Our City Shop-hop feature allows our readers to travel the globe discovering shops off-the-beaten track full of weird and wonderful items not typically found on the high street.
Here, Ann, a Publications Manager from London, tells us about the Balkan food and
1/ Why have you picked this shop as your favourite?
Vardar is a shop in Askew Road, Acton, near where I work, and I love it dearly. It sells, as the sign says, Fine Balkan food and wine. I love it because it’s a break from the ubiquitous Tesco Metros, Sainsburys Locals and Marks and Spencers that we all wander into automatically at lunchtime, to buy the same old stuff.
2/ What can you buy in this shop?
In here you can buy all different kinds of interesting spicy sausages, big jars of sauerkraut, buckets of live yoghurt, good tangy pickles, and questionable wine, all at a reasonable price. You can also buy a strong coffee and sit outside with it to watch the passers-by for ten minutes or so, before the traffic fumes get to you. Polish builders often do this – heavily tattooed with builder’s’ sunburn, sitting on the dainty little chairs.
3/ What display feature do you like best about the shop?
There used to be a lot more interesting signs in the windows – notices about forthcoming Hungarian social evenings and ads for nannies, au-pairs and men-with-vans, but they have tarted it up recently. Still, the main sign above the windows has always cheered me. VARDAR! with a big sunburst behind it and surrounded by Southern European flags, all hand painted. I looked up Vardar in case it had a significant definition, and it is indeed a river in Macedonia.
4/ What did you last buy from here?
My last purchase from this shop was a big fat jar of sauerkraut (£1.20) and I couldn’t resist picking up a packet of vanilla Slag cream, as it was by the counter. I haven’t risked making it yet…
5/ If you could give it a marketing slogan, what would it be?
Long live Vardar! Long may it shine out proudly amongst the drab chains that increasingly crowd our local shopping streets.
If you want to treat yourself to a Balkan bite, visit: 7 High St, London W3 6ND