About this special series: While we ask our readers to pick the best of the best each year in more than 100 Best of New Hampshire categories, there are many other worthy and outstanding favorites for each category, ranging from pizza to cupcakes and garden centers to home décor shops. New Hampshire Magazine wants to make sure these reader favorites get their own moment in the spotlight and we encourage you to check them out.
Does your grocery list need a little more pizzazz than what your neighborhood supermarket has to offer? Here are the best specialty food shops our readers recommend going for all of your unique shopping needs in the Granite State, including smoothies, prepared foods and locally sourced meat and fresh produce.
Angela’s Pasta and Cheese Shop
815 Chestnut St., Manchester
Looking for a bottle or two of wine to complement your cheese plate or complete your dinner table? Angela’s carries a varied selection of imported and domestic wines that satisfy any palate and any budget. As you look around the store, you will also find a large selection of specialty food items to assist anyone from gourmet chefs to novice cooks. Their shelves are stocked high with a variety of olive oils, vinegars, cooking sauces, mustards, seasonings, pastes, relishes and salsas, jams and jellies, dessert sauces, cookies, crackers and chips and more. Their in-house experts are always happy to recommend the perfect cheeses and meats to compliment your DIY charcuterie board. Don’t forget to check out Angela’s dessert options too as they offer a delicious selection ranging from traditional Italian items like gelato, tiramisu, profiteroles, and ricotta pie to standards like cakes, pies, cheesecake and even crème brulee.
Congratulations to Angela’s Pasta and Cheese Shop, who was awarded the Best Specialty Food Store and Best Gourmet To Go by our readers for 2022.
On the Vine
75 Portsmouth Ave., Exeter
This marketplace is the definition of delicious and has been feeding Granite Staters since 2006. As an independent gourmet grocery store, they have worked hard to develop relationships with exceptional vendors to bring you the finest quality products available. They offer a range of seafood, produce, bakery items, beer, wine and more, but their butcher shop is what makes them well-known. A family tradition carried forward, the shop has brought back some of the tried and true family recipes created by Carl Shultze, co-founder of the wildly famous “Schultz’s hot dog.” Each uses only the finest, all natural ingredients partnered with the expertise in product preparation, a recipe even grandpa would be proud of.
Editor’s Menu Pick: Cilantro lime turkey tips with a side of roasted veggies from the deli and a coconut macaroon (or two) for dessert. -Emily, associate editor
A Market Natural Foods
125 Loring St., Manchester
This market is committed to quality and consistency in offering you the best possible choices available in natural, organic, specialty and locally produced grocery items. The team at A Market will provide you with a full-service shopping experience dedicated to helping you live a life free of unnecessary ingredients and rich in pure, unadulterated goodness. Not only do they have a wide range of grocery items, but other products include natural supplements, bulk foods and more. (If you don’t feel like cooking after shopping, don’t worry. Stop by their prepared food section on your way out and pick up curry chicken salad or a black bean hummus wrap for dinner.)
Concord Food Co-op
Locations in Concord and New London
What began as a humble buying club more than 38 years ago has grown into one of the most successful natural food co-ops in the state. With a true community focus, the Concord Food Co-op stocks its shelves with delicious foods from hundreds of local and regional farms and producers. All of their produce is organic and they pre-screen everything in the store to be sure that the products they sell don’t contain ingredients their members and shoppers don’t want to consume. The Co-op’s café and bakery also skillfully create dishes and desserts available in-store, by special order and for catered events. One of the best parts of this co-op? Approximately 70 cents on every dollar spent at the Co-op is reinvested into the local economy.
The Local Grocer
3358 White Mountain Hwy., North Conway
When it comes to food variety, the team at The Local Grocer know how to deliver. This organic grocery store offers locally sourced produce, cheeses, meats, groceries, specialty products and professionally selected herbs and supplements. Grab a super smoothie and peaceful warrior breakfast burrito from Table + Tonic Farm Cafe and enjoy your meal at their patio seating or take it home for an afternoon treat.
Locations in Salem and Portsmouth
A one-stop shop and Granite State fan favorite, Tuscan Market locations offer an extensive assortment of specialty oils and sauces including many producers of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, fresh-sheeted pasta, imported cured meats and cheeses, Italian espresso and desserts. From freshly baked breads and homemade pizzas and Panini, to handmade pastas and slow-cooked sauces, customers can bring home a truly authentic meal from start to finish. If you have a sweet tooth, there are more than enough items to select from with a dedicated dessert section boasting a wide assortment of Italian pastries and gelato being spun daily in the gelateria within the Tuscan Market Café.
Littleton Food Co-op
43 Bethlehem Rd., Littleton
This member-owned grocery store features local produce, hot prepared foods, a deli, bulk foods, craft beer, wine and a quality grocery selection. The grocery aisles are brimming with new items every week ranging from Bishop’s Homemade Ice Cream of Littleton to local brews and organic beverages. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, let the staff know and they will special order it for you. (Don’t forget to grab a side of their famous cran-walnut chicken salad to have on hand for the week.)