05 Jul

[Spain] In Nyack, serrano ham and Basque olives

By Deven Black & Jill Rovitzy Black,

La Boqueria in Spain is a bustling open-air marketplace where shoppers can find cheese, fish, meats and other delicacies.

La Boqueria in Nyack feels like an open-air marketplace where shoppers can find cheese, fish, meats and other delicacies.

“We have a roof and walls, but with this open feel I’m trying to create the feel of Spain’s La Boqueria here in Nyack,” says Ned Visser, the owner.

Visser renovated a former garage to open the gourmet shop, the first of its kind in the area to focus on Spanish and Latino products. And for culinary inspiration, he’s looking not only to Spain but to the wider Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world.

“Around here, every supermarket has a section of Goya products, but you never see the wide range of Spanish and Hispanic products in one place,” he says. “That’s what you will see here.”

On the metal shelves and behind the refrigerator cases, you’ll also see fresh bread, partially baked in Spain, then frozen and sent to be finished in La Boqueria’s ovens. You’ll see olive oils from Spain and Greece, and a variety of olives, including black Basque and a mixed blend of olives and baby corn marinated in Mexican pepper sauce. There are several types of anchovies, including the white, vinegar-marinated boquerones. And there are cheeses from Spain and beyond.

The cafe offers seafood salads, bocadillos (thin, Spanish sandwiches) and other sandwiches, with ingredients like serrano ham. You can buy anything in the shop and take it to the tables in front of the big glass windows, or to the coffee bar.

“As time goes on, we’ll add paella, soups, stews, roasted chickens and other kinds of roasts,” says Visser. “If there’s something people want, we’ll try to get it or make it for them.”

That’s the way Visser, a founding partner of Gourmet Garage 25 years ago, sees La Boqueria — as a work in progress.

“We’re opening in a modest way, adding things as we are capable of doing them well,” he says. “Eventually we’ll have fresh meats, but we’re starting with cold cuts and hams. Our chorizo and morcilla (blood pudding) is coming from Jersey City. A lot of what I’d like to have here you can’t find, so I’m going to have it made for me and sell it under a private label. For example, the coffee we’ll sell is specially roasted for me. Some of it is typically Spanish in style, but some is just great South American and Central American coffee.”

Visser is not Hispanic. His interest in Spanish and Hispanic foods, he says, was piqued by Hispanic staff members at Maxwell’s Plum and other Manhattan restaurants where he worked.

He also sees the business as a way to share his enthusiasm and spread the word about Hispanic cuisine. “Spain has a culinary tradition that can compete with that of France, Italy or anywhere else,” he says. “It’s just that people don’t know about it yet, so 90 percent of what we have to do here is education, of our customers but also of our staff, so they can tell you about what we sell.”

One of the deli offerings that Visser points to with pride is the omelette-like tortilla de patate — “just like in Spain,” he says. “I’m trying for authenticity as much as possible, but I won’t shy away from creativity.”

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One Response to “[Spain] In Nyack, serrano ham and Basque olives”

  1. Olives101 Says:

    Concerning this products :
    a mixed blend of olives and baby corn marinated in Mexican pepper sauce

    it look like this one :

    no ? what do you think?

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