Macknade's Fine Foods - September’s Featured Retailer
It is no exaggeration to state that Macknade’s is finest independent food hall in Kent, probably the South of England. You can tell this when you witness the reaction of first-time shoppers. “OMG!” their faces say. We have arrived in food heaven.
This wow factor comes from the sheer range and choice available. Macknade’s offers shoppers everything required for the weekly shop, plus everything for a foodie party; as well as all the ingredients for an exotic recipe.
The fresh produce is beautifully presented, carefully selected and offers a depth of choice no supermarket can equal. Where else will you find up to a dozen different types of succulent fresh mushrooms, from perfect porcini to classic chanterelles?
The cheese counter is equally extensive and enticing. The variety of the cooked and cured meats is also unrivalled; and is now supported by a butchery offering the finest locally-sourced meat and poultry.
Other highlights include fantastic artisan bread, a selection of pasta that bears comparison to Bologna’s finest delis, and a truly exceptional array of condiments, pickles and preserves. There is also a fresh counter where shoppers can select their own olives, dips and antipasti.
And, if all this gets too much, why not enjoy an espresso, cappuccino or speciality tea in Macknade’s coffee shop?
So, what is the secret of Macknade’s success. In one word it is family. This is a family-owned and family-run business. It was founded by Renato and Patricia Cuomo. Their son, Stefano is the current Managing Director. The Cuomo family, who have a farming background, share a deep passion for food and an obvious flair for retailing.
In the late 70s Renato Cuomo took over a field near Faversham to grow weird and wonderful produce and create 20 acres of Pick Your Own heaven. He was suppoorted and encouraged by his wife, Patricia; the daughter of a local farmer with a deep-rooted love for Kent and it’s food.
But the family’s roots in Kent go even deeper than this. In 1847 Stefano Cuomo’s great, great, great grandfather, Frederick Neame, took on Macknade Farm and, with his son, grew it into one of the region’s leading growers, nationally renowned for its hard fruit, hops and livestock.
The Cuomo family no longer farm, but their passion for food has evolved into Macknade Fine Foods which is still located where the family started some 170 years ago.
“We base what we do on the Italian adage of ‘qualita/prezzo’ - that is to say that price must always reflect quality - and our aim is to always deliver more,” explains Stefano.
“We also understand that our role as the link between producer and consumer is important and that an essential part of what we do is to help our customers be close to the producers who grow and make the wonderful products on our shelves. In turn, this brings our producers close to our customers as well,” he continues.
“We are passionate about what we do, and have a genuine love for food and drink and the traditions, effort and provenance that go in to producing it. We enjoying sharing what we know and we source our products carefully and form strong relationships with suppliers who share our ethos.”
“We are a generational, family business that plans ahead for the future, rather than looking at the short term gains. We are truly proud of our heritage, our produce, our quality, our service and our pricing. Macknade’s is not just a shop or job: it is a way of life. Our role is to carry the magic from the hands of the artisan to the plate of the food lover as equitably, ethically and sustainably as we can, and our supplier policy reflects this.”
These are not idle words. Any visit to Macknade’s will show that the Cuomo family continues to deliver an enjoyable and unforgettable experience that will inspire, surprise and stimulate every shopper. Little wonder, then, that Macknade’s Fine Food was Winner of the Taste of Kent Local Food Retailer Award in both 2014 and 2015.