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Any special MA or NE foods to look for try out/buy?

One more question for you. Any suggestions for specific brands of foods to purchase while I am there? For example, when I was in FL I bought Dukes Mayo, Blue Bell Ice cream in the south, Graeters in Ohio, Zappos chips, etc. I am looking more for packaged goods vs. "this bakery makes great donuts."

I found Cain's is a regional mayo. I will buy some. Anything else not available nationally? Something I can pick up in a local supermarket or convenience store? I won't have a fridge so it can't need refrigeration, but I am not against buying ice cream, to consume in our hotel room, for example.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Howard's Green Piccalilli, Sweet Pepper Relish and Hot Pepper Relish....very Massachusetts and was on our table every Saturday supper for "hot dog night." Nice alternative to overly sweet pickle relish, and yummy on other meats/savories too.

    2 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst

        didn't see it but what about B & M brown bread ??
        oh, and also pickled watermelon rinds .. always for Xmas and thanksgiving - much better than gherkins

      2. Polar seltzer, especially the seasonal flavors.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LeoLioness

          They sell Polar in my Shop Rite, but yes, it's really good!

        2. I don't know when you will be here. If late September/early October, Macoun apples if they aren't grown in NJ. I know I'd never heard of them living on LI and in Buffalo, but that was decades ago. They are like Kramer's "Mackinaw peaches" - ethereally good, but only for a few weeks. While they may be in the supermarket till the end of the year, the crunch and spritely juiciness are fleeting.

          I don't know which packaged foods are limited to this region, sorry.

          4 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            Based on Jerseygirl111's other thread on this board, she'll be here this coming weekend.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Too bad it's Boston. This weekend is the world's largest free folk festival, with stuffed dough demos, great ethnic food vendors and oh, yes, six stages of musical acts!http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/980881
                Actually, you can take the train from Boston to Lowell, where there's a free shuttle from the train terminal to the festival area.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Oh wow that sounds pretty neat! Unfortunately, we only have Saturday and then leaving early Sunday. My niece is taking a summer class at Simmons, which is what prompted the visit.

            1. Tower root beer. Even better: a root beer float with vanilla ice cream.

              1 Reply
              1. Toscanini's ice cream. There are a few other local ice creams worth trying too, but that would be my top choice. Probably burnt caramel.

                5 Replies
                1. re: jajjguy

                  + 1 on Toscanini's - right up there with Jeni's and Graeter's - but try to get to the shop itself in Cambridge - I don't think what is sold in retail shops (like Whole Foods) is made the same way in the same place - it tastes to me as if it has other ingredients / more air incorporated and / or is not stored properly. Toasted coconut is an awesome flavor.

                  1. re: rlh

                    Plus, I think the markets only carry the pint size containers, which is hardly enough for one sitting!

                  2. re: jajjguy

                    Good catch on the ice cream! Despite our four seasons, New Englanders eat more ice cream per capita than the rest of the country, and there are MANY independent ice cream shops/stands.
                    Some, like Toscanini's, have multiple locations, others only one. Though a hike from Boston, Benson's in W. Boxford is a worthy favorite via making IC from local, in-season fruits. It's the perfect way to finish a North Shore clam shack crawl.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Toscanini's has only one location. They've had other locations at various times over the years, but had some financial troubles a number of years ago and retrenched to the one store on Main St near Central Sq.

                    2. Moxie, if you can find it - it's more common the closer you get to Maine (where it's the official state soft drink), though the larger supermarkets around Boston tend to have it. Like root beer, but weirder and (in my mind) better.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cjd260

                        Soda? Forgot to mention in my orig post, we tried Cheerwine in NC and of course Mr. Pibb in FL.

                        Noted! Ty

                      2. Whole belly clams are a must. Farnham's, Woodman's, Clam Box, or Kelly's are all excellent.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Not Massachusetts but Rhode Island (though you can buy it here)- coffee syrup. Autocrat is the most iconic brand. Add to milk or as an ice cream topping.

                          4 Replies
                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                              No need to reply "noted' to every single reply. Have fun!

                              1. re: thegforceny

                                That's kind of snarky.

                                I think it is nice that Jersygirl111 is reading and replying to all the responses to her interesting query, especially while she is on vacation. Given the context of her OP, everyone seems to be having fun.

                                1. re: nrthshr

                                  It's all good! I just thought it would be nice to acknowledge everyone that contributed an idea. I can see if you subscribe to email responses for the thread it could be frustrating.

                          1. I can't image not leaving with out some local Grade B maple syrup in your bag.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: smtucker

                              True, though when I lived in Brooklyn I used to get it at our local farmers' market all the time.

                              1. re: smtucker

                                Is it different than the real maple syrup I can buy in NJ?

                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                  If you can find Grade B maple syrup in Jersey, then you don't need to buy it up here. Grade B is the important part - it's much more intense than the regular stuff.

                                  1. re: cjd260

                                    Now I have to check! I thought B was the only one available.

                                    Just checked, I have Grade A Dark Amber. So I will be coming home with some B.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        TJ's maple syrup (grade B always) is very good

                                2. maple syrup? maple sugar candies? you said packaged goods, but apple cider donuts are a big speciality. Dried cranberries (though they are available all over now). We have some very good local pickle purveyors. Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge and in the South End is crammed with all kinds of imported and regional specialities.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Madrid

                                    Freshly baked apple cider donuts we have here. Locally made pickles? Now we're talking! Got any brand names of the pickles?

                                  2. http://www.grillospickles.com/site/#

                                    grillo's are sold all over, but you will be not far from their b&m store.

                                    we're also the home-base for necco candies.

                                    1. Brigham's ice cream if it is not available in NJ. They have my favorite vanilla but I think all their flavors are good.

                                      Here is a 2 year old link on the topic but most of the info should still be good:


                                      1. fluff?

                                        taza chocolates made in somerville, stoneground

                                        Burdick's chocolate shop in Harvard square and Back Bay has really cute chocolate mice.

                                        1. Teddie peanut butter - just peanuts & salt. Really good!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: pocketviking

                                            Good call. I mail order Teddie out to here in PHX.

                                          2. Not in grocery stores, but Formaggio Kitchen has the best representation of high quality local products, imo. Aside from VT cheeses and pastas, my favs include Lark Kitchen- Fennel and Burnt Sugar Shortbread cookies; Effies Oat Cakes, EH Chocolates.....






                                            Another mention- Boston's own Bantam (hard) Cider.
                                            And if you are a fan of hearty sourdough based breads, When Pigs Fly has a Davis Sq, Somerville and Brookline retail store where you can sample any of the 20-30 breads they sell daily. From Sauerkraut Rye to Lemon Blueberry, Chocolate to Jalapeno Cornmeal (they change daily.) Unlike trad French style breads, Pigs Fly are fine when eaten days after purchase.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                It's not a Boston thing, or even regional (that I know of, that is) but Pepper Jelly might be new to you. Made w/ Jalapenos and sweet red or green peppers. I mention it because they sell jars of it at When Pigs Fly (Brookline and Somerville.) I grew up eating it with cream cheese on crackers.

                                            1. I think someone already mentioned fluff. How about some NECCO wafters? :)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                Fluff as in marshmallow fluff?

                                                We got NECCOS.

                                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                  Yes, marshmallow fluff but it is also widely available. Too bad you can no longer tour NECCO.

                                                  I'm a Simmons grad, have fun!!!

                                              2. I like Cain's pickle relish, and the one they call "hot dog relish".

                                                Another regional supermarket staple that I keep on hand is Pastene's "Le Chateau" jarred tomato sauce. It has actually spoiled me for all other jarred sauces. And let's face it, there are just times we need this shortcut in our lives! The prices vary quite a bit by store. At MB it is around $3. a jar, At smaller grocers it goes up to around $6. I highly recommend it.

                                                Oh, and don't forget the Fluff!

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: nrthshr

                                                  Uh-oh MB Market Brand I'm hearing about?

                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                    The MB nrthshr referred to is Market Basket the New England chain supermarket.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Yes and its likely the "one you're hearing about"

                                                  2. re: nrthshr

                                                    Pastene's Chateau sauce is based on the recipe from The Chateau local chain of restaurants. I think it tastes far better if you buy a quart from one of the restaurants...you can get either meat ($7.95), marinara or tomato ($6.50) sauce to go.

                                                    1. re: wandergirl

                                                      Where and how would that be possible?

                                                      My impression is that the OP is looking for regional grocery store items. I'm sure that you are right that the sauce out of a pot in the kitchen of their restaurant would be better than the sauce in the jar. I don't think I've never been to any of their restaurants, and I have no idea where they are located. I'm sure it's better straight out of the big simmering pot in the kitchen. But their brand has a big presence in many grocery stores around here and I've never shared my love for this product with anyone till now.

                                                      It's really good stuff.

                                                      1. re: nrthshr

                                                        My comment was aimed more at you than Jerseygirl111 since I thought if you enjoyed the jarred sauce so much, you might enjoy the fresh stuff even better. From your name, I'm guessing you are on the North Shore so the closest restaurants to you are probably in Burlington or Andover but you can find a complete list of locations on their website:


                                                        I grew up going to the original Chateau in Waltham and have a very soft spot for it. I was excited when I saw the Pastene sauce come out (years ago now) and was disappointed when I tried it. Maybe it has improved over the years but when I need a hit of Chateau sauce, I make the trek to one of their restaurants and get some hot from the pot. I also recommend picking up a loaf of their bread but eat it on the first day when it's fresh!

                                                    1. re: PAUL

                                                      imo, neither Cain's mayo or any local commercial potato chips- are worth the trouble.

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        IMO, Tri-Sum are far and away the best chips you will ever eat.

                                                        1. re: PAUL

                                                          Interesting, I've never even heard of them - I'm a Tyrrell's fan myself, or Cape Cods in a pinch. What are they, why are they so good, and where can you find them?

                                                          1. re: cjd260

                                                            The Tri-Sum Potato Chip Company was established in 1908 in Leominster. I spoke to the owner at Bedford House of Beef about a year ago. He told me current production was being done out of state. Can't remember where. Wachusett does the distribution and you will find them in some super markets (Hannarford's Donelans) and several smaller stores and sandwich shops. Chips do vary from bag to bag. When they are really White is when they are best.

                                                        2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                          Not a potato chip per se, but I have a strange addiction to Wachusett cheese popcorn. Judging by how there is always a big gap on the shelves where this product is, I am not alone.

                                                      2. Canned Indian Pudding. It not as good as the stuff made fresh but it's still good...warmed up and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of course!

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: catsmeow

                                                          on the similar topic brown bread in a can, not sure if super markets outside the NE have it or not, not real special but a treat if you have been somewhere without a big fridge for a while.

                                                          1. re: catsmeow

                                                            yes yes yes! Indian Pudding, a very thick baked-forever cornmeal pudding/mush w/ molasses and pumpkin pie-like spices. Warm it up and serve w/ vanilla ice cream-- the best! I have made it from scratch but i also think the canned one (isn't there only one?) is excellent. Great suggestion, cm. (Durgin Park is the only Boston menu that lists it- that I have seen.)

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                              I love Indian pudding but have never tried the canned kind. I am not embarrassed to say I make this for Thanksgiving and eat the entire pot myself (with whipping cream on top...) Is canned Indian Pudding available at most grocery stores?

                                                              1. re: kobuta

                                                                It's in most of the larger grocery stores. It has a medium brown wrapper around the can. I always keep a can in the cupboard just in case I get an itch for it. I have one there now and haven't had trouble finding it.

                                                                1. re: kobuta

                                                                  This makes me even appreciate Market Basket even more! My son loves Indian Pudding and occasionally likes to have some for breakfast, so I decided to keep some canned for when I don't have time to make my own and he has a craving. I bought some Bar Harbor at Whole Foods for $4.69/can and told him it would be an occasional treat at that price. I searched at Shaw's, Wilson Farm, Russo's, and elsewhere and didn't see it. Lo and behold, Market Basket in Burlington had the same brand, Bar Harbor, for $2.49/can. Let's save our Market Basket!

                                                                  The Bar Harbor isn't quite as tasty as Jasper White's recipe, but it is really good warmed with Haagen Dazs Vanilla on top. Yum.

                                                                  1. re: bear

                                                                    A mom who lets her son have Indian Pudding for breakfast = Worlds Best Mom!

                                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                      Awww, C., thanks. Now let's convince him of that!

                                                                    2. re: bear

                                                                      Last month, we had Jasper White's Indian Pudding at the Summer Shack at the Mohegan Sun. I didn't care for it. The flavor was similar but it had a smooth, light custard consistency instead of a heavier grainy texture.

                                                                      1. re: catsmeow

                                                                        Yes, I agree. I add more cornmeal because I do love the flavor. As written, it is too custardy for us, too. I thought maybe I wasn't using the correct grind of cornmeal, so now I know it wasn't me!

                                                              2. I was going to suggest ketchup chips, which are easier to find here than in much of the country, but you get Herr's chips in New Jersey, right? I'm pretty sure they make a ketchup chip, so that might not be new to you.

                                                                I second Moxie. When I lived outside of New England, every trip back to visit meant stocking up on Moxie and pastrami to bring home. There are great regional sodas that are excellent or interesting examples of a particular type of soda, and then there are the outliers that you really can't compare to anything else - Moxie is one of the latter.

                                                                Not an ice cream brand, but a flavor recommendation - grape-nuts ice cream is a distinctly New England flavor, and I've known a lot of non-locals to fall in love with it when they try it. Moreso than with Moxie, certainly.

                                                                Enjoy your trip!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: okaycheckitout

                                                                  Other sodas - Polar Orange Dry and Cranberry Dry are fairly distinct as fruit sodas go, particularly the Orange Dry. Polar also makes one of the surviving regional golden ginger ales.

                                                                  Oh geez, for that matter - birch beer. Do you have birch beer in New Jersey? Polar makes one of the better ones. Boylans is also good. The Shur-Fine brand is stellar.

                                                                  1. re: okaycheckitout

                                                                    We have Pennsylvania Dutch brand Birch beer but I'll add Boylans and Shur Fine to my list. We have Polar seltzers here.

                                                                  2. re: okaycheckitout

                                                                    Yep, we have ketchup chips, I have noted Moxie and now I will look for grapenuts icecream. Ty.

                                                                  3. My mind goes to beer when I travel. I'm sure the bigger breweries such as Harpoon and Sam Adams have distribution in your area, but there are also many great craft breweries in MA and New England. Check out Jack's Abbey, Pretty Things, Clown Shoes, CBC, etc. if you like beer.

                                                                    I grew up on Cains mayo. My mom would not buy Hellmans. I never knew it was a local thing until recently. We also buy Teddy's peanut butter. Are Cape Cod chips available everywhere? I don't travel as much as I use to.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Ali G

                                                                      Yes, my son is obsessed with CC reduced fat chips! A couple years ago we were on the Cape but didn't tour the factory. We were so stupid.

                                                                      I'll rec. the beers to my hubby. Ty.

                                                                    2. I buy these for my brother in Miami. My cousin in Oregon can't get Necco wafers or Belle's seasoning, an essential for stuffing. Trappist jams, Fluff, Teddy peanut butter?

                                                                      Here's a similar thread


                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: tweetie

                                                                        Yes, I thought of Bell's seasoning, too. My cousin moved to Louisiana and couldn't get the turkey dinner right without it.

                                                                        Necco also makes Skybar and Haviland mints.

                                                                        I am thinking of buying some Spencer Trappist beer for visiting relatives.

                                                                        A lot of markets carry Portuguese sausages, linguica and chourico, made in Mass. but those would require a cooler.

                                                                        And while they are specialized (not general supermarkets) the Armenian markets on Mt Auburn St in Watertown (Arax, Sevan) are interesting, though that would mean a special trip by bus if you're not driving.

                                                                        1. re: tweetie

                                                                          We have Bell's! We couldn't make our Turkey or stuffing without it. Essential!

                                                                        2. Beer of course, maybe cheese - try Formaggio Kitchen or the River Street (Cambridge) Whole Foods. There are also good local breads for your beer and cheese (Clear Flour, Iggy's).



                                                                          1. Crosby's Gold Star Molasses - a very old fashioned molasses brand from Newfoundland that is traditional in New England cookery that can typically be found at Hannafords, a regional supermarket chain.

                                                                            Gibralters. America's ur candy. https://peppercandy.net/

                                                                            Common crackers from GH Bent in Milton: http://www.bentscookiefactory.com/

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                              Crosby's is the stuff! Though the company is in New Brunswick. The New England/Maritime/Newfoundland taste for molasses goes way back, a vestige of triangular trade.

                                                                              1. re: poundcake

                                                                                Right, NB, not Newfoundland. Always confuse my St John's and St John!

                                                                            2. How has no one mentioned split top hot dog rolls? I don't know if they have those in NJ, but I know they're pretty hard to find outside of NE.

                                                                              And you can't make a proper lobster roll without one!

                                                                              1. Hello! We are home, had a great time! Boston and Cambridge are both great cities. We stayed at The Kendall Hotel in Cambridge and we loved it. Great breakfast! Fell in love with Muesli for breakfast.

                                                                                So in our search, we went to Market Basket, Stop & Shop and Walmart. We bought:

                                                                                Howards Sweet Pepper Relish
                                                                                Moxie soda
                                                                                Autocrat coffee syrup
                                                                                Brighams Ice cream
                                                                                Teddie peanut butter
                                                                                Pastenes The Chateau tomato sauce
                                                                                Bar Harbor NE style Indian pudding
                                                                                Cains Mayo
                                                                                Polar Birch Beer, Root Beer, Dry Orange, Golden Ginger Ale (we can only get seltzer here)
                                                                                The Original Boston Coffee Cake Cinnamon Walnut
                                                                                Pink Ting grapefruit soda
                                                                                Pataks Jalfrezi Curry
                                                                                Boyajian Lemon Pepper oil

                                                                                Couldn't find:
                                                                                Tower Root Beer
                                                                                Grillos Pickles
                                                                                Tri Sum potato chips
                                                                                Boylans Birch beer
                                                                                Shur Fine Birch beer
                                                                                Maple Syrup Grade B (only A everywhere)

                                                                                Really disappointed we couldn't find the Birch Beers.

                                                                                There were protestors with a petition outside Market Basket. Felt bad going in but we signed their petition on the way out. Great to see employees that care so much about their company. MB must be doing something right. They told us the truck drivers were on strike and it reflected on the shelves, many were totally empty. This was in Somerville.

                                                                                We were able to make it to Toscaninis in Cambridge; the line was out the door and down the street! We sampled Burnt Caramel; my husband loved it, I passed. Also Grape Nuts, it was delicious. I ended up ordering a two scoop (oink) Sour Cream, which tasted vanilla-ish to me (my husband said it tasted like cream cheese icing on a carrot cake), and Peanut butter Banana, which was fantastic. This was probably the best ice cream I ever had. Very very good. Hubs got Ginger Molasses, loved it and others got Pancake (tasted like Maple walnut).

                                                                                OT- drove over the Finish Line to the Marathon and reflected on the horror of the bombing and lives lost. Can't imagine bombs going off right there. Stay Boston Strong.

                                                                                Thank you everyone for your recommendations and your hospitality.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                  Thanks for reporting back. Glad you had nice time in our fair city!

                                                                                  The MB saga is a lot more than truck drivers on strike. Its getting National Coverage now. Crazy stuff but proud of everyone, customers and employees alike, holding their ground.

                                                                                  Enjoy your bounty! :)

                                                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                    Thanks for the report. Glad you had a good time!