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Guide

The Big Christmas Food Shop: the best independent traders in Manchester

3 months ago

Cooking Christmas Dinner is a stressful affair. You only have one chance to get it right. Well, until next year anyway. Swap the supermarket for a trip to these brilliant independents when it comes to your Big Christmas Food Shop.

Despite what top chefs might tell you, it’s not all skill. A lot of it comes down to choosing the right ingredients. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and you can’t make a stunning Christmas centrepiece out of a just-about-defrosted turkey from the freezer cabinet.

We’ve rounded up the best local traders in (or near) Manchester to help you put together the perfect festive roast and keep you feasting through to the New Year. And if it all goes wrong, at least you’ll have bought some quality wine with which to drown your sorrows.

  • Two organic steaks at Axons of Didsbury, a butchers in Manchester
    Didsbury

    Axons of Didsbury

    Butchers

    Axons of Didsbury is an independent family business, always happy to go the extra mile for their customers.

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  • Chorlton

    Barbakan Deli

    Groceries

    The folks at Barbakan have been nose to the grindstone for over 50 years – they were here long before Chorlton became a hip coffee culture destination.

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  • Christmas beers at Carringtons, a bottle shop in Chorlton
    Chorlton

    Carringtons

    Bottle Shop

    According to Decanter, ‘Manchester is lucky to have Carringtons’ and in the world of wine that counts for a lot. This Chorlton independent bottle shop won Best Regional Wine Shop (North West England) in the 2023 Decanter Retailer Awards.

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  • Selection of British cheese at Chorlton Cheesemongers, an independent, artisan cheese shop
    Chorlton

    Chorlton Cheesemongers

    Cheesemongers

    Chorlton Cheesemongers isn’t just a shop that sells cheese. No, it’s a uniquely-adapted, humidity controlled space which specialises British and Irish cheeses.

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  • cork of the north heaton moor restaurant
    Book Now Heaton Moor

    Cork of the North Heaton Moor

    Bottle Shop

    You can probably tell from the pun-tastic name that you don’t need to be a serious grape connoisseur to feel at home in Cork of the North Stockport. Like its sibling in Sale, this wine shop and bar displays a refreshing lack of stuffiness and elitism – and actively welcomes those of us who need a little guidance when it comes to choosing a decent tipple.

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  • cork of the north wine bar sale restaurant
    Book Now Sale

    Cork of the North Sale

    Bottle Shop

    Cork of the North Sale smudges the line between wine merchant and wine bar even before you’ve had a glass. Chances are, if you nip in just for a drink, you’ll leave with a bottle or two to take home, and vice versa.   

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  • Grape to Grain in Prestwich, a bar and bottle shop with barrels to enjoy an al fresco tipple
    Prestwich

    Grape to Grain

    Bottle Shop

    Grape to Grain is a bar and bottle shop in Prestwich specialising in – as the name suggests – wine and beer.

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  • Some of the home-prepped, local produce available at Mettrick's Butchers in Glossop - one of the best butchers in Manchester and the surrounding areas.
    Glossop

    Mettrick’s Butchers

    Butchers

    Back in the early 1900s, John Mettrick’s great granddad’s uncle left his job at a butchers in Manchester equipped with just a sausage recipe and a dream. 12o years later and Mettrick’s Butchers is still going strong (and its sausages are as popular as ever).

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  • A crab at Chorlton fishmongers Out of the Blue.
    Chorlton

    Out of the Blue

    Fishmongers

    Out of the Blue manages to making selling fish cool. It’s a lovely shop with sea-inspired abstract paintings, changing window art, boatloads of shimmering, clear-eyed fresh fish and some of the friendliest staff you’ll find.

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  • A harvest of apples at Platt Fields Market Garden in Fallowfield
    Fallowfield

    Platt Fields Market Garden

    Farm Shop

    Platt Fields Market Garden is a muddy bit of the good life in urban Manchester. It’s a fantastic community growing project, ran by Manchester Urban Diggers (MUD). You can taste the fruit (and veg) of their labours in the café and you can also buy fresh produce from their stall.

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  • Winter window and winter wine at Reserve Wines, a wine merchant in West Didsbury
    West Didsbury

    Reserve Wines

    Bottle Shop

    Reserve Wines was set up by Kate Goodman more than twenty years ago and it’s still going strong. Kate certainly knows her stuff, occasionally presenting BBC Food and Drink as the resident wine expert. But you don’t need a telly license to see the knowledge in action, just hop on a tram to Burton Road.

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  • Bottles and baubles at Salut Wines, a bar and bottle shop in Manchester city centre
    Manchester City Centre

    Salut Wines

    Bottle Shop

    Salut Wines is a proper wine bar of the sort you don’t see very often in the UK. There are no aspirations to hip bar style and no jumping on the latest trend bandwagon, just excellent wines, many of which are available by the glass thanks to Enomatic wine dispensers. In fact, letting the wine speak for itself is what makes Salut such a cool spot.

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  • Hot chocolate and the Chocolate Challenge at Slattery in Manchester.
    Whitefield

    Slattery

    Bakeries

    Much like Betty’s in Harrogate, a trip to Slattery in Whitefield can be a day out in its own right. This bakery and cake shop has been in business in North Manchester for over fifty years – and now houses a cafe, cookery school, and wedding cake showroom – as well as the shop itself.

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  • Steaks from Taylors of Sale, a recommended Greater Manchester butcher
    Sale

    Taylors of Sale

    Butchers

    Taylors of Sale has been one of the best butchers in Greater Manchester for almost 175 years. You don’t date back to Queen Victoria without doing something right.

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  • A hamper from The Cheese Hamlet, a cheesemonger in Didsbury
    Didsbury

    The Cheese Hamlet

    Cheesemongers

    The Cheese Hamlet is a family-run independent business that sells all sorts of delicious food and drink, as well as cheese.

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  • Fresh meat at Cheshire Smokehouse butchers in Cheshire
    Wilmslow

    The Cheshire Smokehouse

    Butchers

    The Cheshire Smokehouse is one of the region’s best places for quality food. It’s just not Christmas round our way without the hickory smoked cashews and some smoked salmon from this award-winning farm shop.

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  • The Epicurean, a beer shop in Chorlton
    Chorlton

    The Epicurean Chorlton

    Bottle Shop

    The Epicurean Chorlton is a friendly little beer shop. It may be smaller than its sister site in West Didsbury but the fridges are rammed with colourful cans in every hue from independent craft producers all over the UK and further afield.

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  • Exterior of The Epicurean, a beer shop in Heaton Moor
    Heaton Moor

    The Epicurean Heaton Moor

    Bottle Shop

    The Epicurean Heaton Moor is the Stockport outpost of the self-proclaimed ‘Beer People’. They’re right though. The staff here are like friendly walking beer encyclopaedias. They need to be though, because the ever-changing selection at this shop is vast.

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  • Fridges and craft beer at The Epicurean West Didsbury
    West Didsbury

    The Epicurean West Didsbury

    Bottle Shop

    The Epicurean West Didsbury is the brand’s original craft beer shop, bringing brightly coloured cans to Burton Road.

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  • Book Now Manchester City Centre

    Tipples of Manchester

    Bottle Shop

    Tipples of Manchester is a gin specialist store, with 100 bottles and counting – but, as they say themselves, “you can’t have a spirits shop with only gin now can you?”, so the floor-to-ceiling shelves are also creaking under the weight of 700 spirits, liqueurs, bitters, syrups and more.

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  • Brunch cocktails at Trove Levenshulme.
    Book Now Levenshulme

    Trove Levenshulme

    Bakeries

    Trove Levenshulme has been going strong since 2011. The main draw is its fantastic bread, which forms the basis for its breakfast menu.

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  • Winter salad at Unicorn, an organic, vegan grocery in Chorlton, Manchester
    Chorlton

    Unicorn

    Groceries

    Unicorn is a well-loved organic co-operative selling vegan produce. There’s an emphasis on Fairtrade and it does everything it can to source local fruit and vegetables through partnerships with local growers as well as co-operatives on the continent which share its ethos.

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  • Sausages from W H Frost Butchers in Manchester
    Chorlton

    W H Frost Butchers

    Butchers

    If you like eating out in Manchester, chances are you’ve enjoyed some meat from W H Frost Butchers. They supply carnivorous delights to many of the region’s top restaurants and you’ll often see menus boasting Frost’s sausages. Why wouldn’t you? – W H Frost is a mark of quality.

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