There’s no shortage of imported Italian specialty groceries on Long Island, so it took a bit of faccia tosta (Italian for chutzpah) for Mark Healy and Tony Bosco to open Martoni Gourmet Emporium in June.
The shelves of the opulently appointed shop are lined with extra-virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, oil-preserved vegetables and wood-roasted coffee, but you will find none of the common import brands — Lucini, Cento, Illy — that you see in the scores of pork stores and gourmet delis that cover the Island as thickly as sesame seeds on a semolina loaf.
“Our merchandise is our differentiating factor,” said Healy, a former finance guy with a love of Italian gastronomy. The store’s secret weapon is Bosco, an ex-restaurateur who travels frequently to his native Italy to source unusual products. Martoni (Mark + Tony) acts as its own importer and, in that capacity, also sells to restaurants, specialty retailers and, via martonigifts.com, direct to mail-order customers.
Bosco was born in Acri Cosenza in Calabria, very close to where Martoni’s olive oil is produced. Sizes range from .25-liter bottles ($12) to 1-liter bottles ($29.50) to 5-liter tins ($80). From 600 miles north come Martoni’s balsamic vinegars, produced near Modena by Acetaia Sereni. Martoni sells a variety of grades of this elixir, ranging from a good, mellow vinegar ($9.99 for 250 mL) to “Extravecchio” (25-year “extra-old,” $175 for 100 mL.) The partners are anxious for their customers to understand the subtleties of the products on offer: tastings and tutelage are part of the experience here.
You’ll also find artisanal pasta, wood-roasted coffee beans, tomato puree, hot pepper spread, breadsticks and porcini mushrooms either dried, preserved in oil or made into a cream — and some lovely decorative porcelain for good measure.
Martoni Gourmet Emporium, 30 Gerard St., Huntington, 631-923-1772, martonigifts.com