Shopping Around: April's Shopping Finds

Cherry-picked boots for the young set, heirloom chocolate at Claudio Corallo and gourmet food on Phi

Category: Shopping + Fashion Articles

 

 The Goods:  Puddles are no match for your mischievous tyke in these fanciful red and blue cherry print boots from Kent-based Washington Shoe Company. With 100 percent waterproof natural rubber and a nonslip sole, the boots also have a cozy net lining that will help keep little feet dry and warm, even in the nastiest of April showers. $30 at City People's Mercantile (5440 Sand Point Way NE; 206.524.1200) or westernchief.com. 

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Food:
 It’s easy to miss this mom-and-pop shop near the busy intersection of Phinney and 65th. But once inside, you won’t want to leave Shop Agora. The 300-square-foot space is stocked floor to ceiling with intriguing specialty foods from Greece, Italy, France and Spain, chosen by owners Nikos Spiliopoulos and Alexis Saloutos, who do a lot of sampling to uncover flavors to please their customers’ palates. You’ll find premium balsamic vinegar, pasta, wine, chocolate, honey and more, including local and organically grown products, at budget-friendly prices. Since the shop’s quiet opening 15 months ago, it’s become a neighborhood destination. The hospitable husband-and-wife team is acclaimed for their home-brined kalamata and green olives ($6–$8 per pound), authentic Greek feta cheese ($11 per pound), many choices of extra-virgin olive oil and delicious dips from Zoey Catering (hummus, 8 ounces/$4.75) made fresh down the street. Every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. you’ll find casual tastings taking place, often hosted by a visiting food or wine rep.  The Shop Agora, 6417-A Phinney Ave N.; 206.782.5551

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Chocolate: For more than a decade on the tiny island of Principe (off the west coast of Africa), Claudio Corallo, Italian adventurer and expert in tropical agronomy, has nurtured an ancient species of cacao, originally imported from Brazil. Today he uses the heirloom-variety bean to make artisan Claudio Corallo Chocolate, handmade in small batches on Principe’s sister island of São Tomé. Lucky for Northwest connoisseurs, last August, Corallo’s longtime friends and Seattle locals Kent Bakke and James Clark opened their Ballard tasting room (the only one in the United States) to showcase the treasured chocolates. In the classroom-like surroundings, furnished with wood tables, photos and maps, you can learn the history of this chocolate, grown without pesticides and fertilizer, as you sample the offerings: from 100 percent unadulterated bars of cocoa made sans sugar, emulsifiers and other additives like vanilla, to chocolate bars studded with candied orange peel ($12–$13 for 100 grams).  Claudio Corallo Chocolate; 1715 NW Market St.; 206.859.3534

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