Twin Cities specialty food stores wow

Chiles, chutneys, and chicken feet make for unique, delicious holiday treats

This gorgeous Grand Avenue shop is like St. Paul's answer to East Hampton's Barefoot Contessa, which makes sense given that Golden Fig owner Laurie McCann Crowell used to work with Ina Garten. Even if you've never been in the Fig before, you probably recognize some of the products the store is best known for: custom dried-spice blends like black pepper and pure maple granules, so delicious on buttered corn on the cob; specialty salt varieties, including smoked and rose; flavored sugars infused with hibiscus, cardamom, or lavender; and various vinegars, like the surprising chocolate balsamic — completely amazing on fresh strawberries. Stop by when the store is slow, as the helpful staff members are quick to give out samples of just about anything you're interested in trying. Plenty of other vendors also sell their wares at the Fig. On any given day you might find desserts from Salty Tart, chicken from Callister Farms, milk from Castle Rock Dairy, and bread from Rustica.

Duly noted: Golden Fig offers participation in cheese shares. It's like a CSA, but instead of veggies you get 1.5 pounds (total) of various cheeses. Genius.

Best for: Gifts for foodie friends, locally made products, recipe inspiration, samples.

La Alborada
B Fresh Photography
La Alborada

Location Info


United Noodles

2015 E. 24th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Restaurant > Noodle Shop

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Ingebretsen's Scandinavian Gifts And Foods

1601 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Category: Retail

Region: Powderhorn

Holy Land

2513 Central Ave., Minneapolis


If you've only ever considered Holy Land as a place to get a quick gyro, do yourself a favor and venture a little further to the back of the Northeast store. It's a treasure trove of glistening bulk olives — oil-cured, stuffed, spiced, green, black, and many others; various feta cheeses; the creamiest hummus (as blurbed about in Rachael Ray's magazine); and parsley-flecked tabouleh salad. And that's just the deli counter. Falafel mixes, crispy bagged chickpeas, and huge packages of usually expensive nuts populate the dry-goods section. If there's a better place to buy dates, figs, and excessive amounts of olive oil in town, I don't know what it is. The in-house butcher shop allows you to have halal goat, lamb, and other meats cut to your specifications, and it's one of just a handful of places where you can order a whole animal for roasting.

Duly noted: On top of everything else, Holy Land offers really affordable catering and generally only needs a few hours' notice to cook for a group of 20 or less. Consider your holiday party menu solved.

Best for: Goat and lamb, last-minute party shopping, buffet lunch.

Local D'Lish
208 N. First St., Minneapolis

This North Loop store focuses on selling organic produce, cheese, meat, and prepackaged artisan crackers, spreads, and other treats that all come from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and occasionally Illinois and Iowa. The spacious store is constantly rotating and bringing in new vendors, so it's always worth checking in to see what's new, even in the winter, when D'Lish hosts an indoor farmers' market. You might find Bliss butterscotch granola (reportedly a favorite of Mayor Rybak), Hope Creamery butter, Lindalicious biscotti, veggies from Bossy Acres, and dried apple snacks from Eden Apples. There's an emphasis on gluten-free products too, including Poorboy Candy's gluten-free gingerbread caramels, Thuro Bread pizza crust and bread, and Coco-Amour GF macaroons. Owner Ann Yin always keeps the small takeaway case stocked with salads and spinach pie from Sito's Lebanese, Joia sodas, and a few premade focaccia sandwiches.

Duly noted: D'Lish's cooking classes and demos teach how to make use of seasonal vegetables, go dairy-free, or incorporate more antioxidants into your diet.

Best for: Cooking classes, gluten-free products, locally made products.

Don't want to limit yourself to just one cuisine type? Then by all means make your way to Midtown Global Market. Park once, roam around a while, and leave with enough imported candy, curry ketchup, and frozen tamales to last you a year.

« Previous Page