NEW YORK — Chelsea Market Baskets was named one of the most innovative specialty food retailers in the U.S. The retailer and five others were honored here Monday for their dedication to high-quality, innovative, artisan specialty foods and beverages at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s annual Summer Fancy Food Show this week. The other Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers of 2008 are DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, Seattle; Joe Leone’s, Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.; Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market & Catering, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop, Minneapolis; and The Pasta Shop, Oakland, Calif. NASFT asked its 2,800 supplier members to name retailers whom they admired. Those with the most nominations were asked to submit entries, which included photographs, store facts, articles, menus and letters from customers. A panel of former Outstanding Specialty Food Retailer winners, manufacturers, distributors and a journalist selected the winners based on their customer service and selection of products not found in mainstream grocery stores, among other factors. Chelsea Market Baskets was one of the first retailers in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market when it opened in 1997. The store features English-inspired gift baskets, along with artisanal cheeses, chocolates and seasonal items. It also has a partnership with the Food Network to sell select products featured on the network on its chelseamarketbaskets.com website. Also Monday, NASFT recognized more than 30 specialty foods as gold winners of its “sofi” award. The winners included dark cherries in merlot syrup; blueberry acai gummy pandas; strawberry zinfandel balsamic glaze; and balsamic fig dressing.
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