Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Old-fashioned Grocers: The Last of Its Kind

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Johnson's Grocers in Colombo Street is a fantastic exploration of treats and delicacies from New Zealand and around the globe. Being used to tiny, intimate shops from life in New York, I am partial to the small scale of this shop, the sense of discovery at every turn, and the feeling of a by-gone era.

The front window beckons you in with old-school tins and boxes of quintessential N.Z. candies, biscuits, and the sort. Inside the shop, every inch of the walls and table tops are covered with goodies to entice the senses. On one wall, you'll find hundreds of jars of different kinds of chutneys, jams, relishes, and sauces. Turn around, and quite literally you are faced with piles of fine Belgian chocolates, marzipan, biscuits, and even more preserves. From gourmet cheeses, oat cakes, and escargot, right down to chocolate Christmas oranges, Maltesers and Milky Bar Buttons - this shop has it all! During lunch times you'll find the shop packed with ladies picking up goodies for dinner parties and chatting away with owner Colin Johnson. Colin has worked at the shop for 53 years, experience that is revealed as he provides a recommendation and is able to locate that perfect product for his customers amongst the floor to ceiling selection of foods.

Johnson's Grocers is the last of six or more small grocers that existed along Colombo Street between Peterborough Street and Cathedral Square. It may possibly be the last remaining grocery shop of its kind in New Zealand. So next time you're looking for something to impress dinner guests or a little gift for your foodie friends or, stop in Johnson's Grocers. You're sure to leave pleased.

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Johnson's Grocers
787 Colombo Street, Christchurch

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