Three-and-a-half months ago, Katherine and Victor Perez, a husband-wife duo, opened the doors to their Spanish market, La Mar Salada, which translates to “The Salty Sea.”
The store, at 908 Castle St., was largely founded to bring quality Spanish goods to the Wilmington area after Victor Perez had trouble finding the Spanish goods he grew up with in Spain. Katherine Perez, on the other hand, was born in Mexico and moved to North Carolina with her mom when she was 3.
Currently, La Mar Salada store sells charcuteries, olive oils, canned octopus, squid, sardines, cheeses, supplies to make paella, broth, pre-mixed couscous and risottos and more. Many of their products are sourced from other small businesses and imported from Spain.
“We have some incredible jams from a small, family-owned business in Spain,” Katherine Perez said. “They were immigrants from Italy and ended up raising their family in Spain. They make these amazing jams. We’re building up our small business while at the same time, we always do our best to support other small businesses. I really put a lot of thought into the products that we offer, as well as the places that I’m getting them from. They’re meaningful to me, and I try to tell people that.”
In addition to Spanish cuisine, La Mar Salada offers cooking classes for paella, a classic Spanish dish of rice, saffron, vegetables, chicken and seafood cooked in one pan. The classes, which are offered a handful of times throughout the month, have been a hit since they started offering them, much to the couple’s surprise.
“We thought people would like paella, but we didn’t think people would like the concept of this cooking class,” Katherine Perez said. “We had the vision of opening the store, and the paella was kind of an afterthought.”
Looking into the future, Katherine Perez hopes to expand on the dishes they offer cooking classes for, and slowly introduce people to Spanish cuisine and the Spanish kitchen. Most of the recipes they recreate are passed down from Victor Perez’s mom and grandmother. At the top of their list of cuisines to incorporate into the cooking classes is tapas, largely because of its familiarity and growing popularity.
“I think our big one that we’re going to focus on is tapas because everyone is just so familiar with that buzz,” Katherine Perez said. “People are still finding out about the market, but we definitely want to find ways to have people come in and just keep our clientele growing.”
Cooking classes with La Mar Salada can be booked via email at [email protected]
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