One of the best parts about travel is coming back home with treats in tow. As you carefully unpack your various finds, you can remember your journey and savor it in the comfort of your own kitchen. That bottle of Chianti from Italy, wrapped a few times over in a sweater or tucked inside a shoe for safe travels, is possibly more delicious when enjoyed with your favorite pizza takeout.
That's why we're asking locals to share the best shops for food-lovers in their home towns. We're kicking things off in Boston with the talented food photographer and blogger Betty Liu. Here, she shares five must-visit stops, including a stylish general store, cheese shop, and bakery with gorgeous provisions like spice blends and house-made preserves.
Whenever anyone, foodie or not, comes to visit, I take them here. This charming shop, which is exactly what the name says — a general store — has something for everyone: staplers and leather notebooks, artisan honey and gorgeous local ceramics.
Every item is displayed with a skilled eye (April, the owner, is an architect, so there you go) and, when you step into the store, you're greeted with subtle scents of their signature candle. Even if you don't buy anything (although I highly recommend you do), the atmosphere is cozy, comfortable, and inviting.
2. Shop Pod
I could live in this treasure of a shop in Cambridge, which stocks a curated selection of Japanese home goods, including Shop Fog Linen napkins, tea cozies, and beautiful brass spoons. As a food photographer, I'm always on the lookout for props and pieces for food styling, and I have yet to leave this store without a purchase.
I've been a fan of Claire Cheney's signature spice blends since she founded Curio Spice Co. in 2015. So I'm thrilled that she's opened a brick-and-mortar store with a whole wall of intriguing selections, including sweet paprika farmed in Massachusetts, thyme from Vermont, and sea salt from Maine.
Do you like cheese? If so, immediately make your way to Formaggio Kitchen (there are two locations — one in the South End and one in Cambridge). In addition to an amazing selection of cheeses, they also stock artisan spices, salts, oils, vinegars, dried pastas, and other incredible edible treats. I buy whole green cardamom pods, Hungarian paprika, and fragrant Sichuan peppercorns there, as well as edible gifts!
This bakery and café also has a truly wonderful selection of provisions, including oils, vinegars, spice blends, and preserves made in house. Sofra is also a wonderful place to while away time in. I could stay there for hours and it seems others could, too, so make sure to get there early to grab a spot!
What's your favorite shop for food-lovers in Boston? Share with us in the comments.