GG and I have been fortunate enough now to visit the US twice. On both trips we found ourself at a place called Whole Food Markets on the nights when we couldn’t be bothered heading out for dinner or when we had an early flight and needed to pack a breakfast. Wholefood Markets are amazing shops. So much choice and everything looks amazingly fresh and it’s just so convenient!
There was beautiful baked goods, a well-stocked deli section, a dizzying array of soups and salads and sliced fruit, all pre-prepared and ready to go in a range of different containers. It made life incredibly easy and also meant that on those mornings when we did have to get to the airport early, we could enjoy a tasty fresh breakfast without having to buy an old sandwich or stale muffin at the airport. Now I digress. I’ve often thought in Perth that we need more grocery stores like this. Sure, there seems to be a definite move by the bigger chains to have more pre-prepared meals available to make busy lives that bit easier but what’s on offer in my opinion can get a bit samey.
We are lucky in Perth that there are a few gourmet grocers that stock some unique products with a definite slant towards West Aussie offerings, which can only be a good thing. One such fine establishment is The Herdsman in Churchlands. I’d heard of the Herdsman and followed their Facebook page but hadn’t actually visited their store. Recently an opportunity presented itself, when I was asked if I would like to be the Herdsman’s guest blogger for the month of November. This meant I could head along and check out their store, fill my basket with their compliments, and share my thoughts. Indeed I would.
From the freshest fruits to the crispest vegetables, The Herdsman is proud to lead the way in the range and quality of our products.
Built on family traditions with a conscientious and deliberate investment in high standards and customer service, The Herdsman has been part of the local community for over three decades.
So GG and I visited on Melbourne Cup Day (which also happened to be my birthday – perfect timing!) to select a few choice items for our lunch. It is a beautiful store. Everything is neatly arranged and well laid out in the various sections. We happily drifted down the fresh fruit and veg aisles, past the vast range of different salads and pre-prepared dinner options and on to the cheese section. I was fairly enamoured with the cheese – there was a lovely range available, both local and some international selections too. And what goes well with cheese? Has to be bread! They have their own in house bakery, so there’s a lovely smell of freshly baked bread in that section. Then there is a fish monger (who had some very impressive cuts of sashimi grade tuna on offer) and also a butcher, where all the meat looked incredibly fresh. Finally there was a deli, with more salads (created by Herb Faust; I’ve been fortunate enough to sample his wares at the Breast Cancer WA Long Table lunch for the past two years) and a variety of products that would make life very easy for lunches or dinners – roast meat and veg, schnitzels, meatballs, etc. As we wandered around, it became apparent that the Herdsman is a very well stocked store and also has many of those hard to find items, like truffle butter – I thought that was something I’d only be able to get in my Urban Locavore box once a year 🙂
With the lay of the land sorted, it was time to shop! Feeling festive on Cup day we decided we’d go with a picnic style shared menu for our lunch. We went with:
- A packet of Princi cold meats
- Baby beef cutlets
- Greek salad
- Potato Salad
- A baguette
- Australian goats cheese
- Fromager D’Affinois
It made for quite the impressive spread when all set up at home and everything was super fresh. As much as I enjoyed the salads (and it was an indulgently creamy potato salad, which had us both raving!) and the cold meats were all lovely, my favourite part of lunch was actually a slice of baguette with some of the divine creamy brie ceremonially smushed on top. Ahh joy. Life’s simple pleasures. Bread and cheese. It was so, so good. Definitely a solid intro to the Herdsman’s offerings.
Dessert on this visit (because it was my birthday and I’ll have dessert at lunchtime if I want to 🙂 ) was one of their individual sticky date puddings. We already had vanilla ice cream at home, so it was as easy as throwing them in the microwave for a minute and the dreamy caramel sauce went all gooey! With a generous scoop of icecream on top, we were set. I thought these were just a great size and the cake was lovely and moist and that sauce – yum!!
We’d also bought a few things for dinner. It was a tough decision when we’d been at the butcher as to what to get, but we opted for some Greek Lamb souvlaki and along with that some baby carrots, green beans and I’d whipped up a mint yoghurt sauce (with Brownes plain yoghurt). Again no faulting the quality. The flavouring of the meat was delicious and the vegies had plenty of crunch when steamed. I like baby carrots. They make a meal feel a little fancy lined up like orange soldiers on the plate.
I was quite happy with my sauce too and had been fairly generous on the mint front, with thanks to the herb section at the Herdsman where you can buy it by the kilo. Not that there was a kilo in this sauce, obviously, but nice not to have to get it pre-packed, just pick the sprigs you want 🙂
So it had been quite the birthday of feasting with thanks to the Herdsman. They are offering an impressive range of very high quality products and for the convenience of being able to duck in and have a healthy meal all sorted, it’s a much better option than calling into one of the fast food chains any day of the week 🙂