Just when you thought the North Fork couldn’t get any better—it did. Cheese and Spice Market in Wading River is a wonderful new destination. It is located on 25A in the newly built Shoppes at East Wind. If you haven’t been there, it’s worth the trip. There is a gorgeous indoor carousel, beautiful brick walkways and quaint shops. More stores are moving in every day.
Patricia Kaczmarczyk, owner of Cheese and Spice Market (which officially opened on October 7), is no stranger to the food business. She’s been working in restaurants for twenty-five years, spending ten of them working at La Plage in Wading River where she worked as a manager, a bartender, and even in the kitchen.
“I loved working in the kitchen of La Plage,” said Patricia. “After a while, the late hours of working in a restaurant started getting to be too much. I knew Kenny Barra, owner of the Shoppes at East Wind, since childhood. Our families had businesses next door to one another in Rocky Point. When I saw the signs up for the new shops, I knew right away that this was what I was supposed to be doing.”
Patricia set out to create a market. It would be all about the food, and she would carry quality products, many of them right from Long Island.
“People ask me all the time if a product I have is good,” said Patricia. “I tell them I won’t carry a product unless it’s good.”
There is nothing else like her shop in the area. She sells about seventy types of spices, which includes specialty salts, like a wonderful chili lime salt. The spices can be purchased in small amounts, either by a quarter cup, half cup or full cup. Glass spice jars are also available for purchase.
“I wanted to give people a value,” said Patricia. “They can come in here and they don’t have to buy large quantities of spices. They can come in and buy fresh when they need it.”
The teas come in different sizes as well, either by the half cup or full cup. Twenty-five teas are offered. New for the holiday season is Red Christmas and Noel Christmas. Red Christmas is a Rooibos tea which is caffeine free and actually comes from a bush in South Africa. It is blended with rose, cinnamon, apple, orange, almonds and holiday spices. Noel Christmas is a black tea which features almonds, apple, orange peel, cinnamon and rose petals. Both are great as a detox from the madness of holiday shopping.
Patricia gets the spices and the teas from direct importers, so there is no middle man. They are as fresh as they can be.
As for the cheeses, there are at least seventy-five to choose from and they range from cow, goat and sheep cheeses, hard, soft and semi-soft. Cheese and Spice Market also carries various meats such as bresaola, serrano ham, hot capocollo and more. Patricia loves pairing wine and cheese and is always eager to help her customers. She listens to what people want, and if she can get it, she will. One of her most popular cheeses at the moment is a goat Gouda, a hard cheese, from Cypress Groves in California. She also sells Vermont cheddar from Jasper Hills, and new for December is a magnificent Rouzaire, a creamy truffle brie from France made from cow’s milk. The Brillant-Savarin with truffles is equally as delicious, with flavors of butter, salt, cream and hints of mushrooms and truffles. The Vacherin Fribourgeois AOC is an artisal semi-soft swiss cheese with a strong grassy aroma, buttery texture and nutty flavor. It melts easily if used for fondue – another holiday favorite.
On the local level, Patricia loves the fresh chèvre made from Goodale Farms in Riverhead. Every week they make a three pound log for her store, so it’s super fresh.
Other local products include a variety of Long Island salts, organic coffee from Tend Coffee in Shirley, fig and fennel chocolate and espresso chocolate from Chokola’j, Copia Granola and Pecks of Maine which are jams made right on Long Island.
Items such as crackers, cheese knives, fondue pots, cheese boards and plates are also available for purchase, as are some unique items like a “make your own” vanilla kit, and hand crafted goat caramels from Vermont.
Cheese and Spice Market is open seven days. Monday – Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.