The Mercantile Blog

  • New Product: Dramatic Prints from Good Hope & Luck

    Good Hope & Luck is the Brighton design studio behind this stunning trio of prints, hand printed, numbered, signed and embossed.  Using four and five colours, plus enamel varnish and metallic inks they make a spectacular statement - go all out and order all three.

    We'll have a Q&A with the artist next week to learn more about the collection, so don't forget to put us into your Feedly so that you don't miss out.





    Shop the collection now.

  • New Products - Apothecary 87, Beardbase and The Brighton Beard Company

    Beards are important.  They are manly and handsome.  But like any other part of your body, they must be cared for, and at Natural History Mercantile, we are personally invested (as you can see from the picture above) in making sure that your beard feels, looks and smells great.

    So, to celebrate the fact that our pop-up shop is opening in Central Oxford this week, we have launched a whole new collection on the site - Apothecary.  This collection includes a range of beard and moustache conditioning and grooming products from three wonderful independent British producers, Apothecary 87, Beardbase and The Brighton Beard Company.

    This week, I will go through the products in more detail for you, and I hope that whether you have a beard or know somebody who does, you will love the new collection.

    And if you don't have a beard, fear not - we have a product especially for you - our Apothecary 87 Smooth Moving Shave Oil. 

  • New Products: Bonieri Gianduja Spread and Bella Boxes

    It's no secret to anybody who knows me that I have a sweet tooth.  And a salty one too, if I'm honest, but mostly I'm ALL about sweet.  

    When I was about 10, my father worked in Milan for a couple of years and I clearly remember the boxes of Gianduja treats that he would bring home with him every weekend, and I grew up never really knowing how to rediscover this bliss (and no, Nutella doesn't count).

    So just IMAGINE the thrills when I found out about Bonieri.

    The inspiration of the fabulously named Amber Rust, Bonieri is the gianduja creator you have been waiting for.  A wide range of ridiculously indulgent chocolates - or rather, gianduiotti (take a moment to remember that word, because you're going to want them), and jar after jar after jar of award-winning gianduja spread.

    First of all, the word gianduja is pronounced jan-DOO-ya, and gianduiotti is pronounced jan-do-YOT-ee. Gianduja is a heavenly blend of finely ground Piedmont hazelnuts IGP and smooth chocolate cream.  Bonieri's Gianduja Spread is over 40% hazelnuts (for the sake of comparison, Nutella is 55% sugar, the next greatest ingredient is palm oil, and is only 13% hazelnuts).

    When Bonieri's Gianduja Spread won its Gold Star in the 2014 Great Taste Awards, the judges said 

    "A great balance of chocolate and a fresh burst of nuts. A delicious, rich, satisfying dip with so many possibilities. A really good product."

    And that wasn't the only award winning product either.  The lovely Cremini also got a Gold Star this year, and here's what the judges had to say:

    "(We) loved the creaminess of this praline chocolate.  The hazelnut develops in the mouth and the layered look is most appealing... it's very easy to eat and melts away beautifully in the mouth."

    So there you go.  It's not just me. You need to order these now.

  • Meet the Maker: Marianna Doyle of Soru Jewellery

    Following our recent Q&A with Francesca, today we are sharing our Q&A with her sister and the other half of Soru, Marianna.

    Soru has already been a huge hit at Natural History Mercantile, and you can shop the collection for yourself here.

    What is the inspiration behind your collection and your work?

    I find inspiration all around,  I love to see how people around me style themselves with accessories, mixing and matching and stacking jewellery. I have always loved the chic European style of wearing jewellery in a nonchalant way- special jewellery shouldn't be left at home , it should be worn and appreciated on a daily basis.

    Where is your favourite place to relax?

    For me its at home, with good food and the people I love around me.

    What are you reading?

    I love anything with a bit of history, especially British history with all its scandals, love affairs and politics- they make interesting reads and you are learning at the same time. I also love Greek and Roman Mythology, its fascinating to see how todays world has been shaped by mythology. I have just started to read I, Claudius by Robert Graves.

    What are you listening to?

    My i pod is a bit eclectic! Loving Pharrell Williams and Iggy Azalea at the moment.

    What are you eating?

    I always go mad for avocados and tomatoes with olive oil and bread in the summer. I love sushi too, so get that whenever I can. I have a sweet tooth and love cake! Victoria Sponge is a favourite and my sister makes the best "healthy" chocolate!

    What will your next adventure be?

    We are experiencing new adventures with business all the time, so it could be our first ever photo shoot that we have coming up or perhaps our business trip to Turkey next month for inspiration and to see what fabulous new gems we can find.

    Soru Jewellery at Natural History Mercantile

  • In Which We Go for Lunch - The Wild Rabbit

    As you might know, we love food here at Natural History Mercantile, and although we are lucky enough to live right on the doorstep of the foodie heaven that is the Cotswolds, we very rarely venture out into the surrounding villages where the best food is (reputedly) to be found.

    Yesterday, I decided to rectify this somewhat, and made us all go to Chipping Norton for the day.  This turned out to be an unmitigated disaster - Chipping Norton sadly turned out to be astonishingly dull, and the service at the highly regarded restaurant we went to was so slow that we were able to leave, unnoticed, without yet having ordered more than fifteen minutes after being seated.

    Humiliated and dejected, I desperately tried to think of some way to restore my reputation in the eyes of my family (we had even dragged my father out with us), when I remembered that The Wild Rabbit might be somewhere near by, and it was!

    The Wild Rabbit has been much reviewed since it opened to much fanfare in 2013.  The Daily Mail rhapsodised (the owner has a title, after all) and the Guardian was suspicious first, then delighted (in a rather self-aware sort of way) but everybody agreed that the surroundings and food were impeccable alike.

    When we arrived, there were (predictably for a Sunday afternoon) no tables available in the restaurant, and the gloomy manager felt that the bar menu would probably be insufficient to feed us, but as this included roast beef with all the trimmings, we were very happy to be seated in the (very picturesque) bar area, beside an open fire.

    The roast beef was faultless, the roast potatoes spectacular, the hare papardelle unexpectedly generous on the hare front, and although the melon salad was delicious, it was the only vegetarian option on the bar menu, and thus woefully insufficient as a lunch (we supplemented it by ordering extra potatoes).  There was no children's menu, and we did not dare ask the gloomy manager (although he warmed up to us considerably when I told him that we were there because Chipping Norton was so dull), but we fed the children a combination of roast beef, hare, pasta, roast potatoes and delicious bread and they were content (who wouldn't be?).  

    Dessert was an eye-watering £8.50, but the huge platter of chocolate mousse, salted caramel ice-cream, some kind of amazing chocolate biscuit and something else mysterious but delicious appeared, fed me and both children to satiety, so was actually very good value.

    The whole thing ticked all my "ideal romantic Cotswolds pub" boxes - more Farrow & Ball than you can shake a paint tin at, beautifully presented and delicious food, spaniels, labradors and peahens in abundance, an open fire crackling away, and friendly service.  I see exactly what Marina O'Loughlin meant by it being a little too perfect and a bit over-produced, but that can hardly be a complaint when the execution is so very lovely.  Full marks.  I can't wait to stay overnight.

    The Wild Rabbit


    Church Street


 OX7 6YA 

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