Whether you're yearning for the true flavours of home or struggling to find exotic ingredients in the oh-so-French épiceries of Paris, our selection of the best international food shops is sure to tick all of your boxes. From freshly baked pateis de nata to shelves groaning with fragrant Lebanese spices, prepare to voyage around the world - without even leaving the Périphérique.
Three young chefs from Montpellier’s renowned catering school and Alain Ducasse’s cooking school are revisiting the humble Greek souvlaki sandwich: grilled meat with salad and confit tomatoes in a pitta bread made pleasantly moist with meat juices. The choice of meat is about as expansive as the number of cuisines that can be found on this street and the veggie options include courgette and feta meatballs.
Velan is somewhere between an Indian deli and a craft shop and has been going since 1996 so don’t hesitate to use their expertise and ask questions about ingredients for pretty much any Indian dish. A wall of spices and dried fruits, all for less than €2, homemade mango or rose lassi for only €1.20, cane sugar juice or even King Fisher beer. The rest of the shop is dedicated to home remedies, natural Ayurvedic beauty products and incense.
This little grocery store in the 9th arrondissement stocks a colourful rainbow of Italian cuisine: Neapolitan sauces with fennel, Genoa crosetti pastas and spaghetti from Tuscany. Quality and concern for small local producers are the watchwords here. Conserves, patisserie and incredible tomatoes grown on Vesuvius that last all winter sit together on the fresh produce shelves. If you’re lucky, there’ll also be the earthy scent of Italian white woodland truffles. Gorgonzola, Parmesan, fresh Mozzarella and much more is delivered twice a week.
This tiny Iranian grocery has been going for over 25 years, in an area well known for its Persian community. Unless you’re after a specific ingredient for a Persian banquet, the great pleasure of this peaceful little place is in the browsing – you’ll come away with things like saffron, honey with dried fruits and a host of piquant new discoveries. Ther's also a pastry counter, where you can investigate the delights of jam and raisin pastries like the papillonis, or traditional nougat.
For fans of Latin flavours, spicy sauces, maté or even cachaça, this Colombian deli has everything you’d need to give your evening a boost. A stone’s throw from Montmartre, it sells products from all over Latin America – try arepas (Colombian maize pancakes), Criolla potatoes, bunuelos (round doughnuts for frying) and even the famed traditional Mexican soup pozole. Soak up dulcet Spanish voices in the small cafeteria area, where you can sip a Mexican beer and munch on a homemade doughnut.
This Spanish deli, supplier to the city’s Iberian restaurants and most recently, a tapas haven feels like it could be a step or two from Plaza de Catalunya. Expect calamari, croquettes, choquitos, boquerones, patatas bravas and even Pata Negra ham – all typical sharing plates at the very reasonable price of €4 to €5. Try the stellar Serrano ham from El Bierzo’s sister store, a charcuterie, just a few metres away.
Craving a portion of Polish pierogi? Then head to C comme en Pologne, an unpretentious little grocery store-cum-second-hand shop in the 18th arrondissement. The friendly Polish couple that run the shop sell paprika sausage from Wroclaw and other Polish foodstuffs alongside vintage shirts made in Paris, clothes and crafts from their homeland. Anyone with a thing for Polish cuisine will love the national treats stacked on the food shelves: soups, spices, pierogi, sweets and chocolate bars.
This hole-in-the-wall bar in a chic corner of the Marais may be impossibly small, but it has become a runaway success with its irresistible freshly-baked pasteis de nata accompanied by traditional Portuguese coffee. The pasteis, succulent custard tarts, are baked according to Victor’s mother’s secret recipe, while the coffee is prepared just as if you were in Lisbon.
This tiny store, in an unlikely (if not austere) passageway in République has been providing expats with their weekly fixes of Cadbury’s chocolate, HP sauce and even Pop Tarts since 1993. The boutique is so packed, it's all a blur of brightly coloured packaging; but let your eyes settle, and you’ll find gems like Otter Vale chutneys, Heinz Picalilli, OXO cubes, Yorkshire and Barry's tea and Parsley sauce cooking mix. There’s even a fridge area with Beckett’s farm bacon, haggis and black pudding.