Five Specialty Food Stores to Visit
Whenever I travel, I make a point of finding and visiting specialty food stores, farmer’s markets, or independent grocery stores because these stores carry regional and high quality food products that are otherwise unavailable locally. Usually in a downtown area and typically limited to medium to large-sized cities, specialty food stores are like good bookstores: a relaxing place to spend a few hours and take away a special something to enjoy later. The following specialty food stores are worth visiting:
Eataly, 200 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York: Located in the Flatiron neighborhood by 23rd Street, Eataly is a 50,000 square foot megastore devoted to all things Italian…as in food. A grocery store with individual retail departments offering breads, desserts, cheeses, fish, meats, pasta, wine, housewares, and more is at the core of this store along with a food court that offers sit down or take out service for pasta, pizza, gelato, salads, and more. A second store – even larger at 63,000 – recently opened in Chicago at 43 East Ohio Street. www.eataly.com
Carmine’s, 2401 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Carmine’s has been around since 1987 and is a local institution for those looking for top quality food. At its core, Carmine’s is a 16,000 square foot grocery store with speciality departments: bakery, wine, butcher, fish monger, prepared foods, and a restaurant referred to as La Trattoria. One of the best take-out meal places in northern Palm Beach County. www.carmines.com
Formaggio Kitchen, 244 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Formaggio Kitchen has been a part of the Cambridge community for more than 30 years and it’s easy to understand why: the shop is a gourmand’s paradise with its own cheese caves, imported foods, local artisan products, prepared foods, freshly baked goods, wine (and wine classes), fresh produce, and more. For cheese-lovers there is no better selection in the Boston area. Every Thursday, Formaggio receives the traditional loaves of bread from Poilâne bakery in Paris – a Francophile’s dream. Also, try the cinnamon-sugar donuts on Saturday mornings. www.formaggiokitchen.com
Dean & DeLuca: Dean & DeLuca has multiple locations in many cities across the United States (New York, Washington, DC – pictured below, St Helena in the Napa Valley, Charlotte, NC, and Leawood, Kansas) and is my go-to store for finding the best of the best. A foodie paradise with grocery items, fresh produce, bakery goods, wine, meats, chocolate, and prepared foods, Dean & DeLuca is hard to beat. Always a leader in food trends, Dean & DeLuca is known for having the newest and most delicious products on the market. Try the brioche or individual chapata sprinkled with sea salt – sublime. The selection of jams and mustards will enchant you. www.deandeluca.com.
Balducci’s: With six locations (Greenwich, CT, Westport, CT, Bethesda, Maryland, Scarsdale, NY – pictured below, Alexandria, VA, and McLean, Virginia), Balducci’s is the self-described “food lover’s market.” Primarily a grocery store, Balducci’s offers fresh produce, pantry staples, meats, fish, cheeses, wines, chocolates, bakery products, housewares, and food to go. www.balduccis.com
All of the above specialty food stores are works or art and taste. Even if you’re not a foodie, visit the stores, take in the aroma of fresh-baked goods, walk around, and sample some of the amazing foods.