The wonders of Unicorn, Manchester's amazing vegan coop supermarket
This is another post from when I was away Mofo-ing (yep, another one of those). During August, I went off to Manchester.
I like Manchester - I've got family and friends there, and it gives you scenery like this at the same distance from the city centre as a particularly aggressive sneeze can travel.
Thanks to reading Tea and Sympatico, I often wonder if Manchester is a better destination for vegans than London (Tea and Sympatico is better at finding cool vegan stuff than me!)
Case in point: Unicorn Grocery, a workers co-op and entirely, amazingly plant-based place. Thanks to a tip-off from my friend's mum that there was a vegan supermarket nearby, we decided to take a journey down to the suburb of Chorlton to check it out.
I was expecting something like your local health food shop - a few shelves heathily stocked with all the things needful to veg*ns. Unicorn is way better than that - it's huge. It is, as my friend's mum had said, a vegan supermarket - aisles and aisles of stuff, half of which was new to me. It's a swimming-pool sized place where you need never check the label to see if someone has slipped a dusting of whey into your food, and you never have to quest for the elusive vegan mark.
As if that wasn't enough to get me considering a move to Chorlton, there's also a deli counter - rows and rows of interesting salads, snacks, fun shizz, and baked goods. I availed myself of a samosa, a load of rum truffles, and a slice of nut and chocolate cake. It was a dense slab shot through with almonds, topped with grassy coloured pistachios, gravelling a mirror-sheened - and pleasantly bitter and grown-up - dark chocolate icing.
Along with the deli raid, I picked up a restrained number of other things - some biscuits, for example, a bottle of Spanish sparkling wine, and a jar of sun-dried tomato paste that cost £1 less than it would in London. And that's another reason to love Unicorn - as it's a co-op, the prices are all wallet-friendly.
Among the rows of organic veg, tinned goods, cleaning products and all the other things you'd expect in an omni supermarket, I was particularly taken with the chilled section - it's not often you come across entirely new vegan brands, but Unicorn had a couple including Hobbit, which had a range of readymade tofu, tempeh, and vegetable-based dips and other tofu products.
Here's some of the stuff I picked up:
Another new discovery not pictured here was Paul's tofu, which won my affection for two reasons - its price (low) and its water content (equally low). Thanks to its non-watery nature, you don't even have to press it before using it - who doesn't love labour saving tofu?
I used it make the brunch we had with my lovely Northern friends - tomato, mushrooms, beans, scramble, and um, chapatti. It's not traditional, but it works... Much like Unicorn.