News and Upcoming Events

By Beth Kuchynka & Susan Wenzel 17 Jan, 2018

The name of bayleaf is synonymous with quality because we strive to provide nothing but superior products to our customers. This commitment is evident in everything from our award-winning specialty finds like Le Bon Magot chutneys and Silk Road teas to our discriminating selection of top shelf pantry staples including Ritrovo pastas, Arboreo rice, green and black lentils, and Prairie Bottom Farm Rockwell beans.

We are often asked, then, wouldn’t it be logical to add a rack of select culinary herbs and spices such as turmeric, tarragon, and tellicherry peppercorns to our repertoire?

Herbs and spices – the leaves, seeds, berries, bark, and other oil-rich plants parts – are used to lend desirable flavors, colors, and even health benefits to foods. There are hundreds of varieties of herbs, spices, and blends with near countless applications. Little else in the food world can add such complexity and soul to a dish, so it stands to reason that these seasonings should also be held to nothing but the highest possible standards.                  

However, it takes dedicated, specialized focus to be a purveyor of such a varied and volatile consumable. This is why bayleaf yields to the experts and recommends that you do too. We depend on the masters of mace, mustard seed, and marjoram – World Spice Merchants in Seattle – when sourcing the seasonings we use for our paella catering and baking. The botany, plant chemistry, and culinary arts professionals at World Spice Merchants practice a keen attention to detail by buying directly from the source and inspecting (and tasting!) each shipment to guarantee only the best garam marsala, grains of paradise, ginger, and more end up in your soup.      

Unlike wine, herbs and spices do not get better with age. With these fickle botanicals, fresher is always better. Larger commercial businesses typically make one-time, bulk purchases to provide grocery stores with their coriander, cumin, and cardamom. World Spice Merchants buys small, frequent quantities thus guaranteeing quick stock turnover and optimum freshness. To further safeguard freshness and flavor, these seasoned specialists sell both ground-to-order (within 24 hours of shipping) and whole herbs and spices in suitable quantities – one ounce to one pound – for the home cook and the restaurant chef.  

So, while bayleaf leaves the bay leaf, basil, and bergamot business to the pros, we do offer many tasty recipe necessities including Maldon sea salt, Ritrovo salt b lends, soy sauce, vinegars, honey, olive oil, harissa paste, tomato paste, and more.

Sage advice

 -Buy whole spices and grind as you go (choose a mortar and pestle or an inexpensive coffee grinder)

-Give whole spices a quick nonstick skillet stovetop toast before grinding to further develop the vibrant flavors

-Store spices away from the light, heat, and moisture

-Store ground herbs and spices no longer than six months, and whole variations, roughly one year.

-Buy only from reputable dealers such as World Spice Merchants to ensure your fennel, fenugreek, and five spice is of the highest quality, unadulterated, and legally and sustainably obtained.

Over the busy holidays, bayleaf baker brought staff this delicious, nourishing soup - all of us wanted the recipe - we thought you might too!
It's the perfect example how fresh spices, exotic flavors, and quality ingredients yield a shockingly good dish. Enjoy.

Lentil Soup (best ever)

 2 TBS. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 1 large onion, diced

4 stalks celery, sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

1 large sweet potato (red), large dice

 1-1/2 to 2 TBS. curry powder

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp. fennel pollen

 Heat 2 TBS. EVOO over medium heat, add vegetables and spices and stir for several minutes.


 2 cups French green lentils

14 oz. stewed tomatoes, diced

8 cups vegetable stock

  Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat to simmering, cover with lid and cook lentils until tender (45 minutes to 1 hour), adding extra stock or water as needed to avoid sticking. Check lentils every ten to fifteen minutes and stir.

 When lentils are tender, add:

 1 cup coconut milk (example: Thai Kitchen)

5 heaping TBS. LEBONMAGOT Tomato and White Sultana Chutney

Salt and Pepper to taste

  Stir until combined. Serve to people you care about. 


By Richard 04 Dec, 2017
Before the panic sets in because you've forgotten to make reservations for your holiday party and now everything is booked, consider simplifying your life and hosting the party at your office. ​We can help. ​

Maybe ​you'd like to show recognition for your team. We've got you covered. ​

Or perhaps you're hosting a Christmas/New Year's party for your friends and family at home! Turn a holiday party into an extraordinary event that everyone will remember.

Simplify without sacrificing taste or presentation. bayleaf offers a wide range of cheeses, meats, and, marinated vegetables appropriate for any occasion. We can tailor our signature trays to your taste and budget. We are also happy to assist you in choosing the perfect wines, beers and cold drinks for your party.

​ We are here for you - so YOU can enjoy the holiday season​. Give us a call...
By Beth Kuchynka 19 Nov, 2017

bayleaf loves to harvest the latest and greatest seasonal treats for you, our loyal customers. Often, we find an item that is so darn good, though, that it’s worth a repeat appearance on the shelves. Last year staff and customers alike had such fabulous results from the Urban Accents Turkey Brine & Rub Kit, we brought it back again just in time for all of your holiday turkeys (referring – of course – to the birds, not the relatives).

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, panicked people, in search of the most tender and tasty turkey ever, were snatching up this foolproof, three-step kit before the shipment was even off the pallet - because they know brined is the only way to go.

Brined poultry (and pork) is always best because of osmosis, hypertonic saline solutions, semi-permeable membranes, and some other sciency words. More simply put, brining makes for moist and flavorful meat.

So, what are you waiting for? Get a turkey, get a kit, and get cooking! It’s as easy as 1 (brine the bird with the Spiced Brine Blend in the included leakproof, heavy duty, BPA-free, zip-top bag), 2 (season said bird with the Smoky Peppercorn & Herb Rub), 3 (roast, smoke, or deep fry).

Don’t forget, while you are in, to order some Oystercatcher rolls, pick up some Matiz Gallego Organic Chestnuts for stuffing, antipasto items for the relish tray, and wine…yes, wine…plenty of wine…like the annual favorite Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais nouveau or our latest find, Willamette Valley Teutonic Red Blend (an 80% Gewurztraminer 20% Pinot Noir blend that’s absolutely perfect for turkey) or even a bottle of Champagne, if you dare!

Susan Wenzel wrote this article.  

By Beth Kuchynka 07 Nov, 2017
Neal’s Yard Dairy in London is regarded as one of the world’s best cheese shops, so it’s no surprise that bayleaf, 2017 Best of Whidbey Cheese Shop, would have Neal’s Yard Cheese in stock.

Neal’s Yard Dairy opened its doors in 1979 in an era when cheap and easy, mass-produced, processed, pre-packaged foods were quickly taking over the world markets. Their mission was to preserve the traditional British cheesemaking culture by forming lasting relationships with the best farmhouse cheesemakers from England and Ireland. Their goal was twofold - buy exceptional cheeses for their shop and foster the last few farms still producing cheeses with age-old care and proper methodology.

The cheeses are meticulously selected from forty regional cheesemakers and matured in Neal’s Yard temperature and humidity controlled facility in London, providing a set standard for maturation and preparation as well as for food safety as many of the cheeses are made using raw milk. Buyers from Neal’s Yard regularly visit each of the farms throughout the year to monitor the cheesemaking process and scrutinize each cheese for flavor, texture, color, and overall quality.

Neal’s Yard is as meticulous in deciding who can properly sell the cheeses as they are in the selection and care of each, so we at bayleaf were thrilled to be able to bring these preeminent selections to Whidbey Island. For a limited time, stop by and get a wedge of Appleby’s Cheshire - the traditional cheese used in Welsh Rarebit, Lancashire - the last farmhouse raw-milk Lancashire produced in the world, and Colston Bassett Stilton - one of the last properly made Stiltons anywhere.  

Beth Kuchynka and Susan Wenzel contributed to this article.
By Beth Kuchynka 30 Oct, 2017
It’s the time of year when we are all focused on giving — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also take a few moments to indulge in a bit of self-love. Try attending a wine or champagne tasting!

At wine tastings, you can learn from your fellow tasters, as well as make new friends who share your interest in wine. Most importantly, you can taste wine in the company of some individuals who are more experienced than you, which is a real boon in training your palate.Here is your chance! We have confirmed our events and are ready for you to register - don't wait, as these do sell out! You can register in the store at any time, or here  on our website.

11 November Open House – deals & demos! All day.
See our website for hourly specials - take advantage.

14 November Triple 'B' tasting 5pm
Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello
Only the best being served here - $30non club/ $25 club members read more here.
buy 6+ bottles and we'll waive your tasting fee

25 November Champagne Tasting 4pm*
Our most delicious tasting of the year!
Grower Champagne, caviar, triple creme brie, pate and potato chips, what could be better?
$55 non club / $45 club / $40 bubbles club pricing

2 December Port Tasting 4pm*
$25 non club /$20 club.  Learn the difference between the port styles; taste and take home your holiday bottle and gifts.

9 December Champagne Tasting 4pm*
$55 non club / $45 club / $40 bubbles club pricing

* please note the time change - event begins promptly at 4pm - if you are unable to make it please call us.  We can only offer a refund if we are able to fill your seat.
By Beth Kuchynka 27 Oct, 2017
We'll be offering demos, tastes and specials all day. These hourly specials are not to be missed!

11 - take 25% off all GT French Linens (current stock only)
12 - enjoy special pricing $15/lb HOUSE BRIE 
1 - free bayleaf wine bag with ANY purchase
2 - Fermin Ham $5 off per pound
3 -  take 15% off 6 + bottles of wine (not to include holiday 6-packs)
4 - enjoy special pricing all bayleaf Pasta Sauce - buy 6 - $39 
5- 15% off all books

By Beth Kuchynka 27 Oct, 2017
In terms of Italian wines, when people talk about the big 3 they are talking about the Triple B's:

Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello

Please join us at bayleaf on Tuesday November 14th for a tasting of these wines from three special producers from the Indie Wineries portfolio! These are not shy wines, but big structured wines perfect for the cellar or for the holidays. All of the producers are natural, using native yeast and only adding a small amount of sulfur, and all are on the restrained elegant side of these appellations. We will feature wines from Ferdinando Principiano (Barolo), Paolo Veglia of Roccalini (Barbaresco) and Francesco Mulinari of L'Aietta (Brunello). This should be a special evening!

Take home 6 + bottles (for your cellar or as a fantastic gift) and we'll waive your tasting fee! 

Register in the shop or in our online store, here. 
By Beth Kuchynka 22 Oct, 2017
28 October Saturday 4 pm       Developing your Palate 

We’ll taste through 6 wines; learn the basic building blocks of aromatics/taste/texture. This tasting is for beginners and those wanting to understand more about wine nuances. Please come with an open mind and get ready to step outside your comfort zone!  

$25/ $20 wine club members - 4pm register in the shop or here.
By Beth Kuchynka 04 Oct, 2017

Fall is here, followed soon, by the gray days of winter. One fabulous way to dispatch the seasonal gloom (and the associated sniffles and blues) is by snuggling down with a cozy blanket, a good book, and a quality cup of tea (or red wine).

While it isn’t always practical (or acceptable) to take a blanket, book, or glass of vino to work or out and about on errands, tea is, inarguably, one of the most portable and accessible creature comforts available anywhere.    

In days past, the freshest, small batch teas – like those still found along the ancient trade routes called the Silk Road - were a precious commodity only available in specialty tea shops or to the most affluent connoisseur. Indeed, even today, most teas found on grocery store shelves are mass produced and often a year or more old.

However, one doesn’t have to travel to China or Japan or even head to a large multicultural metropolis (like San Francisco or Vancouver BC) to procure superior leaves. One of the preeminent lines of rare and artisan teas, Silk Road Teas, is available at bayleaf on Whidbey Island – the first location outside Canada to carry the award-winning blends .    

Silk Road Teas found their start in 1992 in Vancouver’s historic China Town and our ever-searching staff found these select brews and brought them home to you.  All varieties are made with premium quality, organic ingredients and contain no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners…and are always fresh.

 (The fresher the tea, the more natural flavor nuances and beneficial antioxidants.)

Come in to bayleaf for all of your snuggle supplies like red wine, (cook)books, and now, superlative teas - perhaps paired with our decedent jams, cookies, or honeys!

 ~ Susan Wenzel

By Beth Kuchynka 27 Sep, 2017

Genepi - Alpine Selections

Named for a wild flower found throughout the region, the Génépi Alpine cheeses represent the best of the Savoie tradition. Working hand in hand with cheesemakers and affineurs, we have sourced authentic, artisan cheeses made with the same traditional techniques that made the region famous. Focusing on raw milk, natural aging, and farmstead cheesemakers throughout the region, each wheel is selected and ripened with a specific flavor profile in mind. We are proud to introduce the authentic flavors and traditions of the Savoie through our Génépi collection of cheeses. Join us as we taste these cheeses and learn about what makes these delicious fall cheeses so special. 

 Seat includes tasting, educational seminar and special pricing on cheeses that evening. Please come early to purchase wine/beer pairing. Register here

Special pricing will be offered at the event, these firm cheeses have a good shelf life - feel free to stock up or buy a friend a treat! 

Cheeses featured

Vacherin Plissè
Vully Rouge
Simme Bleu
Artisan Raclette
Alpage Gruyere

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