Shop of the Year announced this week

mmm glug shop of the year 2018 finals

Grainger Street-based mmm… and glug… is one of just ten shops across the UK to make it to this week’s Guild of Fine Food’s 2018 Shop of the Year awards.

Judges from the guild, which recognises excellence in independent retail, recently visited the Newcastle store and carried out mystery shopping exercises, before announcing their overall winner in London this Thursday evening.

Owner Simone Clarkin, is delighted to be recognised for such a prestigious award, especially at a time when independent high street shops face pressure from supermarkets and out of town retailers.

She said: “When we originally opened our Grainger Market store back in 2008 we wanted to get people in the north east and beyond to think about what they eat and drink – and where it comes from.

“Over the past ten years, we have expanded twice within the Grainger Market and then in late 2017 into the city centre – all done during a climate of huge retail uncertainty.

“It is great to know that our efforts to provide great food and drink, and hopefully even greater customer service and advice to shoppers, has helped us reach this stage.

“We really hope that our ethos of being there to provide easy access to good food and drink to the region can help us to bring this prestigious award back the north east.

The Guild’s judges, which included Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, who has worked for both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and Georgina Mason from Gonalston Farm Shop, have rated and scored mmm… and glug… before agreeing to a winner.

This Thursday (20 September), the judging will reach an exciting finale when Simone Clarkin and others from the world of fine food gather at the Guild of Fine Food’s London base, to find out the winner of Shop of the Year 2018.

mmm… and glug… expanded its business with a move to larger headquarters in Newcastle city centre in late 2017 and plans to launch a ‘click and collect’ online shop, demo kitchen and event space in early 2019.

Earlier this year mmm… and glug… came out top in North East and Cumbria in the prestigious RateBeer.com awards.

The awards to breweries, pubs and retailers, sees beer lovers from dozens of countries rate their favourite tipples and where they buy or drink them.

Want to know more?

Sign up for news about our food, drink and tasting events …

Our ingredients – pomegranate molasses

We often get a whole host of questions about how to use the products and ingredients in our shop – from the extraordinary array of herbs, spices and chillies, through to the ever trendy black garlic…not forgetting the adventurous and curious flavours of cordials on hand.

So, we thought it was about time to start sharing some of our favourite hints, tips and recipes to get you going and maybe even debunk some myths along the way. 

Today we’re focusing on Pomegranate Molasses, why?

Well, too many times we’ve heard you cry, ‘I used it once and then it sat in my cupboard for a billion years unused’… a travesty!

There’s so much you can do with this ancient and wondrous ingredient – it’s sweet but sour, thick, sharp, rich, deep and completely versatile.

As a native fruit of Persia, the pomegranate (and pomegranate molasses) is synonymous with Middle Eastern, African and Mediterranean cooking, which is where the ingredient really does shine.

It adds a fruity almost citric taste to any dish meaning there’s no excuse as to why you can’t get creative with the ingredient.

It can work as a super substitute for balsamic vinegar, honey, or even lemon juice – anything you want to imbue with a richness, tartness, sweetness.

Think drinks, soups, stews, dressings and desserts…no longer may this ingredient sit sorrowfully in the back of your cupboard!  

Here are three recipes to get you going: – stick with it

1, 2, 3 BAKE!

Put a pin in this one

You could make your own at home, but we promise you it’s probably not worth it.

Pomegranate molasses is made from the fruits fresh juice, which is reduced to a thick, luxurious syrup to enhance and intensify the natural flavours.

Technically it’s not really a molasses, just a delicious concentrated syrup.

Now, it might sound easy to make yourself, but fresh pomegranates are really expensive and often a right faff, so why make your life difficult making it yourself?!

Oh! And looking for something a bit different? Don’t like pomegranate? Well don’t you worry – we stock Cherry Molasses too!

Want to know more about our grocery ingredients?

Sign up for news about our food, drink and tasting events …

mmm… and glug… in UK Shop of the Year finals

mmm glug shop of the year 2018 finals

mmm… and glug… is one of a handful of grocery shops across the UK to make it to the finals of the Guild of Fine Food’s 2018 Shop of the Year awards.

Shop of the Year mmm glug logoJudges from the guild, which recognises and promotes excellence in independent retail, will visit the Newcastle store and carry out a series of mystery shopping exercises, before announcing the overall winner in September.

Owner Simone Clarkin, is delighted to be recognised for such a prestigious award, especially at a time when independent high street shops face pressure from supermarkets and out of town retailers.

She said: “When we originally opened our Grainger Market store back in 2008 we wanted to get people in the north east and beyond to think about what they eat and drink – and where it comes from.

“Over the past ten years, we have expanded twice within the Grainger Market and then in late 2017 into the city centre – all done during a climate of huge retail uncertainty.

“It is great to know that our efforts to provide great food and drink, and hopefully even greater customer service and advice to shoppers has helped us reach this stage.

“We really hope that our ethos of being there to provide easy access to good food and drink to the region can help us to bring this prestigious award back the north east.

The Guild’s panel of highly experienced judges, which includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, who has worked for both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and Georgina Mason from Gonalston Farm Shop, will rate, score and feedback on every aspect of mmm… and glug… before agreeing to a winner.

On Thursday, 20 September, Shop of the Year 2018 will reach an exciting finale when the world of fine food gathers at the Guild of Fine Food’s London base, to find out the winners of Shop of the Year 2018.

mmm… and glug… expanded its business with a move to larger headquarters in Newcastle city centre in late 2017 and plans to launch a ‘click and collect’ online shop during its tenth year in business.

Earlier this year mmm… and glug… came out top in North East and Cumbria in the prestigious RateBeer.com awards.

The awards to breweries, pubs and retailers, sees beer lovers from dozens of countries rate their favourite tipples and where they buy or drink them.

Want to know more?

Sign up for news about our food, drink and tasting events …

Opal Sunshine tasting at mmm… and glug…

mmm… and glug… is hosting a free tasting on Saturday, 5 May with Opal Sunshine, so customers can taste her hot, fresh and zingy pepper sauces.

Opal Ward is Belizean – and her beloved Belize is her spiritual home, her roots and her inspiration for cooking.

Belize is such a beautiful country. with its pristine lush natural terrain, extensive marine wonders and its diversity.

As the only English speaking country in South America, the Caribbean Sea rests to the East, Mexico to the North and Guatemala to the South and West.

With a population of approximately 368,000 (tiny right!), it stretches just 174 miles long and 68 miles wide.

Opal Sunshine hot sauces at mmm… and glug…

It was about a year ago when Opal was at a food festival selling her Belizean tamales, and instead of buying a shop bought hot sauce she decided to make her own.

Opal started with the ‘Original Hot Sauce’, which took a lot of time and testing (and tasting).

Initially, she took a family recipe and experimented to create a balance of heat and more importantly flavour.

From the original came the ‘Lime-anero’, a heavily infused lime flavoured pepper sauce with plenty of heat and full of flavour.

The mildest of them followed – Opal’s ‘Mayan Mango’. a fusion of mango, lime and ginger – great flavours which fuse beautifully together.

A sweet, fresh milder sauce. Yet still hot.

Want to know more about Opal Sunshine?

More tasting events at mmm… and glug… (all from 1pm unless otherwise stated)

  • Friday, 11 May – 40 Kola: Taste the new north east made ‘proper’ Kola (11.30am to 3pm)
  • Friday, 11 May – Masons Gin: Taste Yorkshire-distilled tea and lavender gins (4pm to 7pm)
  • Saturday, 12 May – Parlour Made: Taste award-winning local cheeses, including Durham Camembert
  • Saturday, 12 May – Durham Gin: Taste locally-made Durham gin, vodka and liqueurs
  • Saturday, 19 May – Consett Ale Works: Taste Consett’s classic ales, as well as their newly launched beers
  • Friday, 25 May – Lisbon Wines: Taste our small producer Portuguese wines with Victor.

Sign up for news about our food, drink and tasting events …

Ananda’s Gourmet spice kits at mmm… and glug…

Ananda's Gourmet spice kitsThis Saturday (17 February 2018) we are holding a free tasting of Ananda’s Gourmet Indian curry spice kits at mmm… and glug…, with Indian-brewed beers to match.

Ananda’s spice packs are pre-mixed and perfectly proportioned to recreate the authentic flavours of India.

Each kit has its own shopping list (for any fresh ingredients) and an easy-to-follow recipe inside.

Ananda will be tasting her:

  • Paneer Masala
  • Hyderabadi Lamb Korma
  • Goan Prawn Curry
  • Indi Burgers.

We will also have the full selection of Ananda’s vegetarian, chicken, lamb and fish spice kits for you to choose from.

White Rhino Brewing Co.

We will also be tasting our new ‘White Rhino’ Indian-brewed IPA and lager on the day (over 18s only).

White Rhino Brewing Co, India’s first craft brewery, was set up by a team 
of young brewers with the aim of bringing both quality and variety to the Indian beer market.

Their goal was to make 
beer for India that would stand up to an international standard.

Want to know more?

Other tasting events at mmm… and glug… (all from 1pm)

  • Friday, 2 March – Spanish Cava tasting: Taste our amazing Villarnau Cava (Hint: ahead of Mother’s Day)
  • Saturday, 16 June – Firebrick Brewery tasting: Taste Firebrick’s Blaydon-brewed beers and sort the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Beers and bees at mmm… and glug…

Rigg and Furrow beers at mmm and glug

Food and drink lovers can taste local craft ales and meet over 10,000 honey bees when mmm… and glug… hosts a ‘Beers and bees’ event on Saturday, 2 September from 1pm onwards.

Rigg and Furrow beers and beesRigg & Furrow, an authentic Northumberland-based farmhouse brewery, will be tasting their beers in the Grainger Arcade store.

Giving a new lease of life to an old milking parlour Ring & Furrow create new takes on Farmhouse beers – beers originally brewed for thirsty farm workers during the summer months.

Brewing by hand, this family run brewery celebrates the best of home-grown Northumbrian and British produce, whilst creating exciting and innovative beers.

Head brewer, Theo will be tasting some of his favourite brews, including:

  • Run Hop Run – 4.2% Simcoe Session IPA
  • The Pale Ale – 3.8% English Pale
  • Owl Porter – 4% Porter
  • Trickster – 4.3% Hoppy Amber Ale
  • Sham Pain – 3.5% Elderflower Farmhouse Ale
  • Rhuble Rhubarb – 3.6% Farmhouse Ale.

Beers and bees at mmm and glug...

The Hogarth Honey bees, which proved a huge hit at the store earlier this summer, are returning with the first of their precious Yorkshire Moors heather honey.

Youngsters (and those not so young) have the chance to taste the honey and find out more about protecting the much-needed insects.

Michael McCartney of Hogarth Honey, based in Wolviston Grange, said: “I would love to talk to as many potential beekeepers and amateur gardeners as possible when we visit mmm… and glug… so we can spread the word about protecting our local bees.”

Rigg & Furrow and the Hogarth Honey bees will be at mmm… and glug… 10-13 Grainger Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5QF from 1pm on Saturday, 2 September.

Grainger Arcade-based Pet Lamb Patisserie will also be providing hand-made Hogarth Honey bee flapjacks to taste at the event.

Want to know more about beers and bees?

Other events at at mmm… and glug… (all from 1pm)

  • Saturday, 16 September: Oktoberfest 2017 – come and taste our Oktoberfest specials
  • Saturday, 23 September: The Lakes Distillery tasting – come and taste Lakes Gin, Lakes Vodka and ‘The ONE’ whisky
  • Saturday, 30 September: Lisbon Wines – come and taste our new Portuguese wines and craft beers.

Coming soon …

  • We are hoping to be in our new shop at 129 Grainger Street (opposite the old Barclays Bank) mid to end of October. Watch out for news and opening events.
  • Click and collect at mmm… and glug… To find out more sign up for news below.

Meet the Hogarth Honey bees at mmm…

Honey bees - Hogarth Honey

Food and drink emporium mmm… and glug…, currently based in the Grainger Arcade, will host over 10,000 local Hogarth Honey bees on Saturday, 24 June from 12 noon onwards.

Hogarth Honey bees at mmm and glugThe Hogarth Honey bees, which proved a huge hit at the store last summer, are returning with the first of their precious local summer honey.

The free event will give youngsters (and those not so young) the chance to taste the honey and find out more about protecting the much-needed insects.

mmm… and glug… owner Simone Clarkin hopes to not only get families to taste the honey, but also to find out how to encourage bees to their own gardens and neighbourhoods.

She said: “We certainly expect the Grainger Arcade to be ‘buzzing’ after last year’s meet the bees event literally stopped people in their tracks outside our shop.

“Bees are pollinators and play a huge part in the UK’s food chain. One third of the food we eat would not be available, but for the hard work of our bees.

“When the Hogarth Honey bees visited us last year (see photo below) we found many people, particularly children, who had never tasted honey before – and they loved it!”

Hogarth Honey bees visit mmm in 2016Michael McCartney of Hogarth Honey, based in Wolviston Grange, is looking forward to once again being asked lots of questions about his much-loved bees.

He said: “Bees fly about 55,000 miles to make just one pound of honey, that’s over twice around the world. And honey was even used as currency in Roman times.

“But, bees are in danger of disappearing from our environment. Farming practices continue to disturb the natural habitats of solitary bees and bumblebees.

“The honey bee is also under attack from the Varroa mite and it is only the care provided by myself and other local beekeepers that is keeping north east colonies alive.

“I would love to talk to as many potential beekeepers and amateur gardeners as possible when we visit mmm… so we can spread the word about protecting our local bees.”

The Hogarth Honey bees will be at mmm… and glug… 10-13 Grainger Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5QF from 12 noon on Saturday, 24 June.

Grainger Arcade-based Pet Lamb Patisserie will also be providing hand-made Hogarth Honey bee flapjacks to taste at the event.

mmm… and glug… recently announced plans to expand its business with a move to a larger headquarters in Newcastle city centre and the launch of a ‘click and collect’ online shop.

Want to know more before the Hogarth Honey bees visit?

Other events at at mmm… and glug… (all from 1pm)

  • Patagonian wine tasting (date tbc)
  • Summer fruit beer tasting (date tbc)
  • Ooft! meet the maker – come and taste hot Scotch Bonnet pepper and smoky chipotle sauces (date tbc).

Coming soon …

  • We are moving to a bigger shop on Grainger Street – watch this space!
  • Click and collect at mmm… and glug… To find out more sign up for news below.

Expansion to Grainger Street is our recipe for success

Sintons Solicitors at mmm... and glug...

A North East artisan food and drink retailer, which sources products from around the world and has amassed a following across the UK and beyond, is targeting expansion through a move to Grainger Street and the launch of its online shop.

mmm glug stamp logo Grainger Streetmmm…and glug…was established in Newcastle in 2008 and has grown into one of the most highly-esteemed independent food and drink brands of its kind.

It attracts customers from across the country and earning name-checks in books by celebrity chefs, including Thomasina Miers

The business, based in the city’s Grainger Market, has earned fame in foodie circles for its commitment to sourcing the highest quality produce from suppliers around the world.

It is now known for being the go-to place for the most unusual of ingredients, and has a loyal and sizeable following both among its customer base and on social media.

Run by Simone and Ian Clarkin, mmm…and glug… – which started out in 2008, is now moving to a two-floor 1,500 sq ft retail unit on nearby Grainger Street.

This will allow it to have its own shop front on one of Newcastle’s busiest streets and dictate its own opening hours.

The move comes at a time of development for the business, as it introduces a ‘click and collect’ service for customers and online mail order to allow it to look at international trade.

Spanish paprika at mmm... Grainger Streetmmm…and glug…have also launched a range of its own-label spice mixes and cooking ingredients.

mmm…and glug…has been built by passionate foodies Simone and Ian, who have assembled a five-strong team who share their love of quality food and drink.

Simone’s background in sourcing fine food and wines from continental suppliers, coupled with Ian’s expertise in marketing – which has seen mmm…glug…named as one of the most influential independent businesses on Twitter – has proved a recipe for success.

Simone said: “This is a very exciting time for us, moving into our own shop on Grainger Street and having the freedom that comes with that is something we have wanted for some time.

“The Grainger Market has been a fantastic place to be, but we are delighted with the start of our new chapter.

“Our ethos is we source high-quality food and drink from independent producers wherever they are in the world, and strive to build long-term relationships with both our customers and suppliers.

“We do stock products from the North East and we source from Spain, Italy, France, America, we look across the whole world to get the quality we know our customers will want.”

Ian, who initially was ‘Saturday boy’ with mmm…glug…before joining his wife full time, said: “We have customers who come to us from as far afield as Liverpool and Manchester and even afield.

“Through the launch of online ordering in the near future we hope we will become accessible to people across the UK and even internationally.

Thomasina Miers at mmm... Grainger Street“Our customers are fantastic and are the biggest advocates of what we do.

Thomasina Miers first became aware of us when she remarked how difficult it was to find some cooking ingredients; one of our customers got in touch with her to tell her about us.

“Since then, she has mentioned us in her cookbooks and even held a book launch here.”

mmm…and glug…have been supported in its expansion by law firm Sintons, with Head of Licensing Sarah Smith and Laura Peace, Partner in the Real Estate team, both acting in the transaction.

Sarah Smith said: “Newcastle enjoys a reputation as a vibrant and diverse leisure venue which attracts people from across the whole UK.

“mmm…and glug…is another example of something special we have here which again puts the North East on a national scale.

“Its reputation for its quality and variety of produce is well known far beyond this region.

“And the platform it has created on social media has also helped it to stand out in the very competitive culinary marketplace.

“We wish Simone and Ian luck in their new home for mmm…and glug…on Grainger Street and every success as they continue to grow and develop the business.”

Pictured (courtesy of Sintons Law and David Wood Photographer above: left to right –  Simone Clarkin; Sarah Smith and Laura Peace, Sintons and Ian Clarkin.

Want to know more before we move to Grainger Street?

Free events at mmm… and glug… (all from 1pm)

  • Saturday, 3 June: Flashhouse Brewing meet the brewer – come and taste Jack O’Keefe’s latest North Shields-brewed ales, including his new chocolate coffee stout
  • Saturday, 16 June: Firebrick Brewery meet the brewer – looking for a Father’s Day gift? Our Blaydon-based brewery will help you find the perfect bottles for him to enjoy.
  • Patagonian wine tasting (date tbc)
  • Summer fruit beer tasting (date tbc)
  • Ooft! meet the maker – come and taste hot Scotch Bonnet pepper and smoky chipotle sauces (date tbc)
  • Meet the Hogarth honey bees – come and meet 10,000 of our honey making bees and taste this year’s summer honey (date tbc)
  • Click and collect at mmm… and glug… To find out more sign up for news below.

Little Turban curry sauces at mmm…

Little Turban sauces at mmm

‘Little Turban’ (aka Harj) is an artisan producer of modern regional Indian cooking sauces available at mmm…

Their vision is to introduce real authentic, regional flavours and aromas from around India to your dining table.

Little Turban’s products reflect the diverse flavours, aromas, spices and tastes India has to offer.

Each of their cooking sauces is inspired by a regional classic steeped in tradition and influenced from past generations and rulers.

Little Turban at mmm…

Rich and aromatic Lababdar Curry

A meal fit for Royalty!

A rich sauce made with a cashew nut paste, cream and butter for that decadent experience.

This dish originates from the Mughal era and has stood the test of time as a truly rich royal dish from Hyderabad.

Rustic and hearty Kashmiri Rogan Josh

The famous Rogan Josh created in the way it was orginally created with freshly ground Kashmiri chillies.

These chillies give this sauce a deep red colour.

Combined with a blend of aromatic spices and tomatoes this sauce is a umami hit, which gives it an amazing meaty taste.

Creamy and aromatic Makhani Masala

Creamy, rich and well spiced is the only description for my version of the famous Butter Chicken made famous in Old Delhi

Little Turban was inspired to recreate it with his special blend of tandoori spices.

A real must for lovers of Butter Chicken and for those that enjoy a little spicy kick.

Hot and spicy Naga and Mango Curry

Little Turban’s take on the classic chicken curry but with a bit of kick.

This smooth sauce is combined with a special garam masala blend, naga chilli and mango pulp.

This combination gives the sauce a great balance of heat and sweetness.

A must for chilli lovers.

Creamy coconut Goan Fish Curry

Inspired by Harj’s (aka Little Turban) trip to Goa.

This creamy coconut based sauce brings together a blend of complex spices together which embodies the coastal flavours of Goa.

It’s great with with fish and seafood, as well as chicken, lamb, beef and pork.

Meet the producer – Little Turban’s sauces are already hugely popular with our customers at mmm… so come and try one yourself from 1pm on Saturday, 11 March with Harj himself.

Want to know more?

Kwan’s Kitchen stir fry kits at mmm…

Kwan's Kitchen at mmm...

Kwan's Kitchen family photoKwan’s Kitchen, award-winning Chinese condiments and stir fry kits at mmm… can help you create restaurant quality dishes at home in minutes.

The Kwan family knows a thing or two about the Great British taste for Chinese cuisine.

For more than three decades, they have been preparing authentic Chinese food that excites the taste buds of their restaurant clientele.

Originally from Guangdong province in South China, Kwan’s Kitchen take inspiration from the vast array of Chinese cuisine on the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.

Kwan’s Kitchen at mmm…

Spicy Szechuan meal kit – this spicy kit uses a delicious blend of tomato and garlic combined with Kwan’s award winning Szechuan chilli oil to give you a true taste of Sichuan cuisine.

Kwans_Kitchen_spicy_SzechuanBlackbean and garlic meal kit – this stir fry meal kit uses freshly ground blackbean and garlic combined with Kwan’s award-winning salt and pepper spice blend and Szechuan chilli oil.

Aromatic curry meal kit – this kit uses a fine blend of herbs and spices combined with Kwan’s award-winning salt and pepper spice blend and Szechuan chilli oil.

Sweet chilli with sesame and coriander meal kit – this Sweet chilli stir fry kit uses a delicious blend of fresh red chillies combined with Kwan’s award-winning salt and pepper spice blend.

Unlike commercial sweet chilli sauce Kwan’s don’t dilute the chillies with water or saturate with sugar.

How to use the kits – simply choose your favourite meat and vegetables, follow the simple three step process and you have a restaurant quality Chinese meal in 10 minutes!

Salt and pepper spice/hot salt and pepper spice – Kwan’s traditional family blend of five spice, ginger and garlic has been used in Kwan’s restaurants since 1978.

Experience authentic Chinese flavours with this versatile seasoning blend.

Want to know more?