STASH OF WORLD SPECIALITIES

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The first time, I went along reluctantly – perhaps I even threw something that was kind of like a tantrum. I sat in the back seat, sighing the whole way, wondering why my friends were dragging me to yet another import store. I didn't need any cheap rugs, handmade baskets or scented candles, I silently screamed.

We finally pulled up to a shopping center and parked and walked across the lot, and I noticed a Michael's craft store and a Ross Dress for Less and braced myself for Pier One, the sequel. Sure enough, the smell of wicker greeted us at the door. My friends scattered to the various housewares and furniture aisles, leaving me to take stock; I decided to take one quick stroll around the store. A moment later, I found myself in the back of World Market, excited as a child in Toys "R" Us in December. What had changed my outlook? Aisles (and aisles) of specialty foods, of course.

First, I came face to face with a row of colorful candy, but that alone wasn't enough to woo me. What really made me giddy was a very particular kind of candy, one that has become a family tradition – Coffee Crisp. My relatives carry cases of this chocolate-covered wafer filled with coffee cream back from each journey to Canada. I would be disowned if I even went close to Niagara Falls and came back empty-handed. And here I was, in front of a shelf full of boxes of Coffee Crisps, and I wouldn't have to hide them from a customs officer after I bought them.

I was thinking up other hard-to-find specialties, and I raced up and down the aisles trying to find them – amaretti cookies? Check. Mango chutney? Check. French lemonade? Pull out the glasses.

For those looking to stock their pantries with out-of-the-ordinary condiments and sauces, as well as snacks, cookies, spices and beverages, World Market is an absolute must.

When I finally met up with my friends in the checkout line, they were holding beach mats and cards, wind chimes and glassware. Their baskets were full, but mine was overflowing.

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