Cape Cod has plenty of souvenir shops selling T-shirts and tchotchkes, but shoppers looking for high-end goods can find them if they know where to look.
Care to bite into a $4 chocolate truffle with exotic ingredients from around the world? You’ll find these sweet morsels in an unassuming little shop off Route 6A in Brewster.
How about hitting the beach in a $115 T-shirt, hand-printed and dyed? Head to Falmouth’s Main Street to find what some consider a “must-have” item.
Three of these shops have been around for decades. The two newer ones are just waiting to be discovered.
Home of the $115 T-shirt
Quality is the very thing that started Dan Maxwell on the journey that led him to open Maxwell & Co., in Falmouth.
When he started his business 30 years ago, Maxwell was inspired by a quandary he faced as a college student in search of summer clothing. “I literally could not find a pair of good cotton shorts and I couldn’t believe it,” he recalled.
Over the years Maxwell’s inventory got more and more high-end. “We got pushed by our clients to get better and better,” he said. Now he specializes in clothing for women and men with much of it imported from Italy. “We’re a store that’s not afraid to carry the highest end items,” he said.
Maxwell listed what he looks for when choosing clothes: “The best design. Unusual and hard to find. And it always has to be made well.”
The $115 T-shirts are made by Ann McGuire, a textile artist, who hand-paints them in her studio in rural Pennsylvania. Maxwell worked with her in developing the shirts, which are exclusive to his store.
The patterns resemble antique wallpaper with a touch of new-age yoga thrown in. They are artfully dyed so the color modulates to an attractive faded tone, as if they’ve been worn forever. They are one-of-a-kind. And they sell out.
200 Main St., 508-540-8752, www.maxwellandco.com
Pulling hot mozzarella
Kathleen Kadlik sells her handmade mozzarella, burrata, and pasta at farmers markets on the Cape. When people ask why the products are so expensive, she and her staff explain that they are handcrafted in her shop, Fromage à Trois in West Barnstable.
Customers buy once and often become regulars.
As Kadlik twisted, pulled, and braided a ball of hot mozzarella in her shop’s kitchen on a recent afternoon, she explained the allure of handmade pasta. “For people who can tell the difference, that’s what they want,” she said.
Kadlik’s most popular items are her hand-made ravioli, but many people come in for her hand-pulled cheeses. Besides mozzarella, she sells burrata, which is mozzarella on the outside with a creamy center that she infuses with delicacies like Gorgonzola, fig and almond, or white truffle oil.
The six-ounce bags of burrata cost $9-$10, with the higher price having the white truffle oil. A similar-size bag of mozzarella goes for $6. The handmade egg noodle pasta sells for $7- $8 for a half pound, and the much-sought-after hand-stuffed ravioli sells for $16-$18 for 24 pieces.
2455 Meetinghouse Way (Route 149), 508-362-7121, www.fromageatroiscapecod.com
Waves and diamonds
Ross Coppelman has been crafting jewelry on Cape Cod for 40 years, and his shop, set on a high bluff on Route 6A in East Dennis surrounded by colorful flower gardens, has become the go-to place for special occasion gifts.
If the prices do not deter, those looking for quality need look no further. “Tourists come in impulsively and buy,” he said.
Coppelman’s most popular items are his ocean wave images, which can go on pendants, bracelets, rings, and earrings. They come in silver for about $80 to $400; silver plus high-karat gold for $250; and up to $3,000 for one with silver, gold, and, as Coppelman put it, “lots of diamonds.”
There are the pricier items, like the glittering necklace he was working on: Argentium silver, a new alloy that is purer than sterling and doesn’t tarnish, plus 22-karat gold with platinum and pearls for $3,900. An eye-catcher for sure.
1439 Route 6A, 877-621-7900, www.rosscoppelman.com
Indulging in the $4 truffle
More than just a bonbon, the chocolate truffles made by chef Paul Lively in his small shop, Chef Paul’s Truffles, off Route 6A in Brewster seem to transport the taster to another time and place. Fortunately, Lively is always on hand to discuss his decadent chocolates.
The experience begins with the shop itself with its antique appliances painted bright colors and found objects artfully displayed. Lively’s grandmother’s rolling pins have been repurposed as the handles on his copper-coated refrigerator.
The truffles are displayed in large jelly jars. While Lively keeps his truffle-making techniques a secret, he uses fair trade chocolate and infuses it with often exotic ingredients.
Each chocolate truffle type has a name inspired by one of the chef’s passions in life and a story that uses humor to highlight the unusual ingredients.
For instance, there’s the Marley (a.k.a. Bob), described as “a bittersweet grove of Jamaican rum infused with dark chocolate and legendary Trenchtown pineapple, 400 years of toasted coconut and baked hemp seeds.”
A box of eight costs $32. 2628 Main St. (Route 6A), 774-263-2751, www.chefpaulstruffles.com
Housed in a modest shack that is the former box office for the Provincetown Playhouse, the 34-year-old Julie Heller Gallery is located down an alley off Commercial Street, on the sand just steps from the lapping harbor waves.
Inside paintings are stacked on the floor, leaning 10 or 20 deep against the shop’s crooked walls. But don’t let the display fool you. These are the real deal. Look closely to find a Robert Motherwell leaning in a corner or perhaps a Milton Avery behind some newer works, originals all.
A colorful Karl Knaths blocky abstract catches the eye. The price? “$60,000 with wiggle room,” Heller said. For those in the know, it’s a bargain.
2 Gosnold St., 508-487-2169, www.juliehellergallery.com