7 Underrated Groceries I Always Buy at Giant, According to a Food Writer

This beloved regional grocery chain serves up specialties that include yogurt-dill dressing and the best rye bread around.

7 underrated groceries i always buy at giant, according to a food writer

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Reviewed by Dietitian Annie Nguyen, M.A., RD

One of the first things I do, when I travel to a country that’s new to me, is walk the aisles of a local grocery store. Naturally, when I moved to Northern Virginia, sight unseen, I did the same thing. And it did feel like a foreign land, due in large part to the fact that it was May 2020.

I had transplanted myself for a job as the restaurant critic at Northern Virginia Magazine, but due to the grip COVID-19 still had on the world, restaurants hadn’t reopened yet. Most of my eating, by default, was done from what I could buy at the Giant across the street from my apartment in Herndon.

The first Giant store opened in 1936 in Washington, D.C. The chain, which was started by a rabbi, Nehemiah Myer “N.M.” Cohen, and his business partner, currently has 165 stores. (Note: There’s another supermarket chain called Giant that started in Pennsylvania—both are owned by parent corporation Ahold Delhaize.)

What I quickly learned about Giant during my days of shopping there, was that its offerings fall somewhere between Walmart and Whole Foods in both price and relative luxury of ingredients. It’s my go-to for higher-end meats and produce without breaking the bank at a gourmet market. These are my favorite items.

1. Golden Berries

My mother was an eclectic gardener when I was a kid, and I’m wild for this husk-covered fruit also known as ground cherries or Cape Gooseberries. Wrapped in a papery husk, they may look like mini tomatillos, but golden berries are far sweeter—somewhere between a ripe cherry tomato and a pineapple. They are at their peak in early summer to late fall, but you can find them year-round. They’re $3.99 at Giant, one of the few places where I can reliably find them to toss into salads or eat on their own with a cup of tea.

2. Cava Yogurt Dill Dressing

Another new addition to my world when I moved to Virginia was Mediterranean-style fast-casual chain Cava. My favorite dressing option at the lunchtime staple is this 35-calorie-per-serving stunner that’s packed with dill and lemon. At $5.49 a bottle, it’s way more economical than buying a harissa chicken bowl every day.

3. D’Artagnan Ground Venison and Duck Confit

I’m an easy mark for uncommon meat, which makes me a huge fan of the D’Artagnan brand. For $8.99, I love to make a leaner, meaner Bolognese sauce using ground venison. But when I can find it at Giant, my favorite is the prepared confit duck legs, a necessary extravagance that I prefer not to put in the effort to make from scratch myself.

4. Galbani Mozzarella

My husband and I have made it our hobby to craft long-fermented pizza in our outdoor oven. The whole-milk mozzarella from this Italian-founded cheese company melts with the smoothest, creamiest stretch that we’ve found. At $5.99 per brick, it’s not cheap, but it’s well worth it. We also buy our Hormel Cup N’ Crisp pepperoni here.

5. Yolélé Fonio

I used to purchase teff, the grain used to make the Ethiopian bread, injera, in bulk. At Giant, though, I’ve recently gotten into the habit of buying a similarly tiny ancient grain that hails instead from West Africa. I use half the $5.49 package at a time, much the same way I cook quinoa, enhancing the nutty grain with spices to give it a little extra personality. Or you could try Beet & Fonio Salad with Spicy Pickled Carrots.

6. Jewish Rye Bread

I’ve started adding a bit of bread to my mostly high-protein diet. And given the history of Giant, I can think of few better places in my region to buy rye bread. The yielding $5.49 loaves are speckled with caraway seeds, just like I crave for them to be. A slice blends perfectly with grainy mustard and a layer or two of turkey and arugula.

7. Bon Dévil Chocolate Ganache

I love chocolate desserts, and few are more intensely mouth-coating than these. The $4.89 four-packs are in the refrigerated “health food” section. At 130 calories per cup, they’re a pure, satisfying indulgence.

Bottom Line

I still buy most international foods at specialty markets and prefer Walmart for bargain basics, but when I’m looking for high-quality goods that I often can’t find elsewhere in my neighborhood, Giant looms large. I learned to love Giant’s self-checkout at the height of the pandemic, but the chain takes convenience a step further with devices at the door that shoppers can use to scan items as they traverse the aisles. Another of my favorite aspects of shopping at Giant is the fact that new items are labeled, as well as products from women-, LGBT-, and Black- and Asian-owned businesses. It almost makes me feel like I’m getting my groceries at a neighborhood store where I know the purveyors.

Read the original article on Eating Well.

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