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Grocery stores offer hard-to-find flavors

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Caviar, Hungarian hot peppers and jars of rose petal sit on the shelves at Greenwood’s Euro Deli.

People can buy German-style roulade or pork loin wrapped in bacon, as well as liverwurst and dry salamis.

Immigrants and travelers hankering for the popular Milka chocolate brand or Fanta elderberry soda can find the rare imports with ease.

“You’re not going to find what we have in any of the big grocery stores,” said Toby Lorincz, owner of Euro Deli. “These are all European recipes that taste completely different from what we have here.”

A growing number of specialty grocery stores have opened locally to help the more adventurous and exotic shopper. From homemade rotis and Indian sweets to sour cherry syrup to pancetta, people can get flavors from all over the world without leaving Johnson County.

With populations becoming more diverse, local business owners have recognized the need to provide people with the flavors they crave from their own cultures.

Shoppers looking for the specific flour used to make Indian flatbreads have limited options finding it in central Indiana. Called atta, it’s the central ingredient in dishes such as roti, naan and puri.

At Desi Bazar, an Indian grocery in Greenwood, people can get 14 brands of the flour for their home dishes. The store sells basmati and idli varieties of rice, multiple dals or lentils and goat meat. Indian cultural items such as CDs, DVDs and beauty products have become popular, as well.

Johnson County’s Indian population grew from 220 in 2000 to 1,613 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census, and the grocery made business sense, owner Jimmy Singh said.

Taste of Italy

Another Greenwood store, R Italian Market, specializes in authentic products from Italy. Its owners, Lynn and Dave Rodgers, carry imported pasta, sauces and truffle olive oil.

Specialty products such as ladyfingers, mild pepperoncinis and pickled garlic are available to purchase, and a display case carries heat-cured pork sausage mortadella, prosciutto and capicola.

“There’s really nothing like this. There are Asian and Hispanic markets, but there aren’t places that have this stuff,” Dave Rodgers said. “People come in here asking for things they can’t get, and we can get them for them.”

Euro Deli is the most recent exotic grocery to open in Johnson County.

Lorincz and his wife, Carina, founded it in February. They had never run a retail store in the past but saw a need and decided to try it.

Lorincz and a group of friends with Eastern European backgrounds had been traveling twice a month to Chicago to buy specialty chocolates, sausages and other foods from Europe.

“European food tastes a little bit different than what they have in America, and we were looking for those tastes,” he said.

After years of making the two- to three-hour drive so many times, Lorincz suggested opening his own location closer to home.

Nowhere in the Indianapolis area had the products he wanted. He found a location, tracked down distributors that imported the items he wanted and set up his store.

“If you go to Chicago or Detroit, these stores are on every corner because of the bigger European populations,” Lorincz said.

Variety of options

Walking through the store, people can buy Hungarian salami, Gypsy bacon and real hot dogs in their casings. Cheeses such as Bulgarian sheep-milk feta and Greek sheep and goat-milk cheese are popular with customers.

An entire wall is dedicated to beverages such as Fanta, in traditional orange but also in lemon and citrusy elderberry flavors.

Cans of liver pate, spiced with tomato, garlic, paprika, mushroom and other flavors are arranged in tins.

“We have stuff from everywhere, especially Eastern Europe — Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Russia,” he said.

One of his most popular items is arranged in the center of the store. Throughout the week, Lorincz handcrafts Transylvanian chimney cakes. He imported a special oven that rolls the dough and bakes it into hollow towers dusted with sugar.

“These are sold on every corner, every market, they’re very, very popular, like doughnuts here,” Lorincz said.

Local unique groceries

Euro Deli

Where: 640 U.S. 31 South, Greenwood

Owners: Toby and Carina Lorincz

What: A store focusing on authentic Eastern European goods, such as sausages, cheeses and caviar

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Information: 796-9252

R Italian Market

Where: 954 N. State Road 135, Greenwood

Owners: Lynn and Dave Rodgers

What: A specialty market featuring authentic Italian foods, homemade dishes to go and freshly baked desserts.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday

Information: ritalianmarket.com

Desi Baza

Where: 916 E. Main St. No. 118, Greenwood

Owner: Jimmy Singh

What: Indian grocery store carrying goods such as lentils, rice and flour.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Information: desibazargreenwood.com

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