Deli de Bossi. Photo / Supplied

These Are Auckland’s Finest Food Purveyors & Grocery Stores

The best grocers are stocking special ingredients you won’t find just anywhere

Deli di Bossi
Tucked down a lively brick laneway on Commerce St, there’s a distinctly European vibe at Deli di Bossi, where you’ll find everything you need to achieve simple and impressive Italian cooking at home. Executive chef Shaun Dowling makes fresh bread and pasta every day, and the fridges abound with ravioli, pappardelle and gnocchi, ready to be tossed with house-made marinara or truffle pesto. The sleek green cabinets lining the wall house quality cupboard staples such as anchovies, olive oil and brined clams for making a quick spaghetti vongole; and the marble deli counter is brimming with premium cured meat and cheese imported from Italy. There are take-home portions of tiramisu and cannoli, but our pick for dessert is the Drunken Windsor Blue — a locally made Whitestone blue cheese soaked in whiskey and honey, exclusive to the deli. 10 Commerce St, CBD

Also try: Purveyors of all things French, head to Maison Vauron for the impressive wine and cheese selection. The cheerful, well-informed staff can guide you through the offering, which includes foie gras, escargot, saucisson and cider. 5 McColl St, Newmarket

Tai Ping. Photo / Malcolm Campbell

Tai Ping
Chinese love ballads crackle through the speakers overhead as you arrive at Tai Ping, Wairau Valley, where it’s easy to lose time admiring mounds of durian, mangosteen and spiky purple dragonfruit; or trying to decide what kind of salted-egg fish-skin snack to buy. Behind an automatic sliding door there’s a wet market selling whole fish and live mussels; there’s also a butcher and a barbecue stall, with glossy chicken, duck and pork speared by hooks; and fresh noodles of varying density and thickness fill the fridges. But the real drawcard here is the row of Korean vendors at the back. Shik-takk sells a selection of freshly made banchan such as spicy stir-fried squid, braised peanuts and soy sesame leaf, alongside various types of kimchi, and premade meals such as pork bone and tofu soup. Various locations including 23/25 Porana Rd, Wairau Valley

Also try:  Also on the Shore is a branch of the Korean Wang Mart, where the shelves are uniformly stacked with dried seaweed, preserved radish and instant noodles. In the back corner, there’s a tiny and tidy butcher, and a counter labelled “kitchen” selling banchan and kimbap (Korean sushi). Various locations including 18-20 Link Drive, Wairau Valley

Sabato. Photo / Supplied

The quality and quantity of goods on offer at Sabato make being a gourmand easy. If you want to make a paella, for example, you’ll find calaspara rice, saffron, paprika and fumet fish stock all within easy reach of a paella pan. The glowing chillers are filled with fresh pasta and sauces, par-cooked pastries and ready meals such as chicken Marbella, or truffle bechamel for tossing through mac and cheese and potato gratin. There are cookbooks, wine and utensils; and a particularly impressive deli section, boasting huge wheels of cheese, some exclusive to the store — try the special Matariki edition Meyer gouda flavoured with horopito and kawakawa. The genuine and passionate staff are a drawcard too, they’re integral to the longevity of the store, which will celebrate its 30-year anniversary next year. 57 Normanby Rd, Mount Eden

Also try: Waiheke Speciality Food is a small but premium grocery store stocking hard to find products from all over the globe and gourmet pantry staples for everyday cooking. 28 Belgium St, Ostend

Japan Mart. Photo / Malcolm Campbell

Japan Mart
With shelves stacked neatly by staff in crisp cross-backed aprons, nothing is out of place at Japan Mart, Sylvia Park. Grab a canary yellow basket and fill with the fanciest packet ramen for cold winter days; marvel at the confectionary aisle, a kaleidoscopic display of cute packaging and exotic fruit candy; or restock your larder with large bags of togarashi and litre bottles of sesame dressing and Kewpie mayo. There are convenience products such as karaage coating and curry mix to make cooking Japanese at home easy; as well as things you never knew you needed, but will no longer be able to live without, such as freeze-dried yuzu citrus in a shaker, grated daikon in a tube, and bags of tempura bits that you can sprinkle on anything and everything. Shop 79, Sylvia Park, Mt Wellington

Also try:  After stocking up on snacks like spicy rice crackers and roasted hot green peas at Japan Mart, head to Tokyo Liquor next door, where you can buy Japanese beer and whisky, sake and ceramic serveware for drinking it. Shop 79, Sylvia Park, Mt Wellington

Pita House. Photo / Malcolm Campbell

Pita House
Make your way past families carting steaming bags of hot bread, past the fresh dates and dried figs, and you’ll find an impressive Middle Eastern grocery selection at Pita House Pakuranga. There are bulk bins full of spices and tubs of olives, a Halal butcher and fridges filled with soft cheeses; jars of vibrant purple turnips, tubs of tahini and bags of dried mint and oregano. They make their own olive oil which they sell by the flagon, but what you’re really here for is the bread from the woodfired oven. Busy bakers turn out pide, Lebanese pita and fatayer (small savoury pies topped with lamb or stuffed with spinach and cheese) as fast as the crowds snap them up. 2 Cortina Place, Pakuranga

Also try: If you find yourself in need of a 10kg bag of walnuts, a Persian rug or a shisha pipe, you’ll find all three at Caspian on Mount Eden Rd. There’s a fridge laden with salty cheese; large loaves of traditional Persian bread; fragrant herb and floral waters, sweets and curiosities. 883 Mount Eden Rd, Mt Eden

Cazador Deli. Photo / Emily Raftery

Mexican Specialties
Chonticha Ballard took over Mexican Specialties in 2015 and has maintained the niche imports and extensive product knowledge she inherited from the previous owner. The small set of shelves are well-stocked with ingredients you won’t find elsewhere, such as glass jars of nopalitos (cactus), dried corn husks for tamales and tins of hominy for making pozole. If convenience is what you’re after there are cartons of pre-made mole, or tins of enchilada sauce; a cabinet full of fresh tortilla, and a rainbow array of hot sauce. If you want to cook from scratch they sell tortilla presses, masa flour and hard to find chillies like arbol, morita and pasilla to add nuance to your next pot of chilli. Don’t leave without a box of Ibarra hot chocolate tablets. These thick disks of Mexican chocolate are coated in cinnamon and melt into a rich and warming drink; add some powdered guajillo chilli for extra spice. 92 Marua Rd, Ellerslie

Also try: Nearby is Martha’s Backyard, an immense shrine to American excess that stocks a great range of Tex-Mex products, as well as iconic brands of cereal, snacks and candy. It’s also the only place to buy Clamato — clam and tomato juice — that makes the best Bloody Marys. 44 Mount Wellington Highway, Mt Wellington

Mexican Specialties. Photo / Malcolm Campbell

Cazador Deli
Fans of Cazador’s charcuterie were pleased to see head chef and owner Dariush Lolaiy increase production and open a deli next door to the restaurant in 2020. Alongside the lauded cured meats, the deli sells local and imported cheese, oils and vinegars, and an impressive range of top quality conservas — tinned seafood which pairs perfectly with a fresh baguette, crisp white wine and a sunny day. Dariush says developing close relationships with importers from Spain and Portugal has allowed them to stock a super-niche range of products, some of which are exclusive to them. The deli also champions the best local artisans, and is a great place to buy gifts. Hampers can be ordered online and picked up in store when you are on your way to see food-loving friends. 854 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

Also try: The Kosher Deli is a one-stop-shop for a lazy Sunday bagel brunch, selling dense chewy bagels, lox, dill pickles, egg and potato salad. You can also pre-order challah and rugelach which can be collected on Fridays in store, where they stock a range of kosher grocery items. 110 Greys Ave, CBD

GoodFor. Photo / Supplied

Top in Town Food City
Behind the unassuming facade of Top in Town you’ll find all the colour and chaos of a busy market, the air filled with warm spice from the samosa and vada sitting in a pie warmer on the counter. The slightly shambolic layout can be hard to navigate but if you’re looking for something specific — such as besan flour or asafoetida — someone will take you straight to it. This a great place to replenish your spice drawer, especially for hard to find spices that will make authentic curries. To complete any genuine Indian feast there is a small green grocery section with fresh okra, long beans and sacks of green chillies, an aisle of fruit pickles and chutneys, fresh or frozen paratha and chapatti, and stainless serving bowls and thali plates. 583 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham

Also try: You’ll visit GoodFor looking to eco-consciously stock your larder with dry goods from the bulk bins here, but you’ll likely leave with all manner of sweet and salty snacks such as chocolate-covered freeze-dried strawberries. A great shop for the avid baker. Various locations

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