Day 45: Hungry? How about a Hungarian market?!

I’ve driven past a particular “specialty market” about a million times, but I had never ventured inside the store.   So, in the spirit of my 365 day challenge, I knew I couldn’t just drive past again.  I was expecting fancy condiments, different bottles of beer, maybe even unique deli items.  I was not expecting the plethora of European treasures.

In all honesty, I had no idea Bende’s Specialty Market was a Hungarian market until I went on their website. Each aisle almost seemed liked a different nationality.

Of course, the first row I hit had the real German gummy bears- why they have to substitute ingredients in the ones typically sold in the US I’ll never know.

The rest of the aisles seemed to cover French, Italian, Czech, English, Swedish, and what I’m assuming was Hungarian (Budapest is high on my “must visit” list).

The deli counter was full of every sausage imaginable. Apparently the Bende family owned their first grocery store in 1935 in Hungary. The family immigrated to the States in 1956 and carried on the tradition of creating crowd-pleasing smoked meats. They have their own meat processing plant in Vernon Hills, and the retail store in Glen Ellyn.

I’ll have to bring a sampling partner next time, since I’m not a huge fan of sausage. If you are, though, go hungry because there are dozens to try.

Although I know zilch about wine, I will definitely go back to Bende’s to pick one up for a hostess gift. I figure I can get away with my wine ignorance because the European bottles are beautiful! So, I’ll get the wine to display the bottle, and pick up a few bottles of my favorite Czech beers to actually drink.

The only downside…the store was empty when I was there. Granted, the weather was awful, and it was early, but No One spoke to me. I hate that. While I appreciate not being followed & hounded with questions, a bit of Sam’s enthusiasm (from Freedom’s Market, remember?!) probably would have helped add a few more items to my basket.

I love that people are now telling me about their small business, or a great one that they’ve found. Trying something totally unique this weekend! What are your favorites I should try?

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