If you’re looking for something a little fancy—for gifts, perhaps, or to keep on the counter—these shops have the high-end hot sauce, small-batch spirits, and cutest chocolates in town.
It’s hard to go a long block in Mexico City without being greeted with the steam from a tamale cart, the sizzle of a cheese hitting the griddle for a quesadilla, and the soft sound of expert hands patting out of fresh masa into tortillas. Sadly, if you’re looking for how to bring the best flavors of the city home with you, there’s no good way to pack a midnight torta in your suitcase. But you can buy many of the most interesting mezcals, salsas, and chocolates found around the city and bring them back with you.
The best food shopping in Mexico City will always be in its markets: get a plastic baggy filled with mole powders, pick up a half-dozen random bottles of salsas, and bring back a pouch of achiote paste. The gourmet and artisanal stands at the Mercado San Juan and neighborhood haunts like Mercado Medellin will keep you in casual supplies.
But if you’re looking for something a little fancy—for gifts, perhaps, or to keep on the counter—these shops have the high-end hot sauce, small-batch spirits, and cutest chocolates in town.
Coahuila 138, Roma, www.mismezcales.mx
This new Mexico City outlet of a Oaxaca-based cooperative carries the rarest mezcals still bearing the officially labels required for export—meaning that you can bring them home with you. They work directly with small producers to bring them into the shop, and can walk you through the selection to set you up with the perfect bottle—and a beautiful jicara (drinking gourd) from which to sip it, if you want.
La Dulcería de Celaya
5 de Mayo 39, Centro Histórico, www.dulceriadecelaya.com
Just a few years short of its 150th anniversary, this candy shop began by bringing in regional products to sell in the heart of Mexico, then eventually bought the recipes and now produces all the sweets themselves. Thus, the candies here show off the flavors of Mexico: chocolate, almonds, chiles, limes, and pine nuts, each playing a part in the artisanal treats presented in the century-old wooden display cases.
Durango 202, Roma, www.facebook.com/ExpendioDurango
For 20 years, Contramar has been the see-and-be-seen spot for seafood in Mexico City, the gleam of its tuna tostadas reflecting off the pristine white and sea-blue walls. But while you can’t bring home the impeccably fresh fish, you can hop next door and buy Mexican-made foods and drinks from the same owners at their casual deli and shop. Find jams, honey, salsas, craft beer, and wines among the fresh-baked breads and sandwiches.
Central de Cacao
Campeche 51, Roma, www.facebook.com/CentralCacao
From this little hallway of a café and shop, Central sells a menu of chocolate drinks from nearby La Rifa, but also stacks upon stacks of colorfully-wrapped chocolate bars of all styles from around the country. Bars, nibs, lotions, liqueurs, and more stock the shelves: if it’s made with chocolate or for use with chocolate, this spot has it all—and you can get a drinking chocolate and a chocolate tamale to snack on while you shop.
Monterrey 116, Roma, www.delirio.mx
Like Expendio Durango above, this is a casual shop from a celebrated chef, this time Monica Patiño. The shelves stock a lot their own branded products, including dulce de leche and marmalades (in flavors like lime with cardamom), as well as Mexican-grown coffee and chocolate. Their stylish and matching packaging makes them a great option for bringing home as gifts, and they do also carry some outside products, including wine, cheese, and craft beer to accompany.