and Hunt's, this is how food shopping should be.
Gather and Hunt, 63 High Street, Marlow 01628 482267
[email protected] http://www.gatherandhunt.co.uk @gatherhunt