Watch as staff at a famous Edinburgh delicatessen are treated to a special musical delivery

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 The shop manager described the scene as “quite an entrance”

Staff at Edinburgh’s Valvona & Crolla received a food delivery to remember when onion sellers or ‘Onion Johnnies’ arrived in their Elm Row store singing a song accompanied by a banjo.

The pair entered ‘Scotland's oldest Delicatessen and Italian Wine Merchant’ last week - with the duo delivering their produce in style and singing a traditional song to staff behind the counter. 

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In a video shared on social media, workers at the deli share smiles with the performers as they make their way through the shop with a large batch of onions. Shop manager, Olivia Contini - the great granddaughter of the businesses’ founder, Alfonso Crolla, wrote on X: “Well that was quite an entrance! The Onion Johnnies have well and truly arrived - with a gorgeous fresh delivery of onions, garlic and shallots… Merci les Johnnies!!!!”

 Onion sellers made 'quite an entrance' at Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh during a delivery last week. Photo: Valvona & Crolla  Onion sellers made 'quite an entrance' at Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh during a delivery last week. Photo: Valvona & Crolla
 Onion sellers made 'quite an entrance' at Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh during a delivery last week. Photo: Valvona & Crolla | Valvona & Crolla

It is understood the first Onion Johnnies came over to Britain from the north west of France in early 19th century, selling onions on foot and by bicycle - but these days, traditional Onion Johnnies are not something you will see every day. 

Speaking to the Evening News, manager, Olivia, said: “Onion Johnnies were Breton farmers who came across to the UK selling onions on bicycles - it’s a really long history and tradition. The guys that sell to us are fantastic and it’s always exciting when they come in. Their best products are their rosé onions and their fantastic violet garlic. It was great to have them surprise us with a wee tune when they came in the other day.” 

Olivia, who wasn’t working when the musical duo arrived at the Elm Row premises last Thursday said she was gutted to have missed the special moment as it was the first time they performed a song in the store. Olivia said: “We’re not blessed with a song every time unfortunately, I think their friend who plays the banjo was travelling with them so they decided to sing for us - so it was a very special surprise." 

Olivia added: “They’re such a laugh - when they arrive everything in the shop stops. Not only do they bring fantastic produce but also a smile to our faces.”

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