Central Market's bringing a bit of London to Texas.
There are a number of special items at Central Market's Passport United Kingdom event, including Prince Charles' Mey Selections.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
From the passion and expertise of the farmers responsible for each ingredient to the rich cultural influences and generations of history represented in a particular dish, there is so much beauty behind the simple act of making a meal. It is easy to forget this while grocery shopping.
Texas-based Central Market has long been my grocery store of choice, not only for its foodie-approved selection of fresh produce and carefully curated brands, but also its knack for reminding me of the excitement and art of cooking — even when I am braving the post-work rush to restock on Kize bars and wine.
Central Market’s enthusiasm about a good theme is infectious (if you have ever gone there in August and ended up leaving with 1,000 different forms of hatch chile, you know what I mean). But the current promotion, “Passport United Kingdom,” takes the crown as the best yet — and definitely merits a visit before it ends this Tuesday, October 2.
The upscale grocery store chain’s annual passport series celebrates the cuisine of various countries and regions around the world by integrating authentic local food, wines, spices, cheeses, produce and more throughout the stores. Previous years have been devoted to Greece, Mexico, Italy, France, Argentina, and other countries known for their cuisine.
Which begs the question: Why Britain?
Well, while the bangers and mash and “Cullen Stink” in the prepared food case won’t appeal to all, the array of items sourced across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales includes plenty of gems — many of which have never before been sold in the United States.
Among them: the most extensive collection of British sparkling wines ever offered this side of the pond, including Chapel Down Brut, which is served at Buckingham Palace and the Royal Opera House; London’s Newby Teas; Elderflower Cheddar from Quicke’s Cheese — established in 1540; pretty soap flowers by Heathcote & Ivory; and an assortment of Scottish biscuits, smoked salmon, and cheese handpicked by Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, himself for Mey Selections, his initiative to support farmers in the Scottish Highlands. (Central Market is now one of five retailers in the world to carry Prince Charles’ line.)
If you’re still not convinced, it is worth going for the decorations alone. Dallas’ Lovers Lane location is swathed in Union Jacks, potted boxwoods, and flying corgis, and life-sized cutouts of Meghan and Harry stand watch over the wine section. And, for the pièce de résistance, the Queen of England herself stands to greet you at the entrance, just ahead of the row of shopping carts.