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Five Specialty Food Stores to Visit When You Want to Skip the Supermarket

Head to these independent food stores and bring the joy back into your grocery shopping.
By Bella Foster
May 21, 2019

Five Specialty Food Stores to Visit When You Want to Skip the Supermarket

Head to these independent food stores and bring the joy back into your grocery shopping.
By Bella Foster
May 21, 2019

After years of experience, the weekly shop at your local supermarket is like a well-practised sleepwalk up and down the neatly stocked aisles. Clutching your trolley full of plastic packaged food and chemically sprayed fruit. Remember when the food shop used to be fun? The excitement from the possibility of creating wonderful meals and consuming fresh, tasty food to fuel your body. Now, that weekly slog around the fluorescent maze of processed goods has become nothing short of a chore. But that doesn't have to be the case.

Bring the excitement and the quality back to your food shop, don't just settle for a frozen pizza or reduced-to-clear bread rolls. That dreaded supermarket trip can now be broken up into sweet little bursts of easy and stress-free shopping experiences, at a specialty food store. Not to mention more ethical, sustainable and cost-effective. They come in all shapes and sizes and there's something out there for every flavour, cuisine or craving. From the Mediterranean food lovers to the health nuts, it's never been so easy for anyone to track down fresh and delicious groceries in Wellington. Here are a few of the best alternatives.



With one branch nestled in the CBD and another four in the greater Wellington region, Commonsense Organics is the ideal alternative for those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle and crack down on their consumption of processed foods. The Commonsense seed was planted way back in 1975, and ever since then, Jim Kebbell and Marion Wood have been feeding Kiwis across Wellington and Auckland. You can find anything from fresh aubergines and golden kiwis to delicious yoghurts and camembert cheese on their shelves, as well as a variety of pasta, canned goods and meat and poultry.

Although their stores aren't the size of a regular supermarket, they value quality over quantity and you can still find all the necessary components for a great meal on their shelves. Commonsense stores also feature a personal care and cosmetics section, stocked full of vitamins and natural skin creams. The perfect way to avoid those nasty supermarket isles when searching for your shampoo or body wash.

For those earth conscious folk, Commonsense is the perfect alternative to the supermarket, and you're paying the price for quality. Everything is organic, environmentally sustainable and fair trade, what more could you ask for?

But don't forget to bring your own reusable bags or cardboard boxes, as like many food stores nowadays Commonsense doesn't use plastic bags. Selling by the idea that their food is 'good for you and good for the earth.'



With more and more people switching to a plant-based or vege diet these days, it only made sense for the incredible V1 Vegan store to open up on Cuba Street. Although their store might be small, it's the perfect place to track down the best meat and dairy alternatives as well as specialty products like gelatin-free marshmallows and vegan mac and cheese sauce.

The V1 store is Wellington's hub for plant-based goodness and anything cruelty-free. They source the best fresh vegan baking from all over Wellington, as well as dairy-free ice blocks and ice creams and even a vegan pick and mix. For the vegetarians and vegans out there, or even those trying to be little more conscious of their animal product consumption, V1 is the perfect alternative to avoid the bustling city supermarkets. Stop spending hours traipsing the aisles for a dairy-free alternative, or scanning every label for those pesky ingredients, as every product at V1 is completely cruelty-free.



Take a look inside New Zealand's largest Mediterranean specialty food store, shelves stocked with the highest quality Mediterranean goods to replicate that authentic taste in your own cooking. Back in September 1999, Antonio Cuccurullo, from South Italy, established The Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown. Antonio was aware of the increasing demand for the Mediterranean diet and began importing the food that he and his family had grown up with; pasta, olives, olive oil and tomato-based products. Now his store is a bustling hub for the Mediterranean cuisine, find everything from antipasto ingredients, such as bruschetta and crunchy breads to Giuliano Tartuf Truffle sauce. There's no need to sift through the canned goods aisle to track down the tomatoes or elbow your way through the elbow pasta at your local supermarket, now it's all in one place.

The Mediterranean Food Warehouse offers an impressive selection of 50+ spices, 40+ pastas, 50+ cheeses (from five different countries), 25+ meats and a variety of wines to choose from. Cooking up the perfect Mediterranean dish for a dinner party or cosy night in has never been such a simple and enjoyable experience, not to mention the gorgeous fit out and mouthwatering smells of tomatoey goodness.



For the best of everything fresh, Moore Wilson's is Wellington's one-stop shopping destination. With a variety of fresh and healthy foods, Moore Wilson's Te Aro is the best alternative to the stress of those busy supermarkets. With all of the necessities and none of the nasty processed food, Moore Wilson's Fresh has a range of dairy, meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and produce and everything else in between. Fresh fish is also available, in partnership with Moana New Zealand. Stroll calmly through the thriving aisles of Moore Wilson's and breath in the smells of freshly squeezed orange juice. You can pick up everything you need for your weekly shop here, avoiding expensive and low quality processed products from the supermarket.

So for your next dinner party, don't dread the supermarket slog, instead, pop by Moore Wilson's Fresh and pick up everything you need, including freshly cut flowers and a coffee made on the premise.



No shopping trip would be complete without picking up a loaf of fresh bread for the week, with none of those nasty, plastic wrapped bread rolls, Wellington Sourdough is where it's at. Located in the trendy Left Bank Lane, Wellington Sourdough is the best spot to pick up a tasty and freshly made loaf, straight from the oven. Slice it, toast it or eat it plain, this sourdough is miles better than any supermarket bread and in turn, you're supporting a local Wellington business. With three delicious house-made loaves to choose from and one exciting new flavour in development, you'll have an easy and stress-free bakery experience. Wellington Sourdough offers classic sourdough loaf, the foundation of their range, with a long cool fermentation period, producing a loaf with a deliciously sour flavour and thick and crunchy crust. They also produce a seed and grain loaf, for a healthier option. Or for those craving a bit of spice, the sultana loaf, with golden sultanas, toasted fennel, coriander seeds and orange zest.

Published on May 21, 2019 by Bella Foster

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