Healdsburg Shopping Hit List

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winetasting.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Healdsburg is the shopping capital of California wine country.  An astonishing number of sophisticated and worldly shops call tiny Healdsburg home, selling all manner of home goods, accessories, clothing, furniture, paper goods, jewelry, and action figures, in addition to the food and wine products one might expect.  Thanks to some excellent city planning, visitors can experience some of Healdsburg's best shopping simply by strolling the main square and surrounding blocks.  Here are some of my favorite places to peruse the wares:
Papitre (www.papitrehealdsburg.com) on Healdsburg Avenue is your go-to for fine stationery and related items.  Beautiful textured papers, colorful journals, and whimsical cards will suck you in far longer than you think.  They also carry the Thymes Bath and Body line of products, presumably to keep your skin hydrated in the presence of all that paper.

clutch.jpgClutch (www.clutchhealdsburg.com) at the southeast corner of the square supplies the goods you need to carry your stuff around.  Whether you like purses, clutches, suitcases, money clips, bi folds, or tri-folds, they have you covered.  The store also carries accessories like gloves and scarves, and the indispensable traveling purse hook in a variety of designs from sleek and bling and back again.

Mr. Moon's is a one stop shopping destination on the east side of the square, with everything from seat belt purses and Yodeling Pickles to birthday cards, baby onesies, and a surprisingly cool jewelry collection. Careful browsing is essential, or you may miss the boxed set of B Horror Movie extras, the mustache combs, and the Pocket Mr. T, fool.

Boisset next door (www.boissettasteofterroir.com) is actually a joint tasting room for the Boisset family's Burgundian and Sonoman wineries, a remarkable place where you can taste some of the world's finest pinot noir and chardonnay side by side, and compare the difference in terroir.  Some excellent sparkling wines from Burgundy (crémants de Bourgogne) are also on hand, along with modern serving necessities like stemware, ice buckets, cheese knives, and sabers.  After 5pm the tasting room shifts into club mode with service by the glass or bottle.

Lulo (www.gallerylulo.com) just a few steps off the square on Center Street carries the creative designs of several local jewelry artists, including award-winning Karen Gilbert, whose sculptural works are a tactile delight emphasizing contrasting textures like oxidized sterling silver, stainless steel, glass, precious stones, and fabrics.  The sleekly modern gallery is a joy to browse.

While you're off the square, check out the contemporary furnishings and decor at 14 Feet (www.14feet.net), just a few storefronts up from Lulo.  Modern sofas, texture-happy rugs, and repurposed industrial equipment rub shoulders with unique coffee table art books (including one dedicated exclusively to grain elevators) and fantastic decorative plates, like the set of 7 Deadly Sins by artist Karen Niandi.

Plaza Gourmet is the kitchenware headquarters for Healdsburg, packing thousands of awesome implements and serving vessels into its narrow shelves on the south side of the plaza.  Whatever random baking tool you think you need, you will find it here, along with table linens, knives, cookbooks, and all the rest.  Don't come here if you're in a hurry, because there is far too much to examine.

bolivo.jpgA few doors down on Matheson Street, Copperfield's Books (www.copperfieldsbooks.com) covers the remainder of the book world, and throws in a celebrity chef café as well.  Before she began competing on the Next Iron Chef this year, Sonoma's own Duskie Estes of Zazu Restaurant & Farm opened casual Bovolo (www.bovolorestaurant.com) at the back of Copperfield's with her husband and salumist John Stewart.  John trained with Mario Batali and creates the couple's Black Pig line of pork products, which are featured in many of the seasonal sandwiches, pizzas, and salads available at Bovolo.  The moderate prices, generous portions, and artisanal local ingredients make this tiny, counter-service spot a must-visit foodie destination.

The modestly named Cheese Shop (www.sharpandnutty.com) is another absolute must for food lovers.  Owner Doralice Handal stocks her shelves with constantly changing edible delights from around the globe.  While the selection of artisanal and unusual cheeses is fantastic (where else will you find an Italian sheep cheese cured in tobacco leaves?), they're just one part of the experience.  On a recent visit I spotted Lollyphile's caffeinated maple bacon lollipops (made with a bacon ingredient that is both vegan and kosher); verjus from the Perigord; a Sonoma Gravenstein apple, raisin, and fig mostarda created by the girl and the fig and Nana Mae's Organics; Italian Saba, a sweet tangy liquid made from fermented grape must; and Ciocc'Olio's unique dark chocolate truffles filled with a white chocolate-olive oil ganache.  Just go.

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