It is that time of the year: when office workers all around the country desperately flock to the shops in order to find something for their Secret Santa gift recipients!
Since the recipient in question is from Serbia, it was deemed a very thoughtful idea to eschew anything from the “Secret Santa” section in shops and instead visit Magaza, a Balkan grocery shop, to assemble a nice bundle of sweets and other ‘home tasting’ confectionery, straight from Eastern Europe.
I’m always very curious about grocery shops from different countries, so of course I would join on this trek across London. It also meant eventually getting above ground while on the tube, which is always an exhilarating moment (yes, I get excited about things like that).
A few minutes walk after alighting at East Acton, and we were at the Balkan paradise:
Lots of red peppers in jars and lots of other things in paprika-abundant jars in the aisles, plus many other sorts of preserves and pickles (it’s a pickler’s dream over there).
I had no idea of what most of the things in the aisles were, but others were so strikingly familiar, such as the “cupboard” items with items like biscuits, pasta, etc… where the packaging is very similar to the style I see in Spanish shops, but it’s all written in languages I can’t understand 😅
Of course kefir, cheeses and yoghurts were present there as well:
And seeds and spices—some of my favourite things to spend lots of time looking at and perusing:
I was also very excited that they were selling nuts and seeds in bulk:
It reminded me a bit to the big walnuts sack my grandmother used to have in her deli at around Christmas time; I would occasionally pick one walnut and try to neatly crack it open, failing at first, then I’d try harder and smash it to pieces and have to pick the bits of actual walnut from the shell… fun times! 🥳😂
They also sell baked goods and flours and a lot more things (you can look in their website—apparently they do home delivery too).
The staff were really helpful and not only didn’t mind us examining the aisles with excitement and wonder for what must have seemed like hours to them, they also helped us navigate these unfamiliar food items and select “things that a Serbian person would enjoy”, which was great (what if you accidentally buy them the hottest, spiciest and deadliest peppers in the world??? 🌶🌶🌶🌶).
Basically, if I lived closer I would be visiting this shop all the time!
In the meantime, we got some caraway seeds (mostly, to put them into breads 🍞), and something called “Apple butter” which we didn’t know what it was, but since the two separate words sounded good we got anyway. It turned out to be an apple concentrate—less sweet than syrup, and it works very well on porridge. Yum! 😋
Magaza Balkan Fine Food
6 The Vale,
London W3 7SB