Prepare your kitchen for greatness by popping into the best gourmet food stores in Connecticut. Each serving its own unique piece of the epicurean-pie, these local markets have just about every ingredient for almost any dish. From honey hams to famous falafel, these aren’t your usual big box grocers. – Courtney Delong

Hall’s Market

331 Park Rd.
West Hartford, CT 06119
(860) 232-1075

Family owned and operated since 1935, Hall’s Market is a throwback to the days of old. The meat counter uses the old fashioned “custom cut” system, delivering those juicy cuts fresh and never pre-packaged. It also means that whether you want whole beef tenderloin or a New York strip, simply call ahead, and Hall’s will cut and freeze your item for your convenience. If dinner has you stumped, there is also a fine selection of pre-made meals to for take home. Got a sweet tooth? Hall’s has the remedy for that, as well. The on-site bakery delivers muffins made with native, seasonal fruits, plus luxurious cream pies and velvety cakes. Of course, they also offer delicious breads and rolls for those that crave a more savory snack. Hours of operation: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays.

Crown Supermarket

2471 Albany Ave.
West Hartford, Ct. 06117
(860) 236-1965

If it isn’t Kosher, then you didn’t get it from Crown Supermarket. Serving as sort of a slimmed-down version of the more heavyweight style super-market, “The Crown” as it is referred to locally, presents consumers with a delicious selection of Jewish and Kosher food. An on-sight bakery has artisans baking round-the-clock, delivering fresh loaves of rye, hand braided challah, bobka, bagels and much more. If the smell of freshly baked bread has your tummy rumbling, make a pit stop by the deli counter and grab a New York style pastrami sandwich or fresh tuna salad. Make your final destination the meat department. The in-house smoked meats at Crown Supermarket will have you licking your chops all the way home. Hours of operation: Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Saturday.

Tangiers International Food Market

668 Farmington Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06119-1810
(860) 233-8168

This Middle Eastern Mecca may be the best gourmet food store in Hartford for those looking for a wide assortment of cheeses, olives, hummus and other exotic pre-packaged specialty foods. Happy customers can be found sitting at the long luncheonette, grazing on warm pita, earthy grape leaves and hot lima bean stew. Of course the real draw at Tangiers is their out-of-this-world Falafel. You can take it to go, but be warned: it is so darn good, you may want to stick around for seconds. Hours of operation: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.