Best Gourmet Grocer/Food Hall
The Readers Choice nominees for Best Gourmet Grocer/Food Hall include one that started out with a small store in Texas and today, has more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. An Ohio-based nominee is family-owned and operated that is recognized for its great food and service. Two nominees are New York institutions offering gourmet foods from around the world. Last, but not least, there's an opulent Food Hall in London that is known worldwide for the sheer volume and selection of its international goods all presented in breathtaking displays.
Dean & DeLuca
Dorothy Lane Market
Harrods Food Hall
Best Online Gourmet Food
The Readers' Choice nominees for the Best Online Gourmet Food include a New York institution with a staff that travel the world in search of great artisan-produced foods. A Seattle-based nominee was launched by a group of passionate food-lovers committed to the best artisan-produced, sustainable foods while another nominee is a family-owned operation that originated from three generations of cheese importers. A Michigan-based nominee is a collection of local businesses, each with its own food specialty. Finally, the Philadelphia-based nominee celebrates the European roots of its two founders with a wide array of gourmet meats, cheeses, oils, and other goods from around the world.
Dean & DeLuca
Di Bruno Brothers
Zingerman's Mail Order
Best Caviar Retailer
The Readers' Choice nominees for Best Caviar Retailer include award-winning brands from Europe and the United States with each offering the highest of quality. Several offer some of the finest Russian caviar to be found, while one is a proponent of sustainably harvested roe with its own tank-farming system.
Caviar House & Prunier
Tsar Nicoulai Caviar
Best Bread Bakery
The Readers' Choice nominees for Best Bread Bakery include companies that have been producing bread for decades. One opened more than 70 years ago and is now an institution in Paris, while another was launched in Belgium before expanding around the world. A Los Angeles-based nominee has developed more than 100 varieties of award-winning breads. The Philadelphia-based nominee features artisanal breads and the baked goods of the Ann Arbor-based nominee are known throughout the Midwest.
La Brea Bakery
Le Pain Quotidien
Best Cheese Shop
The Readers' Choice nominees are among the most respected shops in the world. These cheese shops, offer a full range of both international and domestic artisanal cheeses. They are the destinations for serious cheese lovers and chefs who are in search of the best.
Neal's Yard Dairy
Filed under: Dining
Neal's Yard Dairy was founded in 1979, offering Greek-style yogurts, crème fraiche and, of course, cheese. Initially a distributor of lackluster wholesale cheeses, the Dairy began to evolve into a world-renowned specialist when owner Randolph Hodgson drove his rickety Citroen to a countryside farm and returned to London with a load of delectable Devonshire Garland cheese.
By sampling more cheeses and talking to customers, Hodgson grew his palate and his business--and outgrew the physical location of Neal's Yard. In 1992 the company moved to 17 Shorts Garden, where it still has a shop. The Dairy also expanded to include maturing rooms under the brick railway arches that support the main line from London Bridge to Dover, as well as a Neal's Yard Creamery located on Dorstone Hill, overlooking the Wye Valley in Herefordshire.
Hodgson still keeps close ties with cheesemakers and customers--he hand-picks cheddars by visiting England's West Country every eight weeks, sampling young cheese to select which batches will be matured for Neal's Yard Dairy. His Citroen has been replaced with a fleet of climate-controlled vans that shuttle cheeses around London, where mature cheese is sold through his two shops.
For those located outside the British Isles, goods from Neal's Yard Dairy are available in restaurants around the world, and by direct order from the company's website. Though the original batch of Devonshire Garland is long gone, there are still plenty of similar West Country cheeses available.
Vote now for what you believe is the best of breed in Gourmet Foods. Readers' Choice Awards for Food will be announced on November 30th.