Chelsea Market Fieldtrip

It hadn’t yet reached a crisis point, but I noticed this weekend that I was getting low on coffee. My morning cappuccino is an addiction that I picked up after having lived in Italy, so not just any cuppa joe will do to get me started on my day. I don’t even drink NYC Deli Coffee, except in a real caffeine emergency. And, the coffee machine in the office, please, I think I’d rather just drink a mug full of scalding hot water instead.

My brand of choice is Illy. It’s not very difficult to find in the city, but depending upon where one shops, the price for your average can of ground coffee beans can vary widely. Then, again, depending upon where one shops, it could be taking a gamble with the coffee’s freshness as well. I usually try to buy mine at Chelsea Market, but that is an excursion downtown and across town from where I live.

As I was volunteering today and had to head into Soho, I decided to take a detour and hit Buon Italia, the Italian store in Chelsea Market, where I’ve found the best price on Illy. I’ve also seen products there that I haven’t come across since I lived in Italy. This is one of many great finds in the building that once housed the Nabisco Biscuit Factory (and, if my memory of one of the displays is correct, is the place where the Oreo was invented). Now it is a collection of shops and office space, and a prime tourist destination for food lovers, as it is the home of The Food Network.

I realized that I haven’t really written much about food shopping in New York. True, there are grocery stores and bodegas scattered around every few blocks. The truth is that those are often not enough. There’s a grocery store in the basement of my building, but I rarely use it except for purchases like toilet paper, paper towels, or cleaning supplies. It’s expensive and the quality is just so-so. For real shopping, I hit the Greenmarket and specialty stores like Chelsea Market. This mix gives me, I feel, the best in taste and quality as well as the ability to take advantage of more competitive prices.

So, here’s a little photographic field trip to share with you some of the delights and treats of Chelsea Market. For more information on the market itself, its history, and the shops located there, click on the link in the second paragraph.

The entrance doesn’t look all that promising 

Until your eye catches the flower shop 

And you walk by the bakeshop 

Or wander past the wine shop You can watch bakery treats being made

Or see what goes on in a butcher’s shop

Some of the industrial elements of the factory have been kept

If you get hungry, here’s a place to stop to eat

Or maybe here?

Or stop to pick up some produce here?

My destination – it might not look like much


but here you can find olive oil from all over Italy
lots of San Marzano tomatoes for sauce
tanti tipi di formaggi italiani
and some of my favorite cookies from Italy

you can even pick up something for tonight’s dinner

One more stop. Here’s a great concept - gelato and kitchen supplies

Of course I couldn’t resist a small one after staring at all that Italian food
mmmm, molto buono!

Buon appetito!