Chop’d Manchester: Build A Better Salad

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an event at Chop’d, a salad eatery that has just opened on Cross Street in Manchester. I’m always up for trying new food so I accepted.

For those who know me well, they will know for a fact that I’ve never been much of a salad fan. I’m not sure whether it was my childhood abhorrence to any food that was green or I just plain prefer sandwiches. These days I will eat anything green (apart from peas don’t ask me why) but I’ll never choose a salad while I’m out. Or make one at home for that matter. I just found them boring and unfilling.

I think it was about 4 years ago when I first entered the American salad chain Sweet Tomatoes and that was an epiphany; a salad epiphany if that’s a thing. Apparently I adore salad when I can make it myself. But of course it being based in America, I’ve only been able to return a handful of times. I’ve never found anything I could compare it to over here in the UK. You can make your own salad at Subway but it’s not the same.

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Enter Chop’d. Originally from London, it has 12 stores in our capital and now 1 in Manchester. It’s been around for 12 years and prides itself on how natural it’s ingredients are. The chicken is just chicken and the tomatoes are just tomatoes. Nothing added. I love that. Another factor that would stop me buying a premade salad is all the extra rubbish they stuff in there to preserve it. Everything at Chop’d was right there in front of you – what you see is what you get.Chop'd 3

Now this was the evening where Manchester had that freak rain/thunder/lightning storm that flooded the city centre so I was a wee bit damp. Fringes do not do well in the rain people! Nor do ballet flats or thin Primark “raincoats”. I brought my friend Claire along with me who is anti salad so this was going to be interesting.

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When we arrived we were greeted with a glass of wine and we got to borrow fun Chop’d aprons to wear. First, we learned a bit of Chop’d’s history, then we got to taste test their tomatoes from Sussex, apples from Kent and chicken from Essex. The chicken came with a jerk paste and fresh coriander, which was delicious and there was also fresh cooked smoked salmon, which was to die for. I will admit that I totally filled myself up on that!

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After that, it was the fun part. Chop’d challenged us to make our own salad. They let us all get behind the bar and make ourselves a masterpiece. It was difficult picking between all the yummy ingredients but I decided to go with both my heritage and be weird and break the rules. I called it the triple chickpea. That’s right, my salad included chickpeas, hummus and falafel. I also added baby salad leaves, couscous, olives, roasted red peppers and tomatoes with a lemon & olive oil dressing. Call me crazy but it was perfect for me.

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Since I had filled myself up on all the samples earlier, I took my salad home with me to enjoy. And boy did I enjoy it. Topher was not allowed any of it. Claire even said she really enjoyed her salad. I’ll definitely be back to Chop’d next time I’m around that area. I need to try the other things on their menu – they also do pre-made salads, soups, wraps, stews and even breakfast. It makes me slightly wish I had a city job so I could go there every day!

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Thanks Chop’d for a great evening and opening my eyes (and Claire’s eyes too) to the world of salad!

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