The New Covetables At L’Épicuriste

The Bridgehampton boutique gears up for another fabulous season.
Artisan condiments and home goods abound at L’Épicuriste. Photo courtesy of L’Épicuriste

By Ray Rogers

A home cook’s ultimate fantasy, boasting a treasure trove of impossibly chic hostess gifts, L’Épicuriste on Main Street in Bridgehampton awakens the thrill of discovery in even the most casual of browsers. It was proprietor Charlie de Viel Castel’s own curiosity that has guided a nonlinear career path, leading to the gourmet boutique’s creation: The finance professional (currently managing partner at Stelac Advisory Services) has also gone into jewelry design with CVC Stones—beloved by the likes of Kendall Jenner, Sienna Miller and Charlize Theron—and movie production. If there’s a through line, he says, “It’s the innocence of the people who don’t know—I find something I like and where other people just leave it at that, I tend to go further.”

L’Épicuriste proprietor Charlie de Viel Castel. Photo: Ben Fink Shapiro

Certainly, there’s much to be discovered in the beautiful curation of culinary items, tasteful home goods and charming artworks displayed throughout the store. This includes a mix of international items—the perfect mustards and olive oils from his native France, rare Japanese soy sauces and sesame oil—and local finds such as Springs Fireplace hot sauce, Java Nation coffee from Bridgehampton, and floral arrangements courtesy of Hamptons favorite Missi Flowers. L’Épicuriste also makes its own in-house handcrafted delicacies, such as orange peel dipped in Valrhona chocolate, one of many excellent giftables. De Viel Castel favors the soaps and candles from Claus Porto, a Portuguese brand whose red poppy flower soaps, with its “subtle scent, not too flowery or fruity,” he says, make wonderful hostess gifts.

De Viel Castel developed an appreciation for food and the finer things early in life. “I grew up in Paris and I had family in Argentina. I definitely had a lot of cultural appreciation just by living in Paris, but also from traveling. My parents liked cultural trips so we would go on trips to Rome, Madrid, Seville, and we really dug into whatever it was that we were visiting.”

Those formative years have served him well with L’Épicuriste. His refined aesthetic has won the respect of Hamptons artists who are happy to display their pieces in the store: Sydney Albertini, a multidisciplinary artist based in Amagansett whose arresting botanical-themed work hangs behind the front counter, and the Water Mill-based Pamela Bell, whose colorful collages also adorn the shop. “These are local artists that are represented in London and in Paris. These are serious people that have trusted our taste and wanted to be in an environment that’s not a gallery.”

A rotating series of summer residencies keeps the store stocked with fresh finds each season. In prior years the shop has worked with the tastemakers of The Bouwerie and Porta (whose tablescapes included beautifully patterned plates and glass tumblers with dragonfly motifs). This coming season, the new covetables come courtesy of a collaboration with Amanda Brooks, style maven behind the revered cottage-chic Cotswolds shop Cutter Brooks. “She’s going to be bringing all her beautiful gifts and housewares to our store for the residency this summer,” he reports. We can’t wait to see what will be lining the shelves.