Charles de Viel Castel did not ever see himself because the proprietor of a connoisseur meals store. Nevertheless, when the financier-turned-jewelry designer decamped along with his household to the Hamptons amid the pandemic, he was unable to search out sure key, high quality elements that had been extra available within the metropolis.
This realization launched a flurry of planning and buying, which resulted within the opening of L’Épicuriste, a high-end specialty meals retailer catering to cooks, visitors, hosts and everybody in between. On the cabinets, there’s a mixture of native and international merchandise, starting from Moroccan spices to knives from Japan. Oh, and remember the French-imported macarons and chocolate.
Whereas it might appear to be there is a disconnect between the sort of “purchasing” de Viel Castel does to determine merchandise for L’Epicuriste and the purchasing one does at an on a regular basis grocery store, I imagine there are classes to be discovered about higher stocking your private home kitchen.
Salon Meals spoke with de Viel Castel about his massive suggestions for many who need to really feel a bit of extra pleasure and success the subsequent time they open their pantry.
Let’s face it: Cooking evening after evening — even in the event you like to prepare dinner! — could be a little bit of a slog. That is why it is essential to search out methods to imbue the method with little jolts of pleasure. For de Viel Castel, meaning being attentive to the packaging.
“I feel the ‘designer facet’ of me believes that the best way a product seems to be issues, proper?” he says. “It must be scrumptious — that goes with out saying. However after I see stunning Italian artichokes packed in jar of olive oil, all in stunning packaging, that does have which means to me — and it impacts my decision-making.”
So, whether or not you are searching for elements or cookware (like, say, this enamel butter hotter by which I am fully enchanted), do not be afraid to succeed in for one thing just because it is stunning. If it makes you smile within the aisles, it would doubtless do the identical in your house kitchen.
Whereas it might sound counterintuitive, considered one of de Viel Castel’s favourite emotions is definitely when he sees a buyer depart the store with only one ingredient. “It means they had been searching for one thing very particular, and we crammed a necessity,” he says.
Most frequently, that is the case with specialty worldwide specialties — like tinned octopus in marinara or white soy sauce — but it surely’s additionally true for home elements, corresponding to locally-roasted espresso beans or farm-fresh produce.
Do this strategy in your house kitchen. Mix distinctive, globally-inspired finds with great things from native producers, and you will have loads of choices for fast dinner inspiration. Talking of which . . .
Because the Hamptons is an space that has a good quantity of individuals coming and going — whether or not as a result of they’re vacationing or just part-time residents — L’Épicuriste is stocked with a number of choices for connoisseur, pantry-safe meals that come collectively shortly. Certainly one of de Viel Castel’s favorites is a pre-made risotto that’s prepared in 10 minutes, utilizing simply 4 quarts of boiling water.
Preserve an eye fixed out subsequent time you are searching for pre-made dinners that talk to you. Frontier Soup kits, Jain Household Meals basic daal and Momofuku’s spicy soy noodles are all good choices.
Whereas L’Épicuriste will completely add some seasonal gadgets to their cabinets, like pumpkin seeds and apple-based elements, De Viel Castel says they actually specialise in basic staples that may by no means exit of fashion.
“Everybody desires a good pasta, olive oil or a good French mustard,” he says.
Work out what the classics of your kitchen appear like — which can imply canned San Marzanos, miso paste, smoked paprika or soy sauce — and make sure you at all times have good variations of these available.
L’Épicuriste additionally has choices for these with candy tooths, from orange slices dipped in delectable French chocolate to macarons imported from Paris. There’s nothing like opening your individual pantry at house and discovering a small, shelf-stable candy. Preserve a sleeve of tasty shortbread or candied fruit as a deal with for you or any firm who may cease by.
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