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Food local products Reviews and Such

Mottola Grocery 242 Hargrave Street

Mottola Grocery is a grocery store for gourmets and gourmands, located in the Hargrave Street Market in downtown Winnipeg. They specialize in high quality, local and imported groceries. They also sell a good range of takeout sandwiches, salads, and baked goods.

Mottola Grocery Chicken
Admittedly more expensive at $14.99 Than a Costco chicken. More flavour though, and less water.

I have to admit, on my first visit, I took one look at the prices and said to myself, I can’t imagine myself visiting here again. However, time, and repeat visits have changed my mind.

Mottola Grocery, One Stop Gourmet Shop

Instead of being a shop I rarely visit, Mottola is now a periodic shopping location. One thing I really like is their variety. This means I can find smoked meat, fine cheeses, crackers, etc. all in one place.

Blue cheese
Saint-Agur cheese
Prosciutto
Prosciutto from the Mottola Grocery deli.
Bath Water Crackers
Gluten-Free water crackers imported from Bath, England.

This means you can go to one place and get all the items you need to create a homemade charcuterie board, or sandwiches. They also offer a variety of wines that you can select to pair with these food choices. That’s one thing I haven’t done yet.

One aspect of Mottola Grocery I really appreciate is the knowledgeable staff. They are up to date on the background of the products they sell. If you want to know where any meat or cheese they sell comes from they will have that information. As it is chef-inspired, they will also be able to give you preparation and serving ideas.

Mottola Grocery Lunch to Go

One thing I didn’t expect to be doing, would be dropping in to Mottola’s for lunch to go. This is something I picked up on more recently.

It started when I when I was downtown late one Saturday morning. One result of Covid is that there are not a lot of good coffee shops open downtown on a Saturday (Tim Horton’s is not a good coffee shop). One morning, I remembered Mottola Grocery, and stopped in to pick up a latte.

A Mottola Grocery Sandwich
Mottola offers a good range of well-filled sandwiches to go.

It also gave me a chance to look around at the baked goods and sandwiches that they offer. Since then, I’ve stopped in for sandwiches on three or four occasions. I’ve also tried several of the in store baked goods. I really like the Cinnamon Knots, but there are several really tasty choices.

However, my favourite baked good is the one pictured below. These shortbreads are rich and luxurious. Two of them constitute a light meal. The company operates out of both Manitoba and the Cayman Islands

Cayman Island Cookie
Cayman Island Chocolate Chunk Shortbreads.

Unlike the cookies, I don’t have pictures of any of the other baked goods that I have purchased. In fact, a lack of pictures describes a good portion of what I’ve purchased at Mottola Grocery.

My Takeaway From Mottola’s Takeaways

Among the many offerings at Mottola Grocery are takeaway frozen meals. These are gourmet versions of popular restaurant style dishes, and home cooked favourites. Each meal is capable of serving two people, and if you stretch it with salad or vegetables could serve three or four.

Stretching what you get from Mottola Grocery is also a good practice, if you can only afford to shop there on the odd occasion. The food is so good, I hope you do make it down sometime.

Mottola Grocery has a full service butcher’s counter. Along with various cuts of meat, you can also find some sous-vide cooked meat and fish that you only need to heat and serve. I’ve tried one of the fish and one of the meat options, and I found each of them to be quick and delicious.

Mottola Grocery Chicken
Admittedly more expensive at $14.99 Than a Costco chicken. More flavour though, and less water.

They also offer cooked chickens. These are a more expensive version of the type you would find at any supermarket. However, two things worth noting. They are better seasoned, and the meat doesn’t have that watery quality that the chickens from the supermarket seem to have.

A Taste for the Curious

I really enjoy the fact that each time I visit Mottola Grocery there seems to be something new. Also, I occasionally run into products that overlap some of my other interests. For example, I’ve purchased Dundee Marmalade at the store. Dundee Marmalade plays a secondary plot role in an episode of Pie in the Sky, one of my favourite TV detective shows.

Plus, I enjoy trying European made potato chips, and other such products. The flavour profiles are interesting, and a nice change from North American brands.

Popcorn
A popcorn where every kernel actually does pop.

I also picked up one of these bottles of popping corn. Unlike a certain national brand, nearly every kernel actually does pop.

A Saucy Store

Naturally, whenever I visit a grocery store, I like to check out their selection of hot sauces. Mottola Grocery has several varieties ranging from mild to quite hot. The Habanero Hot Sauce pictured below, has really good flavour, and a pretty decent amount of heat to it.

Mottola Grocery Habanero Hot Sauce
Habanero Hot Sauce.

While I like almost everything about Mottola Grocery, in moderation, there is one thing I wish was different.

That is, the limited number of Manitoba made products that they carry. Mainly, because this helps perpetuate the idea that local products are somehow second rate. I realize they want to promote their in-house goods, but I think there should be a few more local producers represented.

This, by the way, doesn’t only apply to Mottola Grocery. The Forks Trading Commpany is much worse for this.

I do appreciate the fact that Mottola Grocery has lowered the prices of items such as La Cocina chips to bring them more in line with what you would pay at other retail shops.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.