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BLOOMINGTON — Twin City shoppers now have access to global tastes from Asia to Europe to Africa and everyplace in between.

World Gourmet Foods opened this month at 120 Krispy Kreme Drive, Suite 2. The shop is located in a new development behind Krispy Kreme and Potbelly Sandwich Works off Veterans Parkway and Washington Street.

The store features more than 400 types of chocolate, 300 cheese varieties, 200 specialty cooking oils, more than 700 medicinal and herbal teas and hundreds of spices, olives, peppers, jams, honeys, juices, breads, butters, ice creams, pastas and sauces, among other food items. The shop also stocks a variety of packaged meats, including kosher meats, duck, elk, venison, goat, rabbit, buffalo, lamb, beef and chicken.

“I would like to call it a food museum,” said co-owner and general manager Hazem Jaber. “We want to educate people, and we want to learn, too. We love to learn recipes from our clients and share those recipes with others.”

Jaber, who moved to America from a small village near Jerusalem, earned an engineering degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but had a taste for entrepreneurship.

He co-owned a World Harvest Foods in Champaign but sold his share to move to Bloomington.

He’s spent 15 years learning about foods from around the globe, including travels to Japan, Syrah, Turkey, China, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Africa, South America, the Middle East, Australia and many other places.

“People who’ve traveled around the globe and tasted unique foods, they like to re-create that experience again and again. We bring that taste to them,” Jaber said.

It’s all available at his 3,000 square-foot grocery. If it’s not, he’ll find it for you.

“Even if no store in town has it, we can order it for you, even if it’s just one piece of specialty meat,” Jaber said. “If we cannot get it, others likely can’t get it either.”

World Market Foods has free tasting parties from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday. It will also have grand opening party on April 1, providing samples of 100 different foods.

Jaber said schools and other organizations could schedule tasting parties for field trips.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.


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