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About Caracoli


Inspired by their travels in Australia and South Africa and the food and drink they enjoyed there Gail and Chris Nichols decided to realise their dream of opening a similar business here in the UK.

The idea was to create a Coffee shop and Food Store serving the very best coffee, freshly baked cakes, and seasonal lunches whilst also offering customers a store selling wonderful specialist foods and food related gifts. The perfect site became available in the Georgian market town of Alresford in Hampshire and the doors of the first Caracoli opened in November 2005. Since then three more Caracoli stores have followed in Guildford, Winchester and Farnham.

An early challenge was finding a name that could represent the ethos of the business. ‘Caracoli’ is a coffee bean which develops singly inside the coffee cherry where normally there are two.  Because there is only a single bean the flavour is concentrated and caracoli beans are highly prized. The choice of  ‘Caracoli’ was a great starting point because it encapsulates something out of the ordinary that has exceptional taste and it was these qualities that they wanted to capture.    

For first time visitors, a little tip for pronunciation is that it rhymes with tea not rye! The Coffee Shops are vibrant, welcoming places where you can enjoy exceptionally good coffee, treat yourself to delicious freshly baked cakes, meet friends for a healthy lunch, catch up on emails, hold informal business meetings or have Sunday brunch with the family.

Alongside and integral to the Coffee Shop is the Food Store. Here you will find carefully selected chutneys, oils, cheese biscuits, pasta, sauces, chocolates and a range of local cheeses – a sort of treasure trove of delicatessen foods. In addition we sell a colourful array of kitchenware and china, cookbooks, and gifts for food lovers.

We source these products from around the world with particular loyalty to local producers and often seeking out foods that are not available in supermarkets and therefore supporting smaller producers. One thing that never changes is that we will only sell something if we think it is delicious or beautiful and something our customers will love.

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Great Taste one and two star awards have been scooped by Caracoli Kitchen foods every year since 2009. Examples of our winners are Triple Ginger cake, Cereal bar, Breakfast muffin and Hampshire ale cake – delicious things you will find in our stores today.  2012 was a big year as we won the Telegraph magazine ‘Best small shop award’ in the food category.