January 8, 2013
Try Kurtz Culinary Creations for luscious sauces and spreads

photo (1).JPGNext time you're strolling along Ocean Avenue in Carmel, pop into Kurtz Culinary Creations, near the corner of Ocean and San Carlos (831-625-5267).

You'll find hundreds of specialty foods, many available for tasting - jams and jellies, spreads and dipping sauces, marinades and dressings, curds and fruit butters.

"We have more items than I've ever counted," said owner Anne Just. "More than half are under the Kurtz brand from our family farm in Canada. The others are from premium companies from around the world. Surprisingly, we've introduced a lot of Californians to their own products."

The best-selling item on both sides of the border is the house-brand Asiago "bread topper," a brightly flavored mix of Asiago cheese, herbs and spices in grapeseed oil ($16.95), made in Ontario.

"It was originally intended to be used in lieu of butter or as a dipping oil, but our customers have told us what it's really for," Just said. "Add it to cooked pasta, spread it over salmon filets before cooking, stuff mushroom caps with it, and use it as a topping on baked potatoes and pizza."

To see the company's lineup of merchandise and to order, go to

As for the company's history, it was Just's Polish-immigrant grandparents on both sides of the family who founded the 50-acre farm in the town of Niagra-on-the-Lake in southern Ontario.

"We were farmers first, and our specialty-food business has its roots in the land," Just said. "Our family history goes back to the roadside farmstand, and that's not a marketing ploy. All the (produce) we grow in Canada goes into our products."

There are three Kurtz Culinary Creations stores in Canada, but only one in the U.S.
"We thought 'Carmel-by-the-Sea' was a fitting-sounding name for a family-run company from Niagra-on-the-Lake, so we decided to open our U.S. store here," she said.

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