408 Broome St.
New York, NY
Though Chicago boasts a wide variety of specialty grocery stores offering Mexican and Central American foods, there are no continental Spanish groceries. So we were excited to check out Despaña in SoHo, NYC. The store itself is small but uncluttered with a large deli case on one side and shelves of packaged goods on the other. We perused the selection of vinegars and olive oils, and many varieties had little sampling dishes to try all the different varieties. There is also a small selection of sweets to try, like Spanish nougat candy Turrón. We picked up a Crema Catalana boxed mix to take home with us (a steal at $2.50).
At the deli counter, there is an extensive case of Spanish cheeses and meats. While there were of course well-known Spanish cheeses like manchego, we were excited to see some more exotic cheeses like the unusual sheep’s milk Murcia al Vino (also called “Drunken Goat“), which is soaked in red wine. At the back wall of the store there is also a section with pre-made foods to eat at the small table area or take home. Featured sandwiches included: Chorizo with Mahon cheese and hot peppers ($8.50) and Nocilla (Spanish Hazlenut spread) on Cibatta for $5. There were also small tapas-style dishes, called pinxtos ($3-5), for snacking. We opted for the homemade blueberry cheesecake made with Afuega cow’s-milk cheese, which was excellent.
At Despaña, also M got his first taste of Spanish horchata, which is quite different than the rice-based Mexican horchata that is common in the US. Spanish horchata is made from tiger nuts and mixed with cinnamon, so it tastes kind of like a spicy almond milk. A liter bottle of Chufi brand horchata set us back only $5. Another particular we enjoyed about Despaña was their helpful staff, who couldn’t have been nicer. If you are in the area, you should definitely check out Despaña’s Iberic treats. It’s a whirlwind culinary tour of Spain your pocketbooks can handle!