10 inspiring delis around the world

14 April 2020, 15:39 PM
  • Our planet's finest food retailers have plenty of retail takeaways to share, discovers Anna Blewett
10 inspiring delis around the world

1 BILL’S FARM, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA Heston Blumenthal isn’t the only gourmet to recognise this south-coast city as a wellspring of innovation and excellence. Bill’s, a stall that’s stood in the Queen Victoria Market for more than three decades, is widely acclaimed as one of the country’s best delis. European-style specialist cheeses made in the state are a highlight (including Australian Bries, triple creams and chèvres) and nestle alongside a series of single cheeses imported from Europe and sold as limited editions. billsfarm.com.au

2 WHOLE FOODS MARKET LAMAR, AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA Whole Foods may have 499 stores worldwide but its first outlet, the chain’s flagship store in Austin Texas, is cited by many as its best. It’s twice as big as other stores, and kombucha on tap, grind-your-own nut butters, bulk spices and certified beer and cheese experts on-hand all contribute to the sense of an outlet that’s ahead of the curve. With upcoming in-store events including a ‘beauty brunch’ and a ‘beauty and wellness class’, this iconic retailer is pushing consumers’ buttons hard. wholefoodsmarket.com

3 SIGNATURE BY SPINNEY’S, BEIRUT, LEBANON It’s nearly a year since one of Lebanon’s main multiple retailers opened a premium store in the commercial district of Beirut Souks. In a country spoilt for glorious open-air markets selling the region’s fabulous ingredients loose, Signature offers a very different retail experience. Gleaming counters graced with imported foods give (rich) locals the chance to immerse themselves in a finely-curated “ultimate gourmet experience”. spinneys.com

4 HABITAT BY HONESTBEE, SINGAPORE This “multi-sensory, tech-meetsfood” grocery has all the innovation you’d expect from one of the world’s most progressive retail cultures. Shoppers must first download an app before swiping a QR code for entry to the one-acre site which offers retail areas and café concessions. The store has has no manned tills, instead baskets of 10 items or less are charged to the app’s digital wallet. Trolleys are packed and priced by robots before being collected by customers. Despite (or perhaps because of) the futuristic tech on show Habitat has struggled to break into profit, but a tighter focus on niché food and drink ranges is part of the 2020 strategy. Habitat is temporarily closed amid the Corvid-19 outbreak, but is expected to resume trading once travel precautions are lifted. habitat.honestbee.sg

5 MARKTHAL, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS Responding to tightened EU regulations regarding the openair sale of meat, fish and cheese, this cavernous enclosed market opened in October 2015. Its brightlycoloured ceiling spans stalls piled high with South Holland’s iconic yellow-rinded Goudas, cured meats, poffertjes (Dutch pancakes) and other European delights. Great though the food and drink on sale is, it’s the richly detailed wraparound ceiling mural that sets the stage for visitors to flock in, and has made this new market into location that can challenge sites with hundreds of years’ trading heritage. markthal.nl

6 GASTRONOMIA FRANCHI BENEDETTO, ROME, ITALY Another institution with its roots at the start of the 20th century, Franchi’s regularly fills up with Romans and tourists jostling for Italy’s iconic luxury foods. Freshfried ‘suppli’, Rome’s answer to arachini, line up alongside deep-fried artichoke hearts and fritto misto for hungry shoppers while vac-packed cured meats, regional formaggio and funghi tempt cooks looking for the finest ingredients. ‘Savour the difference’ is the instruction etched above the threshold, and thousands of visitors every year do just that. franchi.it

7 LES HALLES DE LYON – PAUL BOCUSE, LYON, FRANCE Named for the world-renowned chef who hailed from this third city of France, Les Halles packs in everything you’d expect from the country’s gastronomic heartland. Brightly-lit counters (think Borough Market given a Harrods makeover) carry the prettiest aspic-glazed pâtés, foie gras, escargot, frog’s legs and ‘quenelles des brochet’ made from pike and wheat flour. halles-de-lyon-paulbocuse.com

8 WEGMAN’S, VARIOUS STATES, USA With more than a hundred stores across seven states, this is no boutique deli, but Wegman’s has plenty of inspiration for fine food retailers. While UK mults are pulling back from manned counters (witness closures at Tesco stores) this family-run chain invests in trained staff, and regularly ranks highly on ‘best companies to work for’ lists. With its offer aimed at ‘upscale clientele’ it is beloved for its focus on excellent customer service, organic groceries and hot food, earning admissions of #wegmania from loyal customers. wegmans.com

9 LA BOQUERIA, BARCELONA, SPAIN Picking just one stall from this iconic market (also known as Mercat de Sant Josep) would be an impossible task, and it’s the confluence of stunning seafood, jamon iberico, diverse local produce and impressive tapas that makes it such a treat for the senses. Tourist trap? Undoubtedly. But La Boqueria has worked to limit large groups and maintain its quality as a working market. Since November last year the market has offered online shopping to Barcelona and local cities, with shoppers getting 30% discount on items ordered via website or app. boqueria.barcelona

10 FORTNUM & MASON, PICCADILLY, UK What list could exclude the incredible new experiential retail spaces at Fortnums? The confectionery department brings a make-up counter level of lighting to the brand’s iconic colour scheme, with bright marble and gleaming brass fittings making a utopian fantasy retail space. In fact every individual space in the iconic food hall ups the ante, not only making the Piccadilly site a destination for tourists but also food lovers seeking out the most innovative and decadent new ideas in luxury food and drink. fortnumandmason.com

Image: Bill’s Farm, Melbourne

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