Harp Lane Deli

Ludlow, Shropshire


Look for the buttercup-yellow sign swinging breezily above Harp Lane to spot this Shropshire delicatessen. Squeezed into a higgledy-piggledy medieval shop at the heart of Ludlow’s historic market square, the cheerful food store was first conceived by owners Henry and Hannah Mackley on the back of a beer mat over drinks with friends. If only hop-fuelled brainstorming reaped such delicious results every time.

Nigella Lawson once wrote that shopping for good food was as much of a pleasure as cooking it. At Harp Lane Deli, perusing colourful cans of La Fiammante tomatoes and Perelló olives might triumph over doing any actual cooking, if the delicacies themselves weren’t so inspiring. A peek through the warmly lit storefront on an overcast autumn afternoon reveals a Diagon Alley-style display of towering shelves and wonky walls crammed with boldly designed products that look beautiful and taste great. Gargantuan jars of American McClure’s pickles tower skyward, brilliantly bright Ortiz anchovy tins leap from the shelves and elegant white boxes of Billington’s Gingerbread sit beside smartly suited packs of Torres Black Truffle crisps and sunny tins of Nuñez de Prado olive oil.

Duck under the dangling wreaths of garlic and saucisson and fill your tote bag – in signature yellow – with Italian pasta and Spanish saffron fronds. You’ll find a stash of potion-like concoctions on the shelves, from the wickedly wonderful Geo Watkins anchovy sauce to La Tourangelle’s garlic, walnut and avocado oils. Take time to linger at the deli counter, where the ever-cheerful Jules will happily enrich your cheeseboard with wedges of rich, nutty Hafod Lampeter and creamy Shropshire Blue. You might not spot Henry, busy toiling away upstairs in a diminutive, skewwhiff kitchen, but do make sure to sample his signature bake, pastel de nata, precarious piles of which appear – like magic – every so often upon the deli counter. A caramelised custard tart and a cup of Harp Lane coffee are best enjoyed fresh, perched on a stool at the window bar. harplane.com


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