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Best (or just new) Gourmet Stores in the greater New Haven area

I'd love to know where are your favorite stores are - or a little further out, to pick up your imported or gourmet goods? I am keen to know of new places. To kick us off, I recently discovered a super little store that specializes in cheeses but also carries swiss chocolate biscuits, Duck fat, french butter, fondant to cook /bake with, sauces, pickles and tons of other condiments as well as hand baked pies and cakes, pastas, sauces etc and really decent prices

http://www.nearhome.com/ct/hamden/bon...

I also visited Villa Gourmet in Milford recently -more cheese, fresh fish, and everything Italian as well as some home goods. - fairly pricey though.

http://www.thevillagourmet.com/

I also find Bishops Orchard in Branford sells a wide range of goods (french mayonnaise, yum) and Fortes around the corner is also good.

Anywhere that sells french stuff is a bonus for moi , but generally looking for places I dont know about :)

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  1. Nika's Market, Romeo and Joe's and Skappa Mercatto all on Orange St. in New Haven.
    Nika's for great fruit and produce including wild mushrooms, cheese and italian imports.
    Same at Romeo and Joe's
    Skappa has more unusual imports from Italy.
    Liuzzi's on State St. in North Haven has the best imported cheese selection around and a very extensive selection of imported items including Olive oils and Vinegars.

    1. Maybe a bit out of your traveling radius, but Fromage in Old Saybrook can't be beat for cheese selection, as well as just about any other "gourmet" item you can think of. The owner is friendly, knowledgeable, and will special-order items for you.

      1. I would second chetsu's recs, those places also have a nice selection of meats, hams, salami's etc. On the other end of Orange St, JMart is a nice Asian market, and on the Post Rd in Orange there is a good Indian market, forget the name but it is next to Goodwill.

        1. Second chefsu and would mention Edge of the Woods on Whalley Ave.
          You might be interested in Asian specialties.... Hong Kong Market, on Whitney.There is also a semi-specialty store (what used to be Limon), on State street near the DMV building.

          I will also tout my map which has many specialty stores listed. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&... are store/restaurants. In that case they do not get a basket icon, but a solid color balloon relating to food type.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Scargod

            Is the "new Limon" better than the old? They often seemed to have near empty shelves. Though some interesting middle east choices.

            1. re: mmalmad

              I can't remember the name and I didn't stop in to see what has changed. This occurred in the last couple of months. They had some interesting cheeses and halal meats. Sometimes produce was interesting/good. I would agree, middle-east was somewhat a theme.
              Don't forget, #1 Fish Market is just up the road. Best fishmonger in NH.

              1. re: Scargod

                I always have good luck at #1 and I would agree with you that he has to be one of the better and trsut worthy guys around for fish. The last time I mentioned him someone shot me right down. To each their own but I am glad that we agree on this.

              2. re: mmalmad

                The new Limon leaves a lot to be desired. I won't bother to stop again.

            2. In addition to all the other suggestions, which, for the most part, I second:

              Caseus is a French-ish bistro and cheese shop on Whitney; I think I heard that the owners' orig plan was just a cheese shop. It gets mixed reviews, but has a wide selection of cheeses.

              New Haven Independent reports today that a Syrian grocery ALSO opened on Orange.

              Villarina's on Chapel closed, no great loss, IMO.

              5 Replies
              1. re: zoe p.

                Caseus is great if you want to spend 30% more for cheese than other shops. Chestnut Fine Foods has an excellent cheese selection at reasonable prices, and unlike Caseus, they give you more than a pencil eraser sized piece to taste.

                As mentioned, Bishops has a large amount of gourmet food, plus super fresh produce. I've never been impressed with Edge of the Woods. Also as mentioned, J-Mart is great for Asian groceries, as is the shop at Great Wall.

                1. re: MAER

                  You have to be VERY careful when you buy produce (or various other things) at Bishops. They often leave produce out well past its prime, and pay little attention to "sell-by" dates on cheeses and other things. We live nearby, shop there often, and have had enough disappointing experiences to look everything over closely before putting it in the basket.

                  Their prepared foods also have so many off-putting ingredients (stuff with numbers in its name, and so on) that we almost never buy them. That includes the pies (not really made in the store, just baked there, for the most part) and virtually everything in the cooler case. Read the lists on the packages....

                  1. re: linguist

                    I love bishop's for certain items, but sometimes items are well past prime. My sister and I separately bought some special butter, roll shaped, from GB. Both were mouldy. I had never seen mouldy butter before. ugh.

                    1. re: linguist

                      Bishops does not make their prepared foods on site. They purchase from a supplier. Generally not very good at all. Their pies leave much to be desired. Best to buy their cookies in the freezer case and bake them off t home. Bishops could be great but they strive to be mediocre.

                      1. re: linguist

                        I've made this same comment in another post about Bishop's and people jumped all over me. Thank you for pointing this out.

                  2. Chefstu named some great places..Try Whitneyville foods too for some unique products. If you are looking for cheese though, I would go to Liuzzi's or Caseus just because their turn over rate is better and not to mention that they specialize in it. Romeo and Nicca's just have it in addition to other stuff. I've never been to Skappo Mercatto, but if it's like their restaurant then I'm sure it is good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: triggs73

                      Some great ideas, thanks- I'll definitely head to Fromage (not too far, I've been to a farmer's market in Mystic and I live in New Haven! My wallet is already very familiar with Whitneyville (must give a shout out to my new discovery there- her truffles! They are huge but excellent, apparently made by someone in Woodbridge) really fresh and I am not a fan of chocolate I find here here to be honest (but hopefully not insulting to the American palate).

                      LOVE the map, Scargod, thank you.

                      I work a couple of blocks from Caseus, and they have a good but limited selection.

                      Another one I should point out is Chefs in Wallingford, perhaps not too gourmet but they do have a good range of items- including pasta flour etc. I am currently making puff pastry from scratch with different butters, so I am happy to find good butter when I find it.

                      Thanks all, lots of new suggestions for me

                    2. Agree with ChefStu. Nica's on Orange is great (and let's not forget Romeo's just down a few blocks); Luizzi's on State Street in North Haven has wonderful selections. I like Bishops but do not think they are unique in any way. It's very mainstream.

                      While I LOVE Caseus, the restaurant, I would not buy cheese there, unless I am looking for something really rare, because it's way too expensive. Another alternative for great cheese (and other 'gourmet' products) would be the Saturday CitySeed Farmer's Market near Wooster Square (New Haven). The Upper State Street Association (www.upperstatestreet.org) just established a small farmer's market near Chestnut Foods. State Street is also the site of Marjolaine's - an incredible French patisserie and Rice Pot, a delicious Thai restaurant.

                      Let's not forget the Asian markets - fantastic market called Asia Store on Rt. 80/Foxon in East Haven ((203) 468-8745 that carries a wide variety of Thai and general Asian products as well as the Hong Kong Market on Whitney Avenue in New Haven. You can get things at both places for 3/4 the cost of what they charge at Whole Foods!

                      My favorite 'natural' market is Thyme and Season on Whitney Avenue in Hamden. You also can't beat the variety and price of Trader Joe's. It's one of the few places I've been able to find Comte cheese.

                      1. If you don't mind going to Fairfield county, Westport has some decent stores- Balducci's on the Post Rd for everything, gourmet grocery store style; there is a good cheese shop(name escapes me now, I will run by tomorrow and look if I can) on Main St; and to my utter joy, The Fresh Market is coming soon (allegedly in Sept, although you can't tell from outside as of this afternoon) in the space occupied previously by Shaw's on the Post Rd.

                        1. Bishops is actually in Guilford

                          1. just opened, but so far seems on the right track is Branford Green Grocer http://www.branfordgreengrocer.com
                            i think it just opened a week or two ago, just noticed it the other day walking the town green. all the produce & sandwiches & fresh etc is local... worth checking out.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: andyatkins

                              Stopped by yesterday after reading your post. Nice store, next to the New Alliance Bank. Tough to find if you're driving down Main St. Not too much as of now for inventory, although I'm sure that will come with time. Nice olive oil selection.