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Feast for the senses, welcome to Highcliffe’s Blue Sky Deli
THERE’S a lovely, welcoming feel when you walk into Blue Sky Deli.
Sitting unassumingly in the main road in Highcliffe, the little shop is a real feast for the senses.
The delicious aroma of home-cooked sausage rolls and quiches fills the air, an array of beautifully coloured, Isle of Wight tomatoes are stacked in the corner and co-owners Ally Ginder and Sara Pengelly are busy chattering with their customers – most of whom they know by name.
It’s as if the shop has been there for years – not just 18 months.
And Ally and Sara freely admit they didn’t know what they were doing when they first opened the shop in the spring of 2012.
“The whole point was we came here to have a quiet little shop,” said Ally.
“We’d been cooking for private families, cleaning for them as housekeeper, cook and gardener – Sara was head gardener at a 300 acre estate. We’d never had a shop before, so we didn’t know what to do. But the shop has evolved.”
Right before they moved to the Dorset coast, Ally and Sara had been living in Lewes, Brighton, making use of the fresh, home-made food available on every corner.
But when they arrived in Mudeford, where they live, they realised there was a gap in the market. “There was nowhere we could go and get a nice loaf of bread,” said Ally.
“The reason we started this is because when we’ve worked together, Sara’s grown it and I’ve cooked it. We always had in that in the back of our minds we would have a place.”
Blue Sky Deli’s ethos is good quality, British food – with a few French cheeses thrown in for good measure.
The shelves are stocked with a wealth of local produce, including those Isle of Wight tomatoes – which ripen in shades of red, orange and even green – Isle of Wight cheeses and Dorset Blue Vinney, as well as locally made chutney, sauces and biscuits.
Another big seller is bread from the Long Crichel baker in Wimborne.
“It’s organic and it’s made in a wood-fired oven,” said Ally. “There are a lot of people around here that appreciate really good food. It’s not surprised us. It doesn’t matter what age you are, good food is good food. People feel like they’re spoiling themselves. Everything used to be about cheap food and now it’s going back the other way.”
Ally also serves up her special home-made quiches and sausage rolls, as well as products for the more sweet-toothed including deliciously rich chocolate brownies and enormous lemon meringue pies.
She has now started putting together her own meals, for customers to take away and re-heat, and the pair are busy preparing hampers featuring a range of their most popular products, ready for Christmas. “It’s just good food,” smiles Ally.
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