How do we begin to profess our love for New York-born gourmet grocery Dean and Deluca? This luxury store is as much a feast for the lips as it is for the eyes, makeing the shopping experience as gourmet as the meals that will surely come out of it. Where most groceries fall flat, Dean and Deluca excels with artful displays, insightful staff, and a classical soundtrack to replace the one hit wonders we are so often subjected to in the checkout line. It’s no wonder they’ve been in business for over 30 years!
According to the shop’s web bio, the original Soho location was the first in the U.S. to sell now well loved foodstuffs such as radicchio, balsamic vinegar, and sundried tomatoes. If you’re cooking italian tonight, you may want to take a minute to thank store founders Giorgio Deluca and Joel Dean. Today, Dean and Deluca is an essential spot to pick out prime bottled items and imported preserves. They even boast their own extensive line of everything from truffled oil to chocolate covered nuts– the “bargain buys” in a store full of the worlds best ingredients.
We find the sweets counter at the shop particularly beguiling. It holds everything from locally produced ganache, to imported liquorice, to jordan almonds in seasonal shades. A sugary pit stop is essential when on the way to a party. The exotic chocolate bars make beautiful gifts, as do the individually wrapped french candies that glow metallic in colored foils.
On the expensive side? Perhaps. But you can still scope out delicious deals. Our favorite treats for a quick lunch live in the bakery department. We love the olive twist breads and are particularly fond of the flatbread pizza slices sold at the Soho location. Vegan by default, the doughy squares rely on potatoes, mushrooms, oil, and herbs for their rich flavor.
If baking is your specialty, rest assured that you’ll be set to shop here for all your most exquisite pastry experiments. We are dazzled by the ideas conjured up through their wall of colored sugars packed cleanly in silver canisters. And let’s not forget the very fancy edible 23K gold powder! What you choose to sprinkle it over is entirely up to you.
A must when visiting Dean and Deluca is surely their olive section. The ceramic barrels are stacked high and filled with briney treasures from all over the world. There are olives here you wont find anywhere else. We are particularly fond of the fennel cured variety which boasts a strong anise undertone, and the very spicy ghost pepper olives. Samples are handed out generously in oil filed plastic cups– don’t be afraid to taste a few!
Possibly one of our favorite details of the store are the carefully created signs and labels that can be found marking virtually everything including the fresh produce. The typed up descriptions explain what’s special about each of the items and sometimes include ideas for preparation. Consider these once mystery foods approachable.
If neon lit supermarkets chock full of Skippy, Kraft, and Stouffers are what you’re used to, Dean and Deluca may seem like a big change. However, it’s one of the few groceries that guarantees whatever you buy will be a treat. Even the deli and snack isles offer deluxe versions of familiar items which will keep you and your kitchen cabinets feeling stylish.
In the end, Dean and Deluca is a fashionable shopping experience designed to only bring you the best. Though making it our main grocery destination may only be a wish and a dream, we still love to pop in every so often for fresh crusty breads, unheard of vegetables, and exotic pickled items. We encourage you to visit one of their many locations next time you’re in need of a shopping escape.
Fooding Out Key:
Dean and Deluca
Location: New York City, California, Kansas, North Carolina, Washington DC, and Japan
Price: $$$ (It’s hard not to drop at least $10 on one or two small items)
Cuisine: European, International
Special Diet: Only by default
Atmosphere: decadent, modern, clean, busy, gourmet,
Pay: cash and cards accepted