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As one of the things that makes Upper Tooting an earthly paradise is its freedom from supermarkets from the Bec to the Broadway, I thought I’d give a friendly push to the newly opened Dadu’s online store. Dadu’s is just one of the shops that I can walk to within 2 minutes – but for the benefit of those not lucky enough to live in Tooting, here’s why it’s so great.

Think about the last time you bought whole black peppercorns, and then compare these prices:
Dadu’s online: ?4.49/1kg
Sainsbury’s refill: [you’ll have to go to the site to look, since Sainsbury’s have a disclaimer saying that the information on their site may not be reproduced without prior consent]

So Sainsbury’s own brand costs well over £20/kg (compared to £4.49) and Schwartz’s (£1.55/35g) costs over £40/kg. It’s tempting to think that the money must be in the packaging – but in fact, you save almost nothing by buying Sainsbury’s refill – it’s cheaper to buy the 100g jar.

Alaric the Goth demanded a ransom which included 3,000lbs (1364kg) of black pepper to end his siege of Rome in AD 408. Depending on where the Romans did their shopping to pacify Alaric, this would have cost them about ?6,000 at Dadu’s or ?30,000 at Sainsburys. It makes you wonder whether Alaric, being (roughly-speaking) German, was used to buying his pepper from Schwartz, in which case he might have thought that 3,000lbs of the stuff was worth around £60,000. Quite a serious mistake to make if you want the money to buy AK47s or pay local warlords to come over to your side.

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Jonathan Still, ballet pianist