Monday, June 6, 2011

A Culinary Candy Store

A few finishing touches.
Tonight we attended a store opening preview tour at Whole Foods Grocery in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

The Grand Opening for the NEW store is TOMORROW at 10 am and the first 200 shoppers get a free cookbook!

Charlottesville is so lucky to have such a wonderful store. 

Sandy, our tour guide.
Approaching the storefront you are welcomed by seasonal products such as lovely fresh herbs, bird seed, and their quality natural hardwood briquettes (that I exclusively use).  Entering the store for the first time felt like entering into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  The artfully piled colorful fresh vegetable section draws me in and to the right is the huge bulk item section where you can even grind your own flour!  

Sandy, the Marketing Manager and employee for 13 years took us on our informative tour while along the way, exuberant store employees shared their knowledge about specific products.  The main thrust was local, local, local, and customer, customer, customer.  They really do want you to enjoy your shopping experience, and are more than happy to help you find what you need and educate you to broaden your foodie knowledge.

Grab a scented bar of soap.
Specialty "bars" are dotted around the parameter of the store featuring culinary cooking instruction, coffees, mixed grains and granola, wine and beer, pasta making, organic to go, hot to go, soap, and desserts.  Item prices range from their reasonibly priced 365 brand products to a top of the line coffee at $59.99 a pound!  Delicate pasta is made to order and they even grind and craft their own sausage onsite and also have a smoker and rotisserie. 

Resident Coffee Expert
Whole Foods definately is customer oriented, offering cooking guidance at the cooking station and health information from the vitamin section.  The prepared foods manager told us that you only need to ask if you want to see an item (may be a little more vegan or gluten free) and that you can eat the prepared food for 60 days without eating the same thing!  There is a wine and beer tasting bar offering 8 beer and 16 wines to sample and plenty of seating inside and out for drinking from their portable espresso bar or huge prepared food section.  They have a bulk tea section featuring my all time favorite teas from Rishi.

It's a great change over the old store and I know tomorrow Cvillians will explode upon the new store.  It's definately an exciting day to go, checking it out and snagging a few samples and treats.  We celebrated tomorrows opening with a small sampling of a delicious white wine.  I had a ginger dessert that was D E L I C I O U S!  

Bizillion Bulk Bins and Cooking Assistance Bar.
I'll be going back tomorrow on opening day for more around 5 pm.  Go check it out, some people have worked really, really hard to make this happen - kudos to Whole Foods employees.  Please leave a comment when you go and tell me what you think!


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