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Nuts, chocolate, and an umlaut — what could be better?

Rachel Bissonnette

The enticing, toasty scent of roasting nuts permeates the air in the mornings at Gräem Nuts and Chocolate in Concord. The fragrance wafts out into the street. There are macadamias grown in South Africa, Oregon hazelnuts, Virginia peanuts, almonds imported from Greece, and California pistachios, some dusted with Himalayan sea salt. Belmont resident Nikki Crugnale, 31, recently opened the newly renovated, sunlit store with brick walls, a blond wood floor and wooden ceiling. The space was once a toy store for years. Now a steel drum roaster sits behind a counter roasting nuts sourced from small farms and producers around the globe. Trays are also laden with dried fruits — spears of papaya, white peaches, organic figs, plump Turkish apricots, and raisins on the vine. Chocolates fill another display case; many local or crafted in the United States. Barks and clusters come from Turtle Alley Chocolates in Gloucester and bars from Raaka in Brooklyn. Others are imported, like the thick dark and milk chocolate squares imbedded with fruits and nuts from Laurence Galerie de Chocolat in Greece. Crugnale spent three years working at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, which she says, was her training ground and path to opening her own shop. Before she took the leap, she spent time traveling through Europe visiting food markets, and the shop reflects some of the ideas and aesthetics of places she visited on her trips. “My shop is European-inspired,” she says, which is also the inspiration for its name, the phonetic spelling of gram, the unit of measurement used in Europe. And for the umlaut, “I always wanted an umlaut in a logo,” says Crugnale. There are many gems here and lots of choices for gifts. 49 Main St., Concord, www.graemroasters.com.