World Market, home to affordable, on-trend furniture and accessories, might not be the first place you head to for snacks. But the shop’s grocery section offers an array of unusual, intriguing and downright delicious items. (Find out what time to shop and other money-saving grocery store strategies this way.) World Market specializes in niche products, most of which are imported from all corners of the globe. Here are 11 marvelous world foods worth tossing in your cart:
1. Candies you’ve never seen before
At the store in my area, candy claims about four aisles of space. Ordinarily I’m not a big sweets person (other than chocolate, my favorite cake of all time), but the choices here are so different I find myself lingering to admire the Technicolor bags with labels printed in other languages. Highlights include Haribo gummies (Gold Bears, Rainbow Fizz, Sours and something called Twin Snakes, among others); Kasugai gummies in Peach and Kiwi, White Rabbit Creamy Candy from Japan and lots of candy that tastes like Cola. Among my faves are “traveler’s” ginger caramel candy made by The Ginger People.
Chewies dominate the scene, but there’s also plenty of chocolate, including massive bars of Toblerone and pillow-size bags of Ghirardelli chocolate chips.
2. British staples
World Market is host to a contemporary British invasion, with an entire stand dedicated to foods from that rainy isle. Just a quick peek at their stock reveals HP Sauce, Heinz beans (to pair with toast), Seville orange marmalade (available in regular and extra chunky), Marmite, digestive biscuits, jarred onions and Bird’s Custard Powder. (Travel the world with these authentic regional recipes.)
3. Pantry staples
Definitely stop by this aisle, even if it isn’t as colorful as the rest. The pantry staples here are sized for stocking up: Olive oil comes in giant tins; olives, capers and roasted red peppers are in extra-tall jars. Find maple syrup in every grade (I like B, which is darker and more flavorful than the more refined Grade A). Plus you’ll find pickles, condiments (also in XL packaging), noodles and fancy oils and vinegars. (It’s possible to make a very good dinner using just pantry staples. Here’s how.)
4. Classic and artisanal sodas
If a liter of Pepsi is what you’re after, you may want to look elsewhere. Mainstream sodas aren’t the focus here-and I promise you won’t miss them. Consider an enormous bottle of ginger beer (made in England and mouth-tinglingly spicy) or old-style favorites like cream soda, root beer and fizzy lemonade. The shelves are stocked with plenty more unusual flavors, such as blood orange, elderflower, cherry, peach, praline cream and Goody’s raspberry-cream-flavored Blue Pop.
5. Sparkling water
Want a little less flavor with your fizz? Sparkling water comes in tiny single-serve and enormous party-sized bottles. Fancy tonic waters also beckon.
Looking to try a new spice? Check out World Market. They have most workaday spices (cinnamon, cumin, cloves and pumpkin spice) as well as international flavors like za’atar and ras el hanout. Small quantities of pricey (but delicious) spices are also for sale, so you can try them without trading an arm and a leg. Think tiny bags of saffron, single vanilla beans and dried mushrooms. Enjoy fancy salts? They’ve got regular sea salt, French gray sea salt, Himalayan pink salt and more.
7. Jams, jellies and spreads
I mentioned orange marmalade and Marmite among the British foods (above), but World Market has so many spreadables to try. Enticing fruit jams such as Swedish lingonberry, tropical guava and fig will enliven cheese plates and turkey sandwiches alike. My favorite is Biscoff, a decadent cookie-flavored spread.
8. Tiny food gifts
When does a miniscule jar of Tabasco sauce come in handy? Perhaps tucked into an airplane carry-on or in your back pocket in case of a BBQ emergency. Whatever the reason, you can nab a six-pack of 1/8-oz. jars at World Market. Other tiny foods on offer include jam, vinegar, honey and even salami.
Craving a tea blend inspired by a favorite Downton Abbey character? Or what about 100 bags of Twinings Early Gray for just $9.99? World Market has you covered either way. While most of their coffees are a house brand, the tea selection features several mainstream brands including Rishi, Mighty Leaf and the Republic of Tea. They also stock several varieties of chai. (Are you making any of these mistakes when brewing coffee?)
10. Beer and wine
This is basically an open secret, right? My nearest store has a huge wine section composed of reds, whites, rosés and sparkling. California wines are ample, as are affordable imports. Bottled beer is also worth a browse; you can even build a custom six-pack from the array of craft brews on the shelf. Gluten-free and cider options are smattered throughout.
11. White elephant gifts
Some of the foods found at World Market are on the wild side, for sure. Grab an unusual item for a white elephant gift exchange. (I plan to try these shockingly pale cured meats!) An oddity in the states, sausages are sometimes sold in clear class jars in Germany. They look a bit strange, but accordingly to my research, if you cook ’em like you would a brat, they taste quite good.
OK, so World Market groceries do skew over the top compared to the foods at your typical grocery store, but that’s not stopping me from taking a swing through the food aisles next time I drop by. Did I miss any of your favorites?