Camilla charms Southville

February 24 2017
Camilla charms Southville

The Duchess of Cornwall visited Southville's prize-winning independent traders on Valentine's Day

Camilla greets children in North StreetA posy for the Duchess from florist XantheButcher Chris Cierpik meets the DuchessCamilla is shown how chocolates are made by ZaraHordes of press and TV crews followed the DuchessCamilla leaves Rare Meat Butchers on North StreetEveryone wanted to say hello to the Duchess

IT LOOKS as if Southville is as fond of the royal family as it is of its independent shops, if the evidence of the Valentine’s Day visit by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is anything to go by.

Camilla visited acclaimed delicatessen Southville Deli, award-winning butcher Rare, and equally-accoladed florist Xanthe and chocolatier Zara.

She sampled plenty of their wares and met some of the local producers who supply meat, chocolate, coffee and more.

Everyone seemed pleased to see her, except for a heavily-built young man, clutching a bunch of Valentine’s roses, who was determined to walk straight through the royal party.

He may not have realised what was going on, and he may still be wondering how he was discretely shoved by a royal protection officer into a different direction.

Meanwhile the Duchess of Cornwall was determined to shake as many hands and greet as many children as possible.

One family she met was mum Anna Lavall and daughter Daisy. 

Daisy, 5, was very shy but was delighted to meet the Duchess.

Anna, who was visiting Bristol from Derby, said: “Daisy is in love with the royal family. She’s always in front of the TV asking questions about them!”

All the stores visited have won accolades. Rare Meat has won the Best Butcher award in the Bristol Good Food Awards three years running. Zara’s Chocolates has also taken a Bristol Good Food Award for the past three years, for Best Confectionery. Sharing the same premises as Zara’s, Ivory Flowers was a regional finalist in the prestigious Wedding Industry Awards 2016.

And long-established Southville Deli has also been nominated for Bristol Good Food awards. 

Chocolatier Zara Narracott showed Camilla how her three-
strong team makes handmade confectionery with the best Belgian chocolate. Zara began her business from home six years ago, and moved to the shop three years ago, making chocolate varieties she couldn’t find locally.

“I have always been a chocoholic and the Duchess seems like a chocolate fan!” she said.

Florist Xanthe Ivory struck a chord with Camilla when she gave her a posy of narcissus from the Isles of Scilly, which is part of the Duchy of Cornwall.

“She said she would have liked to be a florist in another life,” said Xanthe. At Rare Butchers, Camilla met not only owner Chris Cierpik, but some of the suppliers who bring him his organic, free-range meat.

Chris said: “She asked where the meat comes from, and how people are now getting interested in free-range meat. And how we came to win the Best Butcher award three years running!” He said young people are increasingly turning to butchers so they can be sure the meat is high-welfare. 

“I hope this is an inspiration to others to start in the business as people get wise to factory farming,” he said. 

Southville Deli owner Paul Wick said Camilla asked how he came to establish the shop in 2001.

“I explained I couldn’t find everything I wanted to buy in the North Street area. I needed a change of direction – I was working in call centres and bars. It was a steep learning curve!

“There’s been much hard work done in the street. It’s turned itself around in recent years, and it’s really nice to have that acknowledged!”