About me

I have always been obsessed with food. When I look back at my childhood diaries, they are not full of what happened at school, my friends or who I fancied… instead they’re full of what I had for breakfast, then lunch and what I was going to have for dinner. Or what new chocolate bar/biscuit/crisps I had discovered.

If I was on holiday with my family, I’d write about the different foods I found in whatever country I was in. Or even the different ways they served it. I remember going to Italy and being served a pizza on a wooden chopping board. I thought that was amazing. I had never seen anything served on a chopping board before. Remember, this was about 25 years ago. I did, of course, draw a picture of it in my diary. And when I went to France and I was served Pommes Rissolées, crisp, cube-shaped, pan-fried potatoes…again, I thought this was an ingenious way to serve up potatoes. Of course, I drew a sketch of those in my diary too. When we went to York, instead of being excited about visiting the Yorvik Viking Centre, I was excited that there was a Sainsbury’s in York. At that time, Sainsbury’s hadn’t reached Scotland (again, this many, many years ago) but I’d heard of it. I knew it was a huge supermarket and I knew there would be foods in there I hadn’t seen yet, and so I was desperate to go. My parents, quite rightly, refused to visit a supermarket whilst on a visit to the historical city of York!

When I was 14, I wanted to get a part-time job, so I contacted my local deli. It was a Jewish deli. Coming from Glasgow, where there is a very large Jewish population, it was the natural choice. A lot of my school friends were Jewish and I was introduced to ‘Jewish food’ when I ate at their houses, so I had some knowledge of the food when I went to the deli. I got the job and every Sunday morning, I’d run excitedly down the road to my new job. As I entered the deli, I’d be hit by the intoxicating smell of freshly-baked bagels. The local bakery would drop them off….over-flowing sacks of poppy seed, sesame seed, onion and plain bagels…so warm and soft. I can still remember that smell so clearly today, it was incredible.

Working there, I became addicted to warm sesame seed bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese, latkes, salt beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup. I loved it. I worked there for a couple of years but when I began to need a bit more pocket money, I decided to move on.

I got a job in Sarti, an Italian deli and restaurant. When I was growing up in Glasgow, Sarti was a food institution. Everyone loved it. The original deli/café was on Wellington Street in Glasgow City Centre but when I started looking around for a new job, they were opening their brand new restaurant around the corner on Bath Street.

I, along with load of other hopefuls, turned up to the ‘interview’. The restaurant was still being renovated so it all felt very exciting. I got the job and I was soon working there several evenings a week and at weekends. I loved it. To be honest, I would probably have worked there for free. I loved talking about food, I loved suggesting food to people, I loved watching it being prepared and I loved seeing people’s faces as they ate it.

I used to work between the two sites but I think the Wellington Street site was my favourite. It was the smaller of the two but it had more atmosphere and it felt more authentic, given that there was a deli in there too. The deli manager at the time, Mario, would go through all the ingredients with me. I discovered palm hearts, artichoke hearts, buffalo mozzarella, aged balsamic vinegar, all different types of salamis and Parma hams…I was hooked! I worked at Sartis for years and only left when I moved to Edinburgh where I went to University.

For anyone who knows their British delis, you will know that Edinburgh has one of the best delis in the country – Valvona & Crolla. So of course, that was my first stop in the hunt for a job. Luckily, I got it and it turned out to be the best food education I could ever have hoped for.

Valvona & Crolla has been open since 1934. It is an Aladdin’s cave of food – floor to ceiling wonderfulness. I used to love watching people come through the door…everyone’s face was the same – their eyes would widen and their mouths would drop open as they tried to take everything in. When you walk through the very unassuming front door, you are immediately transported to all that is good about Italy. The smell is intoxicating and the shelves are full to bursting from floor to ceiling. There are salamis and parma hams dangling above you, there are cheeses to the right of you and chocolate to the left, it really is a feast for the senses and you almost don’t know where to start.

My favourite counter to work on was the cheese counter. I took so much pride in it. I made sure I knew everything there was to know about each cheese, then I’d tempt the customers who were queuing next to it to try the samples. It worked every time. No-one could try the cheese then not buy any. The cheese is fantastic. The gorgonzola dolce would actually start running off the board when the weather was warm then we would have to scoop it up with a spoon. It’s still my favourite cheese today.

The meats are fantastic, the pastas are incredible. They have everything from nettle ravioli to pumpkin tortellini. The coffee is excellent, as is their Italian wine section. They make all their own bread, pastries & cakes (all of which are amazing). I highly recommend their almond croissants. I have not yet found a better almond croissant than the ones I used to eat in Valvona & Crolla. If you are ever in Edinburgh, this has to be one of your first destinations.

Once I graduated from University, I left Edinburgh and moved to London to get a ‘real job’ but I still missed working in those delis. A few years ago I was working in a job I felt completely unsatisfied with. On a whim I quit and as I was walking back from work that day, I walked past a branch of Carluccio’s in Putney, London. Carluccio’s is a chain of Italian caffe’s and delis in the UK.

Without really thinking, I walked in, asked to speak to the manageress and asked her for a job working in the deli. I told her I had worked in delis since I was 14 years old and that I‘d worked in Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh as a student and I was offered a job on the spot. I was told to start the next morning.

I was so delighted, I practically skipped to work that morning. About 3 weeks into the job I asked the manageress if I could become a deli manager. I was told that they were opening a new branch in Richmond and once I was trained up properly, I could manage it.

I have never loved a job more. Yes, it was exhausting having to be at work for 6am every morning but I was so excited about being around food all day I used to jump out of bed. There was something really special about walking into the deli when no-one else was there and I could set it up by myself, just the way I liked it. I took so much pleasure in displaying the meats and cheeses and breads. I think everyone thought I was a bit crazy but for me it was the perfect job.

Unfortunately, working in a deli doesn’t pay very well. I’d taken a pay-cut of £15k a year to work there and my debt was starting to mount up, then other personal reasons meant I had to leave London for a few months and I had to resign. I’m now back working in a ‘real job’ in London but this blog has allowed me an outlet to keep my hand in food. However, I still miss working in those delis. I pretty much talk or think about food all day long and it was so lovely to have a job where I was paid to talk about food all day long.

So I have pretty much gone from this…

tumblr_m0md0wOYiO1qiwoc6

to this…

me

Nothing has changed! My passion for food has grown over the years and one day I hope to have my own deli/café/bakery, or get a job in the food industry. I’m not sure how or when I am going to do this, but that’s the dream. Recently I have been made Blogger Of The Week by Square Meal and I am also a blogger for Time Out London.

If you would like to get in touch, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Or you can email me at victoria_cameron@hotmail.com.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

33 Comments

  • Reply aconsciousappetite 1st July 2012 at 8:21 pm

    From one WordPress newbie to another, great intro and thank you for sharing. I am fortunate to have visited Valvona & Crolla – thought I stepped into heaven. Also, I lived in London for 6 months & hope to live there again someday….so I will be eagerly following your eats!

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 1st July 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Aw thank you! I’ve had a blog on Tumblr for a year but decided to move to WordPress yesterday so I’m currently transferring a year’s worth of blog posts! I adore Valvona & Crolla and visited it a couple of weeks ago when I was in Edinburgh catching up with friends. It has hardly changed. It has the same amazing smell and I still got that excited feeling when I walked through the door. Love it!

  • Reply Lola Mae 4th July 2012 at 11:02 am

    I love it VIcs,. xxxx

  • Reply greg@urbanspoon 2nd October 2012 at 12:36 am

    Thanks! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you’ve reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.

    http://www.urbanspoon.com/br/52/8665/London/A-Spoonful-Of-Sugar.html

    Best,
    Greg

    http://www.urbanspoon.com


    greg(at)urbanspoon(dot)com

  • Reply Cooklore 6th November 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Fabulous About Page! The deli shots are stunning and I love that you included childhood pictures illustrating your early love of food. I look forward to following and reading more.

  • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 6th November 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply CC 30th November 2012 at 11:22 am

    You know in all the time u’ve had this site this is the first time I’ve read this.. Brought a tear to my eye.. You are wasted in PR!!x

  • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 30th November 2012 at 11:29 am

    Tell me about it! 😉 x

  • Reply LondonMetroGirl 27th February 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Hi, I’ve nominated your blog for a Liebster Award, a fun way to share and promote blogs.
    http://memoirsofametrogirl.com/2013/02/27/a-liebster-award-nomination/

  • Reply Sophia 9th May 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and subscribing! I love your story – your passion for food literally jumps off the page!

  • Reply anjlm 5th July 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Love the blog name 🙂

  • Reply pixelbaking 25th July 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I am so glad I came across your blog today! I got a chance to visit London in May and I absolutely adore everything about England and I cannot wait to go back. I look forward to reading more wonderful posts from you.

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 25th July 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Aah, thank you very much! Hopefully next time you come back to London you will have some good places to eat in. 🙂

  • Reply a French girl "cuisine" 1st October 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Love your blog! I have nominated you for the following four awards: Very Inspiring Blog Award, Best Moment Award, Sunshine Award & Versatile Blogger Award. You will find the blog post here: http://wp.me/p37Hgt-qP!

  • Reply Marta 28th October 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Hello, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

  • Reply Clare 25th November 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Hello,

    My name’s Clare and I’m part of the DotComGiftShop team. I recently discovered your excellent blog, A Spoonful of Sugar, and wanted to let you know we’ve included it in our post ‘Top 10 Christmas recipes’. You can see the post here:

    http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com/top-10-christmas-recipes

    I hope you don’t mind being part of this article. If you do, let us know and we’ll remove your site immediately.

    We also wanted to invite you to become part of the DotComGiftShop Blog Network. This is an informal network of friendly bloggers that we publicly endorse and offer a number of benefits including:
    • 25% off discount code to use at DotComGiftShop.
    • Regular complimentary products to review and give away in competitions.
    • Entry to our exclusive bloggers’ competition, with the winner receiving an iPad.
    • Invitations to guest blog on the DotComGiftShop blog.

    We’ll also provide a badge for your site, saying ‘DotComGiftShop Fave Blog’.

    Being informal, you aren’t obliged to do anything. Although it would be great if you could:
    • Give us a mention on your blog’s home page.
    • Review some of our lovely products that we’ll send you from time to time, to tell us and your readers what you think.

    If you are interested in becoming one of the members of our network, let us know with a quick reply to this message.

    All the best,

    Clare

    http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com
    http://facebook.com/dotcomgiftshop
    http://twitter.com/dotcomgiftshop

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 25th November 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Wow, thank you so much! I’m thrilled that you thought to include my blog on DotComGiftShop. I love your site and buy from it often. I’m straight on there every time I have a birthday/anniversary/wedding/christmas to buy for. 🙂

      I am definitely interested in becoming one of the members of your network. Can you send me the badge so I can add it to my blog?

      Many thanks again,
      Victoria

  • Reply harry krishna 30th December 2013 at 10:06 pm

    who took the picture of you eating the rice pudding? it’s the real thing, as is your appreciation and description of food, nigella is over, you’re the new black.

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 30th December 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Haha, thanks! 🙂 The photo taken of me eating the rice pudding was probably taken by my dad. There are a LOT of photos of me eating over the years. 😉

  • Reply deliciouslynell 24th March 2014 at 7:45 am

    Hi there! Just letting you know I’ve nominated you for the versatile blogger award. As always, acceptance is purely optional, so if you’re interest then please visit my post here:

    http://ineedafeed.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/versatile-blogger-award/

  • Reply gayla laiken 17th June 2014 at 12:58 am

    I no longer receive your blog, has a spoonful of sugar closed. The last one I received was in April.

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 17th June 2014 at 7:28 am

      No, it hasn’t closed. I have had a lot going on in my personal life since April so I haven’t had time to write up any posts. I have loads to post though so please bear with me. I will hopefully have time over the next two weeks to write something up. 🙂

  • Reply Joanna 31st July 2014 at 2:13 am

    Hi,

    Great Blog! We’re looking for London food bloggers to test out some dining experiences for us. If you send me your email I’d be happy to send you some further information.

    Thanks,
    Joanna

  • Reply laurasmess 13th October 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I’m so sorry that you had to give up the dream job for monetary reasons. I’ve done the same thing – I’m a social worker but I badly want to work in the food industry – and it sucks! I love the fact that you (and I!) have a food blog to provide a creative outlet though. You create beautiful treats, completely drool-worthy and delicious, and I can’t wait to make some of your creations! Love your blog – following now! x

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 13th October 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you so much! I’ve just had a look at your blog and its beautiful! Your photos are stunning. Hopefully one day we can both work in the food industry. I’m not giving up the dream just yet. 😉 x

  • Reply Amy B 7th February 2015 at 11:35 am

    You’re mad!! Quit the normal job, forget the debt, live your life…! You have far too much talent to waste it. Lay in bed reading your blog for hours – I’m hooked!! Off out shopping for ingredients to make your brownies xx

  • Reply deliciousdeliciousbagel 1st April 2015 at 12:05 am

    Great story! Last time I travelled to Japan I planned the whole trip around what food could only be found in the cities I visited. I even made a checklist XD

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 1st April 2015 at 12:07 am

      Haha I do that too! When I go to New York my itinerary is completely based around food. 😉

  • Reply Lindsey 24th October 2016 at 11:28 am

    Great story! Valvona & Crolla is my favourite Italian deli too & shaped my destiny as a food blogger. I got a present of their book “Dear Francesca”written & signed by Mary Conti which started my collection of signed recipe books. Several years passed & when visiting Edinburgh fringe, I bumped into her at Jenners food hall & had a great chat about family recipes & her mum’s shortbread vs mine. Fast forward to now I have been blogging on taste2taste.com for 16 months with my co founder Simon in New York, with me in London: 2 friends 2 cities 2 opinions. We are loving it

    • Reply spoonfulofsugar 24th October 2016 at 11:44 am

      Thank you! Yeah Valvona & Crolla was wonderful and Mary is lovely. Sounds like you have a great blog! London and New York have the best food in the world. Writing about 2 cities is a great idea. 🙂

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