Beach Biz: Island Spice and Wine

  • By Donna Gable Hatch Editor

A vacation on Hatteras Island always delivers great memories, and nothing adds more flavor to a beach vacation than a bit of local shopping.

Case in point: Island Spice and Wine, located at 40246 NC-12 in Avon.

“We opened Island Spice and Wine in 1995 as a wine and gourmet food shop to include a great selection of unusual and difficult to find spices and other cooking essentials,” say Donna Haddock Hashtani, who co-owns the shop with her husband Wayne Hashtani. “I also considered ‘Spice’ to be a play on all things that could contribute to ‘the spice of life’ — a little corny, but that was my thinking.”

The shop carries more than 150 spices and “well over” 1,000 wines.

“We carry wine from all over the world, and preferences vary by season. Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir seem to be summer favorites, but since we also carry a big selection of North Carolina wines, they are very popular, as well.”

Hashtani says opening a business that marries the couple’s knowledge of wine and her love of cooking was a no-brainer.

“I had an interest in wine and cooking and the pairing of the two. I thought that it would be a great idea to work in something that I enjoyed,” she says. “To this day, I still like doing what I do. I love to work with customers to choose a wine accompaniment for their meal. Many of my customers return regularly because of that, even if they only visit once or twice a year.”

In addition to the items featured in the shop’s name, the shelves also are stocked with gourmet foods, specialty coffee and tea.

“We have a large selection of gifts, kitchenware, tableware, table linens, aprons, kitchen towels, bamboo cutting boards and sushi and sake serve ware, and we make custom gift baskets, which many of the rental property owners send to guests. We also ship and are a popular source for holiday gift-giving.”

The couple is working with a local business, Hatteras Saltworks — a Hatteras Island family-operated sea salt, solar oven farm — to host tastings and presentations on the benefits of local sea salt in food preparation.

The shop’s most popular spice is Outer Banks Meat, Poultry and Seafood Seasoning, which is great on everything, including vegetables.

“We originally called it Outer Banks Meat and Poultry seasoning, but new ideas for its use made us change it. When it was used in a local cooking demo on pan-seared scallops, grilled fish and shrimp — and customers came in and told me how they used it on roasted potatoes and vegetables — I knew we had to change the name,” she says. “I ship this spice all of the time, but especially for the holidays; it makes a great stocking stuffer.”

The new trend for 2018 are placemats, coasters and kitchen towels emblazoned with the image of the Hatteras Lighthouse and Hatteras Island NOAA charts.

Shopping local and carrying a piece of Hatteras Island home is part of the beach vacation experience.

Sure, you can look at a photo, read customer reviews and — with a click of a button — make a purchase. But consumers who do so are short-changing themselves, she says.

The ocean breeze, the squawking of the seagulls overhead and sound of flip-flops as you step over the threshold of Island Spice and Wine are all part of THE fun.

“We have a selection that includes good quality and value as well as the collectable and hard to find wines. We will always try to give an honest, well-thought recommendation,” she says. “Our selection of gifts is large and unique, not just souvenirs.”

Haddock Hashtani — who regularly vacationed on the island beginning in 1980, before moving here permanently more than 24 years ago — says he was once a visiting consumer herself, and the items she purchased locally then are treasures that to this day hold a special place in her heart.

“My favorite thing about Hatteras Island is the beauty of the island including the ocean, the beach and the sound,” she says. “It can be exciting, and it can be peaceful. It truly is a beautiful place to live.”

And a great place to shop.