Okay, I admit it: I hate going grocery shopping. Don’t get me wrong, given the right circumstances and absolutely no company, I can be compelled to wander aisles and read labels and get lost in shelves of various types of hot sauce or roasted red peppers. I can spend eons comparing breads and trying to decide just what kind of cheese to purchase. But I don’t like to grocery shop.
Then I was treated to a sneak peek of the new Longo’s at Maple Leaf Square and suddenly I am a convert. There, I could learn to love to buy groceries. It’s like a foodie’s dream come true; a mecca for food shopping. You see, Longo’s isn’t like other grocery retailers. They’ve done their research and they certainly do love them some food.
A few of the things I noted on my personal tour of the sprawling, 48,000 square foot store:
- a “Cheese Master Island” with over 300 varieties of cheese
- a deli section with an in-house smoker where they sell all natural deli smoked meats with no preservatives or additives (I requested they try to carry a thick-cut veal bacon)
- an on-site butcher that will feature Kobe-style beef and 28-day dry-aged Angus beef as well as locally-raised meats
- chocolatiers creating the sweetest of treats (I saw some really gorgeous, chocolate dipped brownies and almost climbed over the counter to get one)
- a mouth-watering selection of freshly baked artisanal breads and pastries
- a huge produce section (Longo’s has always topped other stores with their produce) with over 100 organic varieties, and rare items such as the sierra honey cherum (a cross between a cherry and a plum) and those gorgeous and tasty pink-fleshed Hidden Rose apples
- a large selection of store-made ready-to-cook or ready-to-heat items
- the “try before you buy” program: the customer’s option to sample products such as vegetables, fruits, cheese, deli meats before purchasing
- in the Loft area, off to one side of the store there is a Beer and Wine bar that serves only local wine and beer (wine from Niagara and Prince Edward County, and beer from Ottawa, Toronto, Bracebridge, Barrie, Guelph and Nobleton)
So..uh..yeah. I could easily be convinced to drive over late one Saturday morning (they have free underground parking if you spend $30), get my groceries (not forgetting the Ice Wine Syrup and a Himalayan Salt Slab, of course) and then sit and have a glass of wine before I return to the land of the living above ground. I’d say Longo’s hit the nail on the head with this store…it was as though they created it just for me.