What tastes like home to you? For an expatriate in America, the answer can vary. Some long for the flavors of their home country; others simply miss the nostalgic foods of their youth.
The 25 gourmet specialty shops listed below stock international food as well as treats from bygone eras. They’re located all over the country, and you’ll want to visit them all.
In Sacramento, California, Taylor’s Market sells a variety of old-school sodas sure to induce a dash of nostalgia, including those by Boylan and AJ Stephans. The store also imports products directly from Italy, such as wines, balsamic vinegar, flours, chocolate, marmalades and more.
Cost Plus World Market
With nearly 300 stores across the United States, expats visiting the country can find their favorite international foods at Cost Plus World Market. A variety of cultures are represented: Indian, Australian, Japanese, German and British. You can also buy goods for every room in the house.
International Gourmet Pantry
Although International Gourmet Pantry tends to favor Middle Eastern and Mediterranean products, you find foods from a number of countries. The Kalamazoo, Michigan retailers also sell international clothing, kitchen items and health and beauty products, stocking more than 2,000 foods and non-edible items.
Specializing mostly in alcoholic beverages and spices, Vom Fass also sells gourmet foods, vinegars and oils. Most of these are imported directly for optimal freshness and flavor. The international store gets some of its spices from France and its pasta from Italy.
Paint Bank General Store
Step back in time at the Paint Bank General Store in Paint Bank, Virginia. “From the old wooden floors to the tin ceilings of yesteryear,” this vintage store sells penny candies, bakery items, jams and jellies and even buffalo meat fresh from the little community.
Peters Gourmet Market
Selling primarily Dutch foods (like cheese and a type of caramel cookie called stroopwafels), Peters Gourmet Market also features French, Indonesian and German edibles. The Grand Rapids, Michigan store was founded in 1976. Make sure to ask about the shop’s craft beer from state breweries.
Gourmet International European Food & Grocery
Aiming to “bring the taste of Europe closer to you,” Gourmet International European Food & Grocery has all the international foods a shopper could need. This Columbia, South Carolina store stocks candies, coffee and tea, bread, dairy items, seafood and meat. Expats will appreciate the selection that will surely remind them of home.
Cole’s Gourmet Popcorn
Although you might not guess from the store name, you can also find vintage candy at Cole’s Gourmet Popcorn in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you are in the mood for popcorn, you can browse through more than 50 varieties that are sweet, sour and some even in between. There are also sodas and candies in stock that will make some customers think back to their childhoods. Make sure to pick up a bulk order to go!
Marky’s is mostly known for its caviar, but the store also carries cheeses from all over the world, including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, France and Italy. Located in Miami, Florida, the store’s shelves are filled with gourmet desserts, Italian and Spanish pastas, oils and vinegar, seafood from Scotland and Norway, mushrooms and foie gras.
Bazaar on Cambridge Street
A Boston, Massachusetts favorite, Bazaar on Cambridge Street has been a city staple since 1982. Its international selections are the biggest of their kind in the area and are sure to make any expat feel right at home. Selections change regularly, so check in often for all sorts of fun finds.
In Finleyville, Pennsylvania, Trax Farms has its own specialty market where customers can find vintage eats like piccalillis and chutneys. Miss Charleston Chews and Mallo Cups? You can get those oldie-but-goodie candies here.
World Harvest Foods
World Harvest Foods boasts “an aisle of olive oils from four continents…and an assortment of over a hundred kinds of gourmet and international chocolates.” There’s even more to behold at this Champaign, Illinois stop, with food from Turkey, Morocco, Greece, England, China and Argentina.
Four Winds International Fine Food
Another store that specializes in varied cuisine (including Scandinavian, European, Thai and Japanese) is Four Winds International Fine Food in Pensacola, Florida. Founded by Nancy and James Tarabay in 1981, the store carries nearly 10,000 food and beverage items.
Rau’s Country Store
Since 1964, Rau’s Country Store has been a favorite choice for Frankenmuth, Michigan residents who can’t get enough of the candy and other sweets from yesteryear. Not only does the store sell vintage candy like Turkish taffy and jawbreakers, but they offer nostalgic collectibles too.
With multiple stores across North Carolina, including Chapel Hill, Southern Season sells more than 70,000 gourmet and international foods. The brand, established in 1975, has a “belief in southern hospitality and a passion for the art of entertaining” that’s reflected in both its quaint storefront and onsite cooking school.
Rodman’s Food & Drug Store
In Washington, D.C., residents and visitors looking for international delights should visit Rodman’s Food & Drug. The store, founded in 1955, was once a tiny establishment that grew with the times to encompass more international fare. Besides food, customers can also expect to find soaps straight from Europe and plenty of imported alcohol.
Known for its cigars, beer and wine selection, Divine Wines in Wilmington, North Carolina also has an international gourmet foods section at its store. The shelves are stocked with brand name products from all over the world, such as nuts, chocolates, sauces, meats and cheeses. Their cheese selection is especially impressive, with selections from Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece and Austria.
“In a community as diverse as Southeast Michigan, it takes moxie to call yourself an international marketplace,” says Nino Salvaggio, which calls itself just that. He offers both store-made and boxed imported products.
Where do you like your candy from? In Sarasota, Florida, Dulcefina stocks chocolates and other sweets from countries all over the world. If you can think of a country, you can probably find its candy at this store. Just a smattering of countries represented are the Ukraine, Portugal, Denmark, Ireland, Pakistan and Belgium.
Continental Gourmet Market
Featured on Food Network, Continental Gourmet Market is a major retailer of Latin American goodies. Located in Hawthorne, California, the store has its own deli counter and makes fresh empanadas daily. These can be filled with corn, meat or poultry.
Boyd’s Retro Candy
Take a trip back to childhood at Boyd’s Retro Candy in Toledo, Ohio. The store carries nostalgic treats like candy cigarettes, old-fashioned hard candy, jawbreakers, gumdrops and more. If there’s a candy you miss from your childhood, chances are you can find it here.
Russo Gourmet Foods Market
Whether you hail from Italy or just fell in love with the cuisine, you should seek out Russo’s Gourmet Foods Market in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. This shop has a variety of southern Italian foods, including specialty spring water, espresso, jarred vegetables, pastas and extra virgin olive oil.
Potomac Gourmet Market
Sample a selection of cheeses, beers and wines from countries all over the world at Potomac Gourmet Market. Located in Oxon Hill, Maryland, the shop even caters its international and other grocery items. Don’t forget to check out their gourmet options, too, including balsamic vinegar and plenty of oils, like those made from avocado, walnut, hazelnut and almonds.
International Food Bazaar
With an emphasis on Middle Eastern cuisine, International Food Bazaar in San Jose, California sells locally-sourced halal, pitas, lavash and fresh bread. Other countries are also represented in the store’s selection, which includes a butcher, catering services and a produce section.
Phoenicia Specialty Foods
With 55,000 square feet of space, Phoenicia Specialty Foods in Houston, Texas is big. It has to be for its roster of foods from more than 50 countries. Some 10,000 edible and non-edible items line the shelves, all directly imported from their country of origin. If you love pastries from Europe, make sure to check out Phoenicia’s YUMMY Shop within the store.