SPARTA-Along with the expanding population in Sparta, food options in the town are also multiplying. As a sign of the changing palates in Sparta, a new gourmet food store opened its doors on Sunday, Sept. 3, in Lake Mohawk. Lake Mohawk Gourmet Foods, which is located at 29 West Shore Trail, offers hard-to-find top quality cooking ingredients as well as entrees for the palate-discerning connoisseur. Among the store’s specialties are: Greek orzo salads with feta or Grandpa Clayton’s Coleslaw made with cabbage and apples. All dishes are made on premises and customers can enjoy them in the store’s dinning area or as takeout. In addition, the eclectic gourmet menu provides a vegan’s dream come true with specialties such as the “Ooh la la,” a dish of grilled veggies and brie on baguette. “I’m sick of the ordinary places. Growing up in Essex County, I got used to gourmet foods I just can’t get around here. I think this shop is very much needed in this town,” said Nancy Parker, a Sparta resident who was shopping at the store recently. The store is the brainchild of Sharon and Joe Albergo, who are venturing into the retail business for the first time. Sharon, who said has always loved cooking gourmet foods, explained that her store is a place for those who love to cook and to eat. Lake Mohawk Gourmet Foods customers are welcomed with the aroma of fresh baked goods and other savory smells draw the customer to explore the possibilities the shop offers. Mini loaves, homemade muffins, cookies and brick oven breads are offered daily. Fresh produce and prime meat, including fillets, NY strip steaks, pork, chicken, Italian sausages and organic and Italian cold cuts are also available. Hard-to-find Italian specialties, such as truffle salt, crema di noci (walnut pesto) and aged (12-15 years) balsamic vinegars and Scandinavian fruit spreads, are displayed on silver wire cases, a wrought iron tea cart and other rustic furniture pieces. The black chalk board on a brick wall behind the counter displays the day’s specials. The customer will find variations of wraps and gourmet sandwiches offered, such as fruited chicken salad made with grapes, mandarin oranges and pineapple on an asiago ciabatta roll and hummus, cucumber, romaine on a whole wheat wrap. Homemade flavored iced teas and bottled beverages are available to compliment any lunch. To make any lunch a compete experience, French doors open to the whimsical roof-covered deck which entices customers to enjoy their gourmet meal in the outdoors. The cathedral ceiling, wide planked wood flooring, ornate Victorian railing, and ceiling fans all add to the ambiance as do the wrought iron and wicker furniture. The tables are topped with lemon verbena whose smell is enhanced with the cool breeze that blows over from Lake Mohawk. The location provides a magnificent view of the lake and the boardwalk. Lake Mohawk Gourmet Foods, which is open seven days a week, boasts 32 different kinds of cheeses, with six different fruit spreads that Sharon recommends should be paired with cheese. The store also offers Greek yogurt, high quality olive oil and vinegars and gourmet chocolate. “This place is great. Finally! I’m thrilled to have a place like this because we love to cook, love specialty items. I also enjoy the flexibility this shop provides, to pick up wonderful food after a busy work day. It softens out the hustle and bustle of my day,” said Charlie Wortmann, while rummaging though the store’s selection. To place an phone order call Lake Mohawk Gourmet Foods at 973-729-0211. For additional information, visit the store’s Web site at www.lakemohawkgourmetfoods.com.