Here's one thing South Florida has aplenty: specialty markets that range from the super-large and sweet to the small and exotic. Sure, they're the types of places where you might not be able to cross off all the items on your grocery list, but what you'll discover instead are some hard-to-find or unique items you wouldn't be able to get from mundane stops like Publix, Winn Dixie, or even Whole Foods.
From caviar and foie gras to imported cheeses and rare spices, just imagine the aisles and refrigerated deli cases of possibilities that await you when you explore this list of the 15 best specialty markets in Broward and Palm Beach.
15. To the Moon Marketplace
2205 Wilton Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-564-2987, or visit tothemoonmarketplace.com.
Best for: Sugary and salty goodies in every form.
Much more than a candy shop, this Wilton Manors institution stocks a strange and intriguing selection of gourmet (and not-so-gourmet) food items like salsas, sauces, and salty snacks. The shop also deals heavily in all things nostalgia-related with an exhaustive array of old-timey candies and hard-to-find sweet treats, as well as a variety of collectibles and nonfood items to round out the selection.
14. Tunie's Natural Grocery & Vitamin Market
900 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-866-7751, or visit tunies.com.
Best for: Affordable supplements and all-natural or organic food.
With sky-high price tags, it's no wonder so many people feel they can't afford a healthy lifestyle, organic food, or all-natural products. But if Whole Foods isn't in your price range, there's another option. You can find a lot of what you need at Tunie's Natural Grocery and Vitamin Market, a locally-based chain with locations in Palm Beach Gardens, Coral Springs, and Fort Lauderdale. In operation for more than 20 years, Tunie's' main claim to fame is that it offers more than 30,000 items, including a variety of all-natural groceries and supplements along with organic produce, health and beauty products, and pet products. Their main claim to fame is selling it all for lower prices than the big-name stores while also hosting weekly free health education seminars.
13. Got Sprouts?
1880 W. Tenth St. #104, West Palm Beach. Call 561-689-9464, or visit gotsprouts.com.
Best for: Organic wheatgrass, sprouts, and seeds.
Sean and Jody Herbert began Got Sprouts? several years ago in response to some serious health challenges they experienced in the past. The couple learned most of what they know about the healing quality of living sprouts and following a raw vegan diet from Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach. They began growing organic, GMO-free sprouts — germinated seeds that provide chlorophyll, essential nutrients, proteins, fats, and enzymes — for personal use and later launched their business to help others lead a healthy lifestyle. Today customers can purchase wheatgrass, sunflower, broccoli, radish, buckwheat, and pea sprouts in bulk, as well as a variety of seeds and all the equipment necessary to grow your own sprouts at home. If you can't make it to the retail store, the company delivers from Stuart to Deerfield Beach.
12. Celis Produce
2814 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Call 561-410-5735, or visit celis-produce.com.
Best for: Organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to your door.
Sure, you can visit the Celis Produce store in West Palm Beach, but you can also get fresh, organic produce delivered directly to your door. Celis' main mission is to make buying organic fruits and vegetables easy, affordable, and — most of all — convenient. To do so, the company offers a number of packages they call "shares." Contents in each share can feed anywhere from a family of three to an office of 50. Fruit and vegetable selections change weekly, delivered directly to your home or office Monday through Wednesday. Right now that includes seasonal sweet potatoes, local zucchini, red leaf lettuce, organic Hass avocados, blueberries, and orange honeydew. Delivery is free with a $15 minimum purchase, and options for frequency of drop-offs are flexible according to your needs and wants. If you're not the delivery type, you can also purchase a la carte by visiting Celis Produce in person, where they sell the same organic produce and products for a good price.
11. Russian & International Food Market
903 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Call 561-483-6020.
Best for: Eastern European food and goods.
A large assortment of Eastern European and Russian goods line the shelves of this spacious market off Glades Road in Boca Raton. It's not surprising they also have a good selection of vodka, wine, and imported beer. If it's sweets you're after, candies from around the world can be found throughout the shop, while fresh-baked goods and pastries line the back deli counter. Here you can also order homemade pierogis, smoked fish, and deli meats you won't find at the Publix meat counter (think gypsy salami, blood tongue, and cervelat). If you need something on the spot, order a homemade traditional Russian soup like borsh, soleanka, or okroshka — a mix of cucumber, radish, and spring onion with boiled potatoes, egg, and a cooked meat such as beef, veal, sausages, or ham with kvass (a nonalcoholic beverage made from fermented black or rye bread).
10. Old Heidelberg Deli
914 W. State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-3880, or visit oldheidelbergdeli.com.
Best for: Homemade sausages and a large selection of German beer.
If you love German food, you already know about Old Heidelberg in Fort Lauderdale. But have you been to the traditional German deli of the same name housed just next door? Here you can find an assortment of housemade German goodies like sauerkraut, fresh breads including the pretzel-like brezel, and imported cheeses like Handkäse, a German sour milk cheese. You can also find a number of specialty candies and chocolates as well as a few dozen imported German beers. The best part, however, is the dozens of housemade sausages: everything from kielbasa, pork wiener, and knockwurst to bratwurst, head cheese, and a homemade sauerbraten (pot roast).
9. Thousand Pound Egg
908 NE 20th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-335-7060, or visit thousandpoundegg.com.
Best for: Cookbooks and culinary classes.
A fairly recent addition to the varied Victoria Park neighborhood located in the Gateway Shopping Center, this independent store deals in offering the home cook all the tools and goods needed to produce the perfect meal. The store has a range of new and vintage cookbooks to cater to your ultra specific cravings — as well as the ingredients you'll need to satisfy them. There's also an emphasis on locally sourced products like Florida honey and locally crafted artisan porcelain plates and ceramics. The store even carries rare and unusual food products from around the globe, while the foodie founders host culinary-centric events like tastings, author talks, and a number of unique gastronomic gatherings.
8. India Bazaar
4780 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-684-3480.
Best for: Indian spices and products.
Your options for a quality Indian dinner in South Florida are limited. Sure, there are some solid Indian restaurants in both counties, but they're few and far between. Instead, why not stock up on Indian ingredients and try your hand at making your own palek paneer, curries, and aloo matar? At this bazaar-style shop you can find all the specialty spices, masala, and chutneys (even minced lamb or goat) you'll need to make it happen, plus the extras — packaged as snacks or stacked as fresh produce — to help create a memorable meal. This shop also holds late hours daily (until 9 p.m.) so shopping isn't a hassle on the weekdays. Don't forget to grab a piping hot samosa at the counter before you check out.