Monday, 19 December 2016

#London Christmas Shopping No.32: Artichoke, #Hampstead @artichoke_nw3 @NW_3Hampstead

--> Daily Constitutional editor Adam Scott-Goulding writes…
It's back! The annual London Christmas Shopping Guide from The Daily Constitutional!

This year I'll be including museum gift shops and markets for gift ideas. 

As well as gifts I'll be pointing you toward local London shops for the best in Christmas food and drink. Where relevant, I'll list the London Walks tour that finishes near the shop in question.

As usual, you can drop me a line with your own tips by emailing the usual address, by leaving a comment below or via Twitter.

As we enter into the last week before Christmas Day, our thoughts turn to the table here at The Daily Constitutional – this week we'll be sharing foodie and drinkie tips along with our last minute gifts. Starting with…

Artichoke, Hampstead

David writes…

“My dad’s a very good buyer. He’s done it all his life. He goes to a market every morning.”

That’s what we like to hear.  Explains everything, really.

Everything being why Artichoke is the best green grocer in London.

You don’t even need to go across the street (to the Tesco over the way). You can just tell by looking at the stuff – and aroma drinking it and squeezing it – in Artichoke. You know – you just know, you can tell – every piece of fruit, every veg is going to be an explosion of flavour. As opposed to tasting like cardboard.

Anyway, that was Charlie talking about his buyer dad. Artichoke’s third generation. Been going a long time. Practice makes the best fruit (and veg) in London.

Now as for the produce…

Olive oil and organic oranges from Sicily.

Charley again: “he’s a Sicilian farmer. Once a month he hires a van and brings stuff up to us. All of it 24-karat. Organic. Sicilian sun-drenched. Can’t go wrong with it.”

And what about the honey? Artichoke is the only place in the world where you can buy Hampstead Honey. It’s from natural bee hives all across the Heath. Looked after – produced (though you want to see “created” by those wild bees and by Farokh, who’s the Head of the U.K. Beekeeper’s Society). Just a few hundred jars a year get made. If gold were honey… Well, you’ll get my drift.

The bottled juices come from a little farm in the Garden of England (Kent).

And that juice bar…

Well, just look at the menu. “Shots”, don’t you love it? And “Medical Grade”. A far cry from “Industrial Grade”, that’s for sure.

And as for that old cash register.

When you’re next up in Hampstead. Artichoke is at 36 Heath Street. A stone’s throw from the Tube. The fetching, fun blonde lady in there on Sunday is Dina, Charley’s mum.
A bag of goodies from Artichoke is a sensationally tasty Christmas present. Fruit in London just doesn’t come any fresher, any higher quality, any tastier, any better. It’s been grown, produced on the best little farms in the Home Counties (and Sicily) and selected by Charlie’s dad, who’s “a very good buyer…he’s been doing it all his life.”

You can bring in a basket. Or take it in a bag. And if you give Dina and Charlie a ring and give ‘em a bit of notice – a day or two – well, they’ll put together a gift basket for you.

But if you just want to do it on the spur of the moment… Well, in you go. And talk to them. Ask for recommendations. They know their onions and strawberries and oranges and mushrooms and White Truffle Oil and Medjoul Date Syrup and Hampstead Honey and Black Berry Jam.

Be the best fruit buy you’ve ever made.

You wanna give Charlie a ring these 11 numbers in this order will do the trick: 0207 431 4630

David leads the Hampstead Walk every Sunday morning

Find Artichoke here…

Tomorrow Adam will be blogging about Tony's Continental in East Finchley & Gerry's Wines & Spirits in Soho

Christmas 2016 With London Walks…

On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks: 

Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square

Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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