Best of Boston

2002 Best Grocery Store, Gourmet

South End Formaggio

Here’s one neighborhood shop that wins big on several fronts. Hardcore foodies drool over its petite but unparalleled stock of spreads, produce, and exotic cheeses. Culinary novices appreciate such hard-to-find items as mini-Turkish plums, wild asparagus, and “capers in salt from the Islands of Salinas,” thanks to the detailed descriptions that accompany them. Even grifters (the avid samplers and snitchers in all of us) find solace here in the many free tasting plates so generously left about. Don’t cook? Take home a helping of duck breast or one of the other carryout dishes.

268 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-350-6996,