The Specialty Food Store Ina Garten Thinks Is The Best In The World

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more refined food world figure than Ina Garten, the Food Network cooking show host and author of 13 cookbooks (via her official website). Known as the Barefoot Contessa, Garten started her career in food in 1978, when she impulsively purchased a specialty foods store located in the Hamptons, New York, which had been bestowed the moniker — taken from the name of a 1954 film starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart — by its former owners (via Taste of Home). Though she had no previous professional experience with food, Garten shepherded the store to becoming an icon of Hamptons' good taste, offering earthy but elegant fare such as baguettes and chicken salad (via Barefoot Contessa).

"Earthy but elegant" — as she described the store to Taste of Home — is an apt description for Garten's recipes, which tend to be modernized takes on hearty comfort food such as boozy brownie pudding and mustard- and honey-glazed kielbasa. And there's no doubt that Garten receives some of her elegant inspiration from the vibrant French capital of Paris, where, in 2007, she purchased an apartment (via Fodors). Garten told Fodors that her pied-à-terre is located on the border of the city's 6th and 7th arrondissements, or municipal districts, and that some landmarks of Parisian cuisine — including the storied bread bakery Poilâne — are located within walking distance. Another food titan situated within a stone's throw of Garten's home is La Grande Épicerie.

Garten says this enormous food hall is one of the world's best

Although "Barefoot Contessa" Ina Garten has maintained a home in Paris, France, since 2007 (via Fodors), the pandemic put a temporary hold on her time in the city. But in May 2022, the cooking show host and cookbook author was finally able to make it back to one of her favorite places, as she announced in an Instagram post featuring a photo of her beloved husband, Jeffrey. "OMG back in Paris after 2 1/2 years in a rabbit hole!" Garten wrote. "It's so good to be here and everyone is so happy!"

Throughout her time in Paris, Garten shared images from her and Jeffrey's outings, much to the delight of Instagram. And in one post dated May 14, the Contessa provided a pic of some luxe fruit tarts she had snapped in La Grande Épicerie, a 2,900-square-meter gourmet food emporium featuring stunning displays of French breads, desserts, wines, cheeses, cured meats, and many other items. As you might guess, Garten is a fan. "@lagrandeepicerie is the best specialty food store in the world!" she captioned the image. "It's a full city block in the 7th and it has every imaginable wine and food you could want. And it's my local 'grocery store!' Tomato tarts for lunch!" Save us one, s'il vout plais, Ina?