A platter for all palates
Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer
‘Tis the season to party, and every party needs a platter.
At Inwood Gourmet, your party and gastronomic needs are taken care of, thanks to owner Lauren Skoulatos-García, who has stocked up on barrels of cheese, olives, and pita bread, among many delights to entice the palate.
Inwood Gourmet has been at Cooper Street for less than a month, but it already has a loyal following.
Ruby Rubenstein sometimes comes in twice in the same day.
“This is a beautiful place,” she said. “We’re lucky to have it.”
Rubenstein has a deep appreciation for the cheese selection in particular, which features many local varieties, including raw, unpasteurized cheeses from Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie, New York. She recommended Batch 35, a savory cow’s cheese with a golden hue.
One would best take her word for it; Rubenstein works at the Inwood Farmer’s Market and attended the Culinary Institute of America.
Rubenstein used to be at a loss if she had an immediate craving for gourmet cheese.
“Until this place, I had to go out of the neighborhood.”
The extensive cheese and olive selection correspond with one of the store’s predominant cuisines: Mediterranean food. Skoulatos-García’s father is an immigrant from Greece, and she enjoys passing along knowledge – and treats – from her heritage.
A typical Greek holiday platter might include mini spinach pies; taramasalata (carp roe); tzatziki (a yogurt spread); dolma (stuffed grape leaves); and any number of olives.
And while kalamata olives are the most popular, there are six different varieties of olives on display at Inwood Gourmet; they shine like onyx and jade in tubs of olive oil.
The Buffalo Wing Feta Cheese Spread.
“There are a lot of vegetarians in the area who eat it because it tastes like the real thing,” said Skoulatos-García.
It would be remiss to not mention Inwood Gourmet’s other motif: keeping it local.
The majority of the store’s cheeses come from the East Coast, including Jersey Girl, a cheese made of raw Jersey cow’s milk, and, of course, Spout Creek Farm.
There are also the very popular beer jellies hailing from Vermont.
“We can’t keep them on the shelves,” said Skoulatos-García.
While olives oils, infused with basil, garlic, or blood orange, and pear-champagne and fig vinegars are sourced from California, the presentation is distinctly Mediterranean.
The oils and vinegars are arranged in a Fusti Bar. Fustis are vessels to store olive oil and vinegar that come with their own taps. Customers are free to sample shots of the merchandise and mix and match in order to customize according to their cravings.
Moreover, patrons can buy the olive oil and vinegar in reusable flip-top bottles, which can be returned to the store for refills, which encourages recycling.
The flip-top bottles are as Greek as they are green.
Skoulatos-Garcia’s father used similar bottles during his childhood in Greece.
“I’m trying to be as green as humanely possible,” said Skoulatos-García.
Keep it green, local and gourmet.
Cheeses can be cut to fit your party or personal needs, and those interested in ordering more than a dozen mini spinach rolls should let Skoulatos-García know a day in advance.
95 Cooper Street
New York, New York 10034