It is rare to see me aghast, but pulling into the yard of A Di Maria and Sons saw my jaw drop.
I’ve returned from perhaps my sixth visit to this wondrous place. An oasis in Coventry. This family run business has truly taken my breath away. From start to finish, this is more than a wholesaler, it is an experience. And a splendid one.
Based in Foleshill, North Coventry, this is the definitive place for those craving excellent value and quality of food. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to the Young Mr Di Maria (yes that is a reference to Are You Being Served); his son and his grandsons who all play an integral part in the running of A Di Maria and (grand)Son(s).
Pictured above is a still from the cheese side of the fridge. Scamorza; Parmesan; pecorino – to name a few which I have purchased and sampled. Let me tell you, the smell is intoxicating. But there is more.
The benefit and downfall of buying directly from the wholesaler is that the quantity in which you have to buy. Personally, I was overjoyed to have, after 6 months, 2.5kg of guanciale in my possession.
Originally, A Di Maria catered only for restaurants across the country. As I mentioned before, they only opened trade to the public recently. It is my daily hope that they will open a deli somewhere soon. Leamington would cater for their potential clientele.
For me, the advantages of this miraculous establishment are numerous.
- Location. Foleshill is North of Coventry which is 15 minutes from my home and 8 from the centre of Coventry.
- Variety. There is a warehouse filled with all sorts of the finest Italian food. Pasta; flour; tinned peeled tomatoes; a whole variety of alcohol; premium coffee; red wine vinegar – the list goes on. Anything you could possibly want.
- Quality. Di Maria is concerned with one thing and one thing only: getting you the best quality product. Everything I’ve bought in my numerous trips has been exquisite. The wine, the 25kg of 00 flour. The red wine vinegar which I used to caramelise red onions for some savoury muffins. Everything has been a great and immeasurable success.
- Price! I find it unspeakably crass to talk about money in many situations but it bears being mentioned. the greatest advantage of buying directly from the wholesaler is that you get wholesaler prices. I could do my monthly shop here for about £100. These two splendid bottles of wine cost me a mere £12 for two. Put yourself in Tesco looking at the pitiful selection of Italian wines. Each one at £6 or less is Tesco own brand.
Each time I step through that enormous warehouse entrance, I am taken aback and, I won’t lie, salivating.
But above all, I value great service. And A Di Maria exceed what one would expect. I am greeted by one of the Di Maria Trinity, as it were, and taken to the office for a divine espresso. The kind of espresso which you’d buy in Naples. The kind of espresso which makes you feel as though you are being pulled to heaven by your hair. They are always polite and courteous and patient with me while I deliberate over how much I am willing to spend on that particular day.
I cannot recommend A Di Maria enough. This is an oasis in a (not so barren) desert. If you profess to love food and quality but don’t have an enormous budget, this is the place for you.
Come one come all.