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If you're looking for the perfect bottle of wine or specialty cheese to complete your picnic basket, or locally sourced olive oils or chocolates to take home, stop by one of the many specialty shops sprinkled throughout San Diego. Here are a few that are definitely worth stopping by.
Long before downtown San Diego became a hotbed of dining and nightlife, Wine Bank, located in the Gaslamp Quarter, began aggressively amassing one of the finest collections of wine and liquor in the world. Now the historic building's large antique bank vaults house rare vintages, cult and limited edition wines. Visitors are invited to meander through its labyrinth of rooms and endless stacks of wine, single malts, small batch bourbons, cognacs, and just about every other spirit available from aquavit to pisco. The shop's underground vaults are also home to wine tasting and pairing events on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.
Where: 363 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Grape Connections, In the seaside neighborhood of Point Loma, i fine wine store is dedicated to providing quality wines at reasonable prices, some starting as low as $5.99. With the owner having over 30 years of experience in the wine industry and a knack for recommending the perfect bottle of wine to compliment any dinner or activity; this shop is one not to miss. Their wine bar is open daily from 12:00 to 6:00 PM.
Where: 1130 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106
Wine Steals has two locations with one in the urban area of Hillcrest and the other in the seaside area of Cardiff by the Sea. Known for a lively and relaxed atmosphere where the concept is to combine wine buying and tasting in a fun environment. Whether you are a beginner wine drinker or a well-seasoned one this shop offers something different for everyone. Imagine wine tasting in a traditional winery in Europe combined with relaxed lounge seating. Come in to sip, nibble, and socialize before buying that perfect bottle of wine.
Hillcrest - 1243 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Cardiff by the Sea - 1953 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
Stepping through the doors of Chuao Chocolatier is the adventuresome chocoholic's fantasy. Named for the region in Venezuela where some of the most prized criollo cacao beans are grown, all the chocolate used in the shop comes from Venezuela. Eyebrow-raising bonbons are among the chocolatier's most popular offerings. Spiced with chili pepper, the Picante is filled with a California raisin "fondue" and Napa Valley cabernet caramel. The Chevere, a dark chocolate-covered buttercream blend of goat cheese, Pear Williams and crushed black pepper, truly captures the taste and texture of the cheese.
Encinitas - 937 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas CA 92024
Del Mar - 3485 Del Mar Heights Rd, Del Mar 92130
Point Loma' Chi Chocolat boasts hand-made fresh artisanal chocolates like bonbons, truffles, chunky slabs of premium chocolate, and delectable chocolate covered fruit. Known for some of the most unique flavors of chocolate like cardamom, cinnamon-nutmeg, curries, and tequila, just to name a few. Be sure to compliment your selected chocolate with one of their Italian coffee drinks made on the spot.
Where: 2690 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
If nostalgic candy is your desire try visiting Cousin's Candy Shop, located at Seaport Village and in Old Town State Historic Park. A confectionary shop stocking fudge, taffy, licorice, caramel, chocolate, and old-school candy taking you back to another era. Stroll through the aisles in a quaint setting while filling up your goodie bag. If visiting the Old Town location be sure to watch the candy makers stretch the salt-water taffy in the window.
Seaport Village - 809 W. Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Old Town State Historic Park - 2711 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
An authentic five-ton stone oven imported from France browns the bread at Hillcrest's Bread & Cie. This quaint bistro atmosphere lets customers watch the busy bakers at work. Guests can sample the daily selections of traditional country levian, French white batard and sourdough baguette along with more unusual bread choices like jalapeño & cheese, fig & anise and black olive. The unique flavors, textures, and crusts sets this shop apart. They also offer a well-executed breakfast and lunch menu.
Where: 350 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Striving to be the best artisan bread bakery in San Diego is Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe. This local gathering offers over 20 flavors of handmade artisan bread, decadent morning pastries, creative sandwiches, coffee and espresso drinks. With easy parking you can either swing by and pick up items or relax and enjoy them with inside and outside seating. You might want to split one of their decadent cinnamon rolls since they are known for them.
Where: 2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Pacific Beach's Charlie's Best Bread has been showcasing an all organic line of product since 1988. Everything is made with fresh and pesticide-free organic ingredients such as: organic flour, organic grains, organic eggs, organic honey, organic fruits and veggies, organic butter and organic dairy.
Where: 1808 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
In German, Vom Fass translates to "from the cask" which is exactly the experience here. This charming, locally owned shop is based on the simple European tradition of sampling wares before purchasing. With tasting experts at your fingertips and a wide assortment of olive oils, this shop also features infused oils, nut & seed oils, wine vinegars, fruit balsamic vinegars, spirits and liqueurs, brandy, whisky, bourbon, wine and other spirits. Not only will you enjoy tasting their product but you will have a choice of which beautiful bottle you would like to purchase it in. If you are a "foodie" then this shop will not disappoint.
Where: 1050 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Perched above La Jolla Cove, We Olive & Wine Bar features a balcony with stunning ocean views you can experience complimentary tastings of California extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, and gourmet foods. Their philosophy is to take pride in offering the finest products from artisan growers, and educate guests about the health benefit and exceptional quality of California Extra Virgin Olive Oils. This shop also offers a menu of olive oil inspired small plates and features small-production California wines and local craft beer.
Where: 1158 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Temecula Olive Oil Company, located in Solana Beach and in Old Town, are not only the sellers of their olive oil but they are the actual growers. This shop and tasting room is family owned and operated, committed to using only California olives to make the highest quality olive oil. The Old Town location features olives, hand-blended flavored oils, spreads, sea salts, balsamic vinegar, herbs, rubs, soaps, lotions, and candles made with extra virgin Temecula Olive Oil. The Solana Beach location is in the heart of the design district, Cedros Design District, featuring daily complimentary tastings of cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, as well as showcasing a complete line of products like cookbooks and artisan gifts made from olive wood.
Solana Beach - 342 S. Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075
Old Town - 2754 Calhoun St, San Diego, CA 92110
Venissimo Cheese, offers five unique locations throughout San Diego, . From Downtown, Mission Hills, Del Mar, North Park, and their latest in Point Loma, this specialty shop offers tastings of any type of cheese you want. With their knowledgeable cheesemongers and descriptive receipts (complete with pronunciations, country of origin, milk type & more), the goal is to take out the intimidation of artisanal cheese shopping. Be sure to check out their Academy of Cheese (AOC) located either at the Downtown or Del Mar location.
Del Mar - 2650 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014
Liberty Station - 2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Mission Hills - 754 West Washington, San Diego, CA 92103
North Park - 3007 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
Downtown - 789 West Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
The Cheese Store of San Diego offers a friendly and educational atmosphere when selecting your cheese. The cheese is cut-to-order to ensure the freshest taste experience. Their cheesemongers are among the best in helping you taste and find the perfect fit for your palate. They love to show you what will pair with what utilizing the highest quality of local ingredients. This shop specializes in cheese, charcuterie, gourmet salads, soups, sandwiches, and mac & cheese. There is even a selection of beer and wine available to complete any picnic. Their mission statement is to create a space that brings neighbors and strangers together to celebrate the beauty of cheese.
Where: 1980 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Located in Point Loma at Liberty Station, the former Naval Training Center, this market has it all; from prepared foods, a wine shop, beer, cocktails, desserts, an olive oil tasting area, fresh fish, a butcher shop, a cheese and gift shop, freshly brewed gourmet coffee, a fresh flower shop, a dog boutique, a retro candy shop, just to name a few. There are also vendors with unique jewelry, sunglasses, watches and more. It's also a fun spot to stroll the adjoining blocks and get a locals perspective on a Southern California lifestyle.
Where: 2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Local culinary treasures, along with the freshest fruits, vegetables and flowers can also be found at one of the many local Farmers Markets. There's one every day of the week in neighborhoods throughout San Diego County. Find a San Diego Farmers Market!
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