This Sunday I had some time to kill, so I drove on down to the Italian Centre Shop. My husband hates grocery shopping with me because I wander around slowly looking at everything - even things I have no intention of buying. The Italian Center magnifies this impulse for me. Even though it is only about six or seven aisles, I can very easily take 45 minutes to an hour doing my shopping, no problem.
Usually my prime reason for going is the deli. The deli is a magical place, with a huge variety or meats and cheeses, both local and imported, at very reasonable prices. Also, the turnover is high, especially on the weekends, so you don't have to worry quite as much that an unusual type of deli meat has been sitting there forever. Additionally, there are a number of delicacies, such as olives, marinated vegetables and seafood. It is a good thing for me to go on the weekend when it is busy enough that I have to take a number, so that I have an excuse to wander along and eye everything.
The deli isn't the only thing the Centre Shop has to offer though. It carries so many different and special items throughout the store that it would be a shame not to do a good shop there every time you go. They post news articles around in some areas, highlighting products of interest. Today I almost bought some mango sorbet based on the article posted beside it, even though it is freezing out. I decided to hold off until summer on that one, but there were numerous other treasures that were more practical purchases and did get made. The freezer section has frozen homemade ravioli in tons of different varieties, the jam section has jams of all types, not just raspberry and strawberry, but lingonberry, fig, and plum (used to make my duck glaze). You can get fresh ciabatta, all sorts of dried beans and lentils, European sodas, and chocolates (in case you love Milkas like I do!). The produce prices are very reasonable, and again, there are some different offerings like figs and shallots on a regular basis.
Now that it is almost Christmas time, there is a section of suggested gift items, and I think a basket of food goodies would be a very nice gift for the foodie in your life. There was also a musician in store, and a taste test set up with little cups of crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano with walnuts and honey - a delicious treat to tide me through my shopping.
The Italian Centre Shop is the kind of place a foodie can happily wander through all day long!