Watching your child experience something for the first time is kind of awesome and as they get older I find it gets more magical as they experience some of your favourite things or places for the first time. To be fair, there are so many firsts for you to have with your child …. first smile, first walk, first plane ride, first visit to Valvona & Crolla! Guess what we decided to do out of the blue recently!
We had been up at the crack of dawn to go to the dentist in town, then on our way home I decided to park up and let the little people explore V&C …. which was conveniently around the corner. I knew they would adore it, I was not wrong. I am not sure if it was the visual experience they liked best or all the goats cheese they sampled … or the salami they sampled … or the fresh bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil they sampled … or even when they realised that there was a cafe at the back … all I know is there were plenty of squeals of excitement and they were transfixed the whole time. Big cheesy grins too.
I love this place. I feel like Valvona & Crolla’s has not changed since I had my first visit there as a child. It is still filled with world class produce and it is still impossible to leave empty handed. Such a charming store. This Edinburgh icon was founded in 1934 and is Scotland’s oldest Delicatessen and Italian Wine Merchant. I have many fond memories of going with my grandparents when we were visiting from Aberdeen and I adored watching my Grandad greeting Victor Crolla like old friends and being fascinated at them speaking Italian to each other. Years later I loved having V&C as my local deli when I got my first flat in Edinburgh. Such a beautiful and sensory filled store to visit. My kids stood still at the door as they absorbed the expanding store in front of them. Produce is literally floor to ceiling. From the hanging garlic and chilli’s to the wall of pastas, coffee, panetone and then on the other side of you is the immense deli counter which has the most amazing range of cheeses and meats. This is all before you have got into the main body of the store with its fresh baked breads, vegetables and that wine collection that my Grandfather could spend hours perusing.
One thing that has always surprised me was even though I moved to a gluten free diet when I was a local to this store, I still managed to eat their stunning Panino rolls with no ill effect! Perfect excuse to get my bread there at the weekend or before I boarded my bus to work each morning. I also recall loving the bread that much that when I had to go back home to Aberdeen for a few weeks, my boyfriend at the time would bring Panino rolls up to Aberdeen when he visited at the weekends.
Today we bought some rolls … it would have been rude not to …. and were assisted by Enzo, who helped us choose the right goats cheese and salami to go in our rolls. The kids took this sampling process really seriously. We happily sampled and managed to fill our wicker basket up with goodies for lunch. (By the way, it was a seriously good lunch). I only managed to get the kids to leave V & C’s on the proviso that we could come back very soon. So, when we left the first thing they did was phone their dad and their gran to update them on their first visit to Valvona & Crolla …. we are still working on their pronunciation of it. My son made it very clear to both of them that he wanted them to come and visit it with him, to go to the Cafe for lunch and perhaps that we could celebrate my 40th birthday there! I am guessing it was hit!