In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the campy song contest Eurovision, I hosted a party and wanted to stay on theme. This being NYC it wasn’t to difficult to find European candies and foods. I found some on the books places and other local places, so here is the whole round-up. This spans Brooklyn and Manhattan of the best stores to buy European treats.
Meyers of Keswick – West Village
You know you’re in the right place because there is a bench outside painted in the United Kingdom flag. This was by far the best place I stopped at. It is completely a British market. It had all kinds of imported snack foods from the UK. But it also had just imported foods in general. It truly was a market. Lots of Heinz canned foods. And Marmite! That was $6 if you were wondering. They also sell Vegemite for $9.95.
They offer lots of tea. Plus, prepared foods of traditional fare. You can buy a full shepard’s pie or other meat pie if you call ahead. For take out they offer sausage rolls and mini-pie’s. These were delicious. I even saw the chocolate Smartie’s there.
The woman on register was definitely British and very friendly. I found exactly what I was looking for. And the store was really great. I definitely would stop there first if you’re looking for any type of British food or other items.
Golden Farm – Kensington, Brooklyn
This is my local market! When I first moved to Kensington, I shopped here regularly because it is just a few blocks from my apartment. Then, there was a controversy about them not paying their workers fair wages. There was a huge boycott of the store and I started shopping somewhere else. Only recently, have I started shopping there again. It’s a shame there was that issue because it is a fantastic grocery store!
I almost didn’t need to go anywhere else, Golden Farm (Church Ave at E 4th st) offers so many foods from other countries. And it is very very cheap. (Probably because for a long time they didn’t pay their workers fair wages).
When you first walk in, head to the left and you’ll see plenty of European crackers, candies, and other snacks. Some are traditional, some are not. There are also American commercial and organic foods put in there as well. Kensington is a primary Eastern European neighborhood so that is how the store caters. There were lots of Polish snacks and foods. Traditional perogies. But also German cookies. Italy imported crackers. And authentic French crepes.
There is not a meat or cheese department, so you’ll have to go somewhere else for that. I even found preserves that were made in Armenia and Moldova (both Eurovision countries). And canned veggies from Israel. Many of the food items are fairly random. They also sell whole fish or dried fish. However it is. Sorry, I don’t know how to prepare that! But it’s there if you’re interested.
This is also a traditional market in that it has a huge selection of fruit and vegetables outside the store. They do sell a little bit of dairy; some milk and cheese. And have good prices on beer, cereal, and other ingredients. It is not a traditional grocery store since it doesn’t have a deli, a weekly circular, or sales.
Bobek Deli – Kensington, Brooklyn
I am extremely fortunate that two of the best sources of European goods were just a few blocks from my apartment. I love my neighborhood so much. There are quite a few Polish deli’s on Church Avenue with similar offerings. On the same block as the aforementioned Golden Farm, is a small Polish deli called Bobek Deli (Church Ave between E 4th and 3rd Streets).
This store offers many Polish goods like food ingredients, coffee/tea, soaps, sausages/meats, cheeses, and fresh food (perogie’s!). I went here mainly to pick up Polish sausage and fresh perogie’s. The perogie’s (several types) are $0.60 as of today. They also many types of sausage, salami, and other cured meats. I specifically asked for something that didn’t need to be cooked. Since I just wanted to make a platter of sausages for Eurovision (in honor of Conchita Wurst of course).
The woman behind the counter was extremely helpful. All the labels and names were in Polish so I wasn’t quite sure which was which. She spoke in English and was great at helping me pick which sausages would work best for the party and what else would go with it. I bought two Polish sausages, then some delicious salami, and perogie’s. Everything was very affordable.
Bobek Deli also offers other cooked foods, which I definitely recommend. Plus, it being right next to Golden Farm means you can get most of your shopping done right on the same block.
The Sweet Life – Lower East Side
This candy store is very small, cluttered, and in an awkward area in the Lower East Side/Chinatown. There are lots of traditional candies on the right as you walk in. Then Jelly Bellies and other normal candy shop candies near the register. The register itself is kind of hidden and checking out with multiple items is kind of awkward. The whole places is pretty crowded with goods but I know small spaces is what NYC is.
More importantly, on the left near the front of the store, are all the Imported treats! Here is where you can find Vegemite for $9. This is the best price I found of the two places I found Vegemite (of the six places I went to). I also found Tim Tams here – those were $9 as well. I can’t even complain. These treats have to cross multiple oceans to get here. I’m glad that I can get them both for under ten bucks.
Because I do know what vegemite tastes like, I skipped on that. But I did pick up a container of Tim Tams to try, after hearing a lot about them. Well, they were delicious! And I wish they were cheaper because I’d love to have them on hand when friend’s come over.
The Sweet Life also offered Marmite (for $8, so not as good of a deal as Meyers of Keswick), which I did not purchase there. They had Italian hard candies. And Hob Nob’s. These were another treat that I heard a lot about but had never tried. This and Meyers of Keswick were the two places I saw that had them.
Honestly, I thought the woman behind the counter could have been a bit friendlier. I was in the store quite a while looking around and it seemed like she was in a hurry for me to leave. But they have an excellent selection of everything. And this was the only store that had any type of Australian treats! Maybe there are other places in the city that have them, but this was a fantastic selection over all of imported snacks.
Sockerbit – West Village
My plan was to visit the London Candy Company then Sockerbit because both are/were in the West Village. So, I first went to the London Candy Company several years ago on an awkward date. They were located on the Upper East Side and I loved the store. I had heard about a year ago, they were moving to the West Village but hadn’t had a chance to check out the new store. Over the weekend, I decided to go there for Eurovision supplies. I looked up the address and walked past. The building was completely closed up! Looking on line, their Twitter account hasn’t been updated in a while. And their domain has been sold/parked. It looks like nothing is happening there. This is very unfortunate and disappointing. The only upside is that Meyers of Keswick is near-by and is a great alternative.
But another great European candy store in the West Village is the Swedish candy store of Sockerbit. This was the “cleanest” store I visited of all of them. By that I mean more in design. None of the stores were dirty. But Sockerbit was extremely organized, highly stylized, and kind of very Swedish.
It is set up like bulk candy shop, which is unique in comparison to all of the others. They sell a few packaged items but that’s not the reason to go there. You pick up a paper bag and a plastic scooper then go to town in the bulk bins. Mix and match putting them all in the bag. All the candies are the same price (I think $12/lb). They also have Finnish and other types of European candy than just Swedish.
Sockerbit also offers several Swedish goods and market items. They also have a refrigerator for cheese and those types of Swedish goods. The store was fairly busy when I went. The bulk candy thing might weird some people out but they seemed to do a good job of the “no hands” rule. In general, this was the “prettiest” store of all of them.
If you’re looking for European goods/snacks, there are lots of options in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Australian snacks (other than dub pies) are a little bit trickier! My round-up included Meyers of Keswick, The Sweet Life, Bobek Deli, Sockerbit, and Golden Farm.