Zest for Taste is a wonderful shop, I stumbled upon quite by chance, in the lovely cathedral town of Chichester. When I noticed the large amphores full of oils and vinegars through the shop window catching the sunlight, I couldn’t resist a peek inside.
As I walked through the door the most delicious aromas of olive oils and balsamic vinegars engulfed me. I had entered a food fanatic’s Shangri La!
Everywhere I looked there were interesting marinades, oils, vinegars, spices, pastas and fresh olives…
Katharine, the owner of Zest for Taste, was happy to chat and she is obviously passionate about her shop and the products they sell. All their products are carefully selected and contain nothing but the highest quality ingredients.
Katharine elaborated “We have many good suppliers both in the UK and overseas and provenance is very important to me. I like to work with small family businesses who are equally as passionate about food as my customers are. For example, the Galantino family in Italy produce the most wonderful Extra Virgin Olive Oils and customers are able to try these in-store. Similarly, the Mussini family, also in Italy, produce some of the best vintage balsamic vinegars in the world and have been doing so for over 100 years. Supporting smaller businesses benefits us as we then find people come back time and time again for products they aren’t able to purchase from their supermarkets.
I am not into mass-produced products. We want to offer our customers something different and I think the taste says it all, which is why we have many tasters for our customers to try in-store.
I also work with many suppliers both in West Sussex and across the UK, often discovered whilst scouring Food Fairs. I’m fortunate, I get to taste so many great products, and if I find a product I like, I cheekily ask for samples so I can have tasting sessions with my staff. We need to know how our products taste before we stock them and ultimately sell them!”
We got on to the subject of holidays and travelling and Katharine, like me, finds one of her favourite things about going away is the dining experience.
“I have been fortunate enough to holiday in some fantastic places over the years. One balmy evening, just last year in Venice, we happened to meet a restaurateur who gave us his business card and challenged us to find his restaurant the next day that was located somewhere deep in the heart of Venice.
This we duly did and were treated to one of my most memorable meals, at ‘al Mascaron Osteria’ which whilst small, was buzzing with diners. We enjoyed a feast of many delicious dishes including cuttle fish spaghetti, giant prawns wrapped in prosciutto ham, baked mussels topped with breadcrumbs and a drizzle of oil – a true Italian experience.
Another great experience I would recommend to any foodie is the Jemaa el Fina in Marrakech. There are many wonderful delicacies to choose from the dozens of food stalls with their amazing colourful displays. Again it’s the ambience – the almost overwhelming aromas, the bellowing smoke from the BBQ’s, the noise from the street entertainers and the sheer volume of people, whilst maybe not for the faint hearted, I would recommend it to anyone.”
By this time in the conversation I was almost visibly drooling so proceeded to try out some of the oils and vinegars and other delights that were laid out in the shop for customers to taste.
It was all superb but I was particularly taken with the balsamic vinegar – on tasting this I was transported back to Rome where I had first tasted aged balsamic vinegar. It is nothing like any I had bought in an English supermarket being sweeter and, well, simply delicious – perfect for dressing salads (with a little extra virgin olive oil) or even drizzled over ice cream! I bought a large bottle to take home. One great thing about the shop is that you can buy a bottle, fill it up with the oil or vinegar of your choice, and once you’ve used it up, bring it back for a refill. You just pay for the actual oil or vinegar which makes it really quite reasonable.
You’ll find Zest for Taste in East Street, Chichester, West Sussex. Don’t worry if you don’t live near enough to Chichester though to visit the shop in person. At least for those of you living in the UK, you can now buy a selection of products online at ZestForTaste.co.uk
Katharine has kindly donated a fantastic prize for a competition that will run on ‘Travel With Kat’ so do look out for it in a forthcoming post plus I’ll also be sharing a tasty tapas recipe from Katharine – Red Wine Braised Chorizo. Yum!
Update 6th April: Shona (won the lovely food hamper from Zest for Taste) just left this lovely comment on the competition post…
Just a little update, I’ve tried the chorizo out of the hamper and I must say it is lovely! I had some on it’s own and used some on my home-made pizzas. I usually buy shop bought chorizo so I only have that as a comparison but they really are worlds apart! I’ve tried the olive oil drizzled over the pizzas which added a nice flavour too. I’m looking forward to trying out the balsamic vinegar and pasta too, just need to find some recipes to try!