Steps away from gourmet in downtown Vineyard Haven

LeRoux Gourmet carries a mix of local and non-local products at the store. — Photo by Kaylea Moore

I always keep a bottle of LeRoux’s 18-year-old balsamic in my pantry. It makes a perfect salad dressing, paired with olive oil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Earlier this summer I ran out, and had yet to restock until a couple of day ago. I heard that LeRoux opened a second store across the street focused on food, called LeRoux Gourmet, but with my busy summer schedule, I hadn’t had a chance to check it out. When I finally made it there, I was glad I did, it is my kind of playground.

Even if you are not in the shopping mood, it’s a fun store to meander through. There is a section devoted to popcorn, with kernels ranging in hues of white to red to black. The BBQ shelf features a myriad of rubs, sauces, and marinades, and it’s neighbors with the mustard and pickle shelf. If your recipe calls for an unfamiliar ingredient, check out the extensive spice section where you may just find what you are looking for.

It’s exciting to see so many delicious foods, condiments, and candies all in one place. Right away I saw some of my favorite treats, including Béquet sea salt caramels from Montana and Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies, thin and crispy and great with vanilla ice cream.

Meghan Houghton, who works behind the counter, immediately directed me towards the local products. She showed me the teas and coffees from Chilmark Coffee Company, Honey from Martha’s Vineyard Honey Co., and preserved lemons and rubs from Kitchen Porch Catering including dukkah, an Egyptian nut and spice blend and za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend.

Around the store, I discovered an array of salts ranging in color, flavor, and texture, providing a trip around the world. Salts varied from Bolivian Rose Andes Mountain Salt and Cyprus black lava salt to Hawaiian red sea salt and Himalayan pink salt. If you want to savor the flavor of the Vineyard, make sure to pick up some Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt.

Vineyard chocolates are prominently displayed next to craft bars such as Wild Ophelia’s smokehouse BBQ potato chip bar and peanut butter and banana bar. Anne Bennett of Vineyard Sweets M.V. offers an assortment of confections such as dark chocolate caramels, coconut crunch, peanut butter creams, and chocolate sea shapes. A sampling of treats from Enchanted Chocolates of Oak Bluffs includes chocolate covered pretzels, almonds, cranberries, espresso beans, and chocolate bars. Superfood trail mix, superfood energy balls and chocolate sauce from Not Your Sugar Mamas and candy bars from State Road Restaurant round out the local offerings.

Whimsically decorated chocolates and truffles are exhibited in a glass case at the front of the store. Black Dinah truffles from the small island of Isle Au Haut in Maine feature bright stenciled designs. Check out the clownfish and honey bee truffles from Moonstruck Chocolates of Portland, Oregon, or try one of the Needhams, a combination of coconut, potato, and powdered sugar dipped in dark chocolate from Monica Chocolates of Lubec, Maine.

The upper level of the store features an olive oil and vinegar tasting room. Vats of balsamic vinegars and olive oils can be sampled before being purchased. Balsamic flavors vary from fig, tangerine, and pomegranate, to cranberry, pear, and dark chocolate, as well as the favorite 18-year-old. For a different twist, try the coconut or honey ginger white balsamic. Olive oils are light to full bodied with flavor profiles ranging from grassy to buttery and include flavors such as mushroom, sage, and Persian Lime.

Each shelf and corner has a different product or theme. One shelf is strictly devoted to cocktail mixers and garnishes. From bloody Mary mix and simple syrups to bourbon flavored cherries, olives, and rim dippers, make sure to stop by before your next cocktail party to pick up some accessories for your drinks. And while you are there, pick up a dip, spread, salsa, or tapenade and crackers or chips for a quick party snack.

A variety of starter kits make for fun fall activities. Try your hand at making your own beer, pickles, or sushi. Stop by LeRoux at Home for imaginative baking pans, molds, and cookie cutters, then venture next door to LeRoux Gourmet for all of your cookie decorating needs. Choose from a full spectrum of colored decorating sugars, sprinkles, and candy decorations or try out a new flavored extract and stock up on vanilla beans. Fashion a quick dinner from dried pasta and San Marzano tomatoes or get cozy with one of the many dried soup mixes. If you have special dietary needs, make sure to check out the gluten-free section.

LeRoux Gourmet is located at 13 Main St. in Vineyard Haven. Hours are Monday-Saturday 9 am to 7 pm and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm. For more information, call 508-338-2347.