Friends have long encouraged Ulrike Massey to open a restaurant, but she thinks that sounds like too much work.
Instead, the Oakwood resident and and her husband, David, launched Spice Paradise at 8 Brown Street in Dayton’s Oregon District.
“She’s just a natural-born talent,” David Massey said of his wife of 30 years come Oct. 25. “It’s not cultivated; it is not learned. It is instinct. It is the real aptitude for cuisine. Because of her travels, she has inculcated so many different tastes, so many types of cuisines that it defies any categorization. Everything you see in the store is a reflection of that variety.”
Ulrike has traveled extensively through Europe and the United States. She studied cooking in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and at the Blair House Inn cooking school in Austin, Texas.
Ulrike Massey’s spice, cheese and speciality food store — one of the newest pop-up shops from the Activated Spaces storefront downtown occupancy initiative — celebrated its grand opening last month.
The shop sells a variety of international cheeses, King Arthur Flour, German and Indian traditional packaged food, and an assortment of items from New Mexico as well as fresh local yogurt and butter.
It is the spices that will capture most imaginations. They are unlike most things you find in your local supermarket.
Many are hand-blended by Ulrike. There’s zaatar from the Middle East, New Zealand fine sea salt and tellicherry peppercorns, the ‘King of Spices,” to name a few.
“I wanted to go with things you could actually do more flavor with than salt and pepper,” Massey said. “Everybody wants something fresh. They want new ideas.”
Massey plans to hold cooking classes in the coming weeks as she longs to introduce new spices to area residents.
Massey and her husband are happy with the decision not to open a restaurant.
“This is my thing,” Massey said. “I don’t have to depend on anyone, except the two of us.”
Contact this columnist at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth