PUBLISHED: 12:07 10 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:08 20 February 2013
where neighbours become good friends
where neighbours become good friends
Butchers, bakers dont ever rule out the possibility of candlestick makers in Exeters fashionable Magdalen Road where small independent businesses flourish in the shadow of the city centre just a few minutes walk away, writes Tamzin Hindmarch
Recently opened at the top of Magdalen Road is Duo Interiors. Annalisa Patient, who runs the shop has been in the interiors world for years. Starting with a decorative painting business some years ago, Annalisa then progressed into Interior Design and started making curtains, blinds and upholstery.
With her love of fabric, colour and design Annalisa is happy to advise on all aspects of interior decoration. Duo Interiors aims to supply all things for interiors from flooring to lighting, furniture, fabric, wallpaper, curtain poles and a range of accessories along with a complete interior design service. We have a lovely selection of fabric books from leading design houses such as Romo, Villa Nova, Clarke & Clarke, Sanderson as well as a whole assortment of blinds, such as roller blinds, roman blinds, venetians, says Annalisa.
The shop also retails Earthborn paint which is 100% environmentally friendly, has little odour, so it is perfect for childrens rooms, people with allergies, cob walls or other walls that need a breathable paint and is great in steamy rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Among the newcomers is Charlotte Lloyd-Wrigley who opened her first restaurant, Petit Mange, a couple of months ago.
My dad was a restaurant and bar owner and from a very young age I aspired to be like him. Petit Mange is not grammatically correct, but Ive used it because when he asked me as a little girl what I would call my own restaurant, that was my reply.
Having previously worked at Michael Cainess Abode and for a restaurant called Zest in Exeter, when Charlotte later found out the one-time home of the infamous The Cat in the Hat was in the offing, she couldnt resist.
The day we opened, I was so scared I was quaking in my boots, she admits, sitting beneath one of the many bright paintings by local artist George Porter which decorate the walls. The restaurant had been loved for a long time as The Cat in the Hat so I knew it had potential, but the response has been incredible.
The beautifully-presented dishes are the creations of Head Chef Adam Page. Adam has so many good ideas and he is really passionate about food, says Charlotte, giving a guided tour through the evenings Specials Menu. On the day, this includes Confit Rabbit Leg Ravioli with Rabbit Consomm, Moules Marinire served with Soda Bread, and Seared British Beef Fillet served with Dauphinoise Potato, Beetroot Pure and Vine Cherry Tomatoes.
Peter Piper and his wife Henris shop-based and online business has been ranked by The Times as a Top Ten Butcher and won Best Food Producer at the 2007 BBC Food & Farming Awards. Peter himself is one of Rick Steins Food Heroes.
Concerned about certain farming practices and the demise of rural farms, Peter explains their third motive for establishing ethically-conscious Pipers Farm near Cullompton in 1989: In everyones life there comes that watershed moment when you have young children and decide what you are going to feed them.
Today, some 30 local farming families supply meat for slaughter, with Peter monitoring the journey from pasture to plate every step of the way.
In addition to an abundance of rich cuts of meats on show in the counters, other products include pre-prepared meals, such as Moroccan Lamb Casserole, and one-offs like Peters Breakfast Pie, created especially to be sold at Lords.
I think our Red Ruby beef is the star performer, he says, singling out a favourite. There is such a lovely story behind it, and it has been hung so long that people love its depth of flavour.
Fishmonger Richard Beynon has run Gibsons Plaice since 2006. His love of fish and seafood began as a boy watching his dad, a fisherman, go out to sea off the coast at Exmouth.
At 4am every morning, he heads off to the fish markets at Brixham, and often on to Exmouth, buying from local small-scale fishing boats and according to whats in season.
His window display is awash with colour, glistening eyes and glittering scales, and when Richard begins to talk, it is clear he knows the industry inside out.
There are about 40 different species landed into Brixham every year. At the moment its mackerel and sardines, wild salmon and sea trout. There are also squid and cuttlefish around.
The crab and lobster season is in full swing too, he continues, wielding a pair of surprised-looking live ones over the counter.
By going to the market myself, it means I know that the fish is fresh that day, he adds. I know that what Ive selected is of the best quality, and I only buy as much as I need, even if it does mean paying a bit more.
Iain Smith set up his wine shop four months ago. As regulars drop in, he shares his vast knowledge of wines and spirits with them in exchange for updates on family news or events in their lives. This, he says, is what shopping should be about.
It should be your chance to catch up with all the people you bump into on the way. Then, when you get home, you can think about all the wonderful things you have just bought. Shopping in the old traditional way is part of what keeps a community together.
Seated in a big old-fashioned leather armchair reading the Guardian, Danish pastry in hand, as he waits for the next customer, it looks like a scene from a gentlemans study, except that in the place of books on the shelves all around Iain are bottles a few hundred of them.
His well-stocked shop includes many rare and intriguing labels. Black as night, Alicante is a wine named after the only grape to produce its rich red juice, while knockout Navy Strength Plymouth Gin is 100% proof. Yet Iain is happy in the knowledge that most bottles sold are around 7 to 10.
As well as the more expensive and harder to find wines and spirits, I stock a great range of everyday quaffers at 7 and under, because sometimes all you need when you get home from work is to throw your shoes off, sit down with a glass of wine, and just glug and let the woes of the day wash away - myself included, he says.
Among the mainstays of Magdalen Road is the delicatessen which has been there for 24 years. The present owners, Nicola and Tristan Clements, have owned Bon Got for the last decade and now also run Bon Got Catering.
Crammed to the rafters with an assortment of local and continental produce, from speciality wines to cured meats, cheeses, fresh pasta, and preserves, the store also sells quiches, cakes, artisan breads, soups and other deli counter products freshly-made in its own kitchens.
Whether its La Belle Chaurienne Cassoulet au Canard you are looking for, homemade Scotch eggs, or a slab of irresistibly creamy Ticklemore Goats Cheese, Bon Got has it.
Nicola says: We take great pride in Bon Got. We have tried to create a really lovely place to shop. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, and the customers can find out just about anything they need to know about our products from our knowledgeable staff.