Gourmet Foods
Recommended products.
Updated March, 2008 - Joanne

Prunotto Marianglea Jam
Az. Agr. Prunotto Mariangela Jam
This is a jar of amazing cherry jam which I would go out of my way to buy again. I believe I purchased it at the Rockridge Market Hall. Really good. Look for the label (which, btw, is not affilated with the winery).

Ohana Soba NoodlesOhana Organic Buckwheat Soba Noodles
They come in packs of two, ready-to-eat and reheat quickly and well. I like the texture of them much better than the dried kind. They also make a great Udon noodle as well. We purchased them at Whole Foods and now regularly have them around - my 5-yr-old loves them!

Fine Cheese Co's Apple Pickle RelishFine Cheese Co's Apple Pickle Relish
We tried this first with cheeses for the Great Cheese Pairing project, but since then I've fell in love with it for other things, like on sliced pork or with hot popovers. It would be great with cold chicken. Slightly sweet and slightly savory it achieves a wonderful balanced between jam and chutney. Don't miss it. Now if I could just remember where I bought it I could get a 2nd jar!

Attune BarsAttune Live Culture Bars
I've been finding these in the yogurt section of Whole Foods (and ideally they should be refrigerated to protect the active cultures - but they don't have to be). The Chocolate flavors are real chocolate and you'll feel like you are eating a sweet pick-me-up instead of getting your daily acidilophus dose. The bars are small too, so it's a little indulgence. The Blueberry Vanilla is white chocolate. I like the chocolate crisp. Attune also offers yogurt & granola bars but I like the chocolate-based bars better. Warning they will melt in hot weather.

India Tree Natural Non-Pareils
India Tree Nonpareils - Nature's Colors
I've been searching all over for non-PHO sugar decorations and India Tree has stepped up to the plate. They offer a lovely array of pastel colors (all-natural coloring) and brighter orange and yellow as well as Party decoratifs: white string of pearls and white snowflakes. Hurray!
Stephen Singer Olio di Oliva Olive Oil
Olio di Oliva - Stephen Singer Oils
This olive oil has a nice balance of flavor and butteriness. It's not 100% Extra Virgin which gives it more body and more olive-y flavor - which I like in olive oil. (It's 40% EV).
La Panzanella Flatbread
La Panzanella Croccantini Flatbreads
We like the Sesame and Original. As an accompaniment to Cheese or Charcuterie this wonderful crispy flatbread from Seattle, WA is perfect. Now a staple in our house. It's Jack's favorite cracker to pair with cheese.
Heritage Palm Sugar
Heritage Palm Sugars icon
Natural Artisan alternative to Sugar made from Coconut Palm blossoms from Big Tree Farms. "The sweet nectar that bleeds from these flowers is a treasured resource. Kettle boiled over an open hearth fire within an hour of harvest the nectar slowly evaporates into a caramel sugar unlike any other." Works well in recipes as a substitute. Found at igourmet.com.
Princess Natural Maraschino Cherries
Princess Maraschino Cherries (Natural)
In five words:
High Fructose
Corn Syrup.

Alter Eco Organic Ground Cane Sugar
Alter Eco Organic Ground Cane Sugar
I love this company's mission and this sugar is great. I've substituted it in most baking projects where baker's sugar or white sugar is requested with great results. Fair Trade Sugar.
William Poll Baked Potato Thins
William Poll Baked Potato Thins - Original
These are divine with Crème Fraîche and smoked salmon, and a glass of champagne. Imagine a flavorful very thick potato chip - not too greasy or salty. The potato thins also make a perfect platform for appetizers. The sell by date is very important as the oil will go rancid - so buy from a reputable store. William Poll's line of cheese based dips are delicious as well - I've just tried the cucumber.
Dry Soda
Dry Soda Company
I've just discovered this very interesting soda company based in Seattle, WA. The sodas are based I think on phosphates (they contain phosphoric acids) and what you get is a slightly dry not sweet, slightly tart, bubbly drink. The flavors we tried were Rhubarb, Kumquat, Lavender, and Lemongrass (and that is our order of preference). Alone the only really pleasant to drink one is the Rhubarb with the Kumquat as a second choice. Dry Soda makes a great base for a cocktail or try them as mixers (Vodka Tonic variation - use the Lemongrass or Rhubarb instead of tonic). Really fun!
Hickoryworks Shagbark Syrup
Hickoryworks Pure Brown County
Shagbark Hickory Syrupicon

Curious I requested a sample of this syrup which has a definite smokey element to the flavor. It's a sugar based syrup flavored with shagbark hickory. It seems lighter than maple syrup and perhaps less sweet. It was such a hit with both me and the youngster in the house I've since bought two bottles. Yum!
Occaisonal Gourmet's Spices
The Occasional Gourmet - Berber Spice
I've tried a few of their exotic blends like dukah and some of their more mundane products like vanilla sugar and have liked all that I've tried. Their unique packaging keeps small portions of spices on hand and sealed until you need them. Can't wait to try their' Pumpkin Pie' spice packet out.
Blisscotti Very Vanilla Bean
I really wasn't expecting to even like these. When the three of us are fighting over who gets the last bite I guess that should tell you something.
beecher's Blank Slate
Beecher's Blank Slate with Honey
This handmade farmer's cheese spread from Seattle's artisan Cheesemaker has just a hint of Washington honey and is true to it's name – making a perfect blank slate on bread for any sort of sweet or savory topping. Try as a topping itself. Recommended!
Svenska Original LantChips
These Scandinavian Style Potato Chips from Sweden were a real surprise. We were sent samples to try and we really didn't expect to like them as much as we did – as a matter of fact we've stopped buying the brand we were choosing in favor of these. They are small batch made – and taste like it. The sour cream is mildly flavored so it's attractive to those not usually liking that flavor. They are crispy not greasy, and thin. Our two wishes is that we could buy them more easily (at the time of writing they are only available at IKEA in the US) and that they would offer a salt and vinegar version. Definitely worth a try.
Sweet Salt
Ritrovo's Sweet & Salt from Abruzzo

In a quest for a new fun salt, I recently tried this one from Ritrovo (who also make Truffle & Salt, Fennel Salt and Saffron Salt). Sweet & Salt is a flavored salt and it's ingredients include concentrated, air-dried and finely-screened mosto cotto (cooked-down grape must from the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine grape), sweet baking spices and dried fruits, even small nuggets of dark chocolate and toasted vanilla bean. I was a little hesitant as to what to use it on - but it was an interesting flavoring for Pork Tenderloin and I would recommend it for pork overall. The flavors are delicate so they do not overpower a dish -merely give it another dimension. It might be also fun to try on an apple tart, pie or on baked or grilled fruit.
Toby's Ranch Dressing
Toby's Ranch Dressing

I generally don't buy salad dressing – this is currently the only exception. This Oregon company uses good fresh ingredients and it tastes like it. It's a refrigerated product. A mixture of buttermilk, sour cream and mayonnaise – the improvement would be 100% organic ingredients (and from sustainable sources). The only listed organic ingredient is the sugar. Tastes close to home-made.
Old State Maple SyrupOld State Farm Maple Syrup
This is hands down the best maple syrup we've tried. Jack likes a lighter style and Joanne likes a maple syrup with deep flavor - so we have often had to have two bottles going to serve our desires – Old State Maple Syrup from Pennsylvania makes us both happy! It's available from Heritage Foods USA.
Starr Ridge Crackers

Starr Ridge Crackers
These crackers aren't new to us - in fact we always have a package on hand for a cheese course emergency. We love the Red Onion with Pistachio & Asiago Cheese but the back up is the Olive Oil. You can easily demolish a box in one sitting rather- so be forewarned. The crackers are made with flour, olive oil, salt, etc. – exactly what you'd use if you were making them yourself.
Maggie Beer's Blood Plum
Maggie Beer's Blood Plum Paste
This is hands down the best pairing with Cravanzina Robiola I could imagine finding - unbelievably delicious. It would be great with any soft mold ripened cheese like Brie de Meaux or D'Affinois. We've also enjoyed her Fig Paste and Cabernet Paste.
Spice Grinders
Grinders from Cape Herb and Spices
I just like these grinders which are made in South Africa by Cape Herb and Spices. I’m using these almost daily – sometime twice daily. Grains of Desire is replacing Grains of Paradise, which I normally use.  It contains: black peppercorns, red rose petals, grains of paradise, ginseng, orange rind, nutmeg, and cloves. It's a lot of fun on eggs and, well, everything it seems. There is a lot of pepper in the mix though so I have to back off a bit for Trent and Jack.

You twist the top and the ground spices fill the plastic lid which then you remove and dump or sprinkle – or you can just remove it first and use it like a regular grinder. The grinders themselves are really sturdy the bottle is recycled glass and the top is plastic – I haven’t checked to see if they are refillable, but I love the design and the product. I purchased these from Chelsea Market Baskets who import them.
Jamie Oliver apparently liked them too, as they make a signature line for him. Highly Recommended.
Tiny Trapeze Marshmallows - Vanilla
Tiny Trapeze Simply Vanilla Marshmallows
Trent loves these marshmallows and so do I! They have a velvety texture and a very subtle Madagascar vanilla flavor. Containing organic ingredients and things like sugar, cornstarch, salt, gelatin, water, etc., the ingredient list passes muster too.

We’ve tried other all-natural and organic brands – but these are the ones to find – I never seem to have enough left to make anything with them… next time I’ll have to get two packages. I used to buy them at Whole Foods but they switched the brand they carry (the other is not as good). I found these at The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, CA. Highly Recommended.

Sugar ShotsSugar Shots - Organic Liquid Cane Sugar
If you drink Iced Coffee or Iced Tea with sugar you need to consider this really cool new product. It's liquid sugar (not simple syrup which most of the liquid sweeteners are) and could be compared to turbinado in flavor (which they also offer but it is not organic). The bottom line? You get more sugar and less water in your drink of choice and you don't have the dissolution problem (there is still some water in sugarshots). You use 1 tsp of Sugarshots for a packet of sugar. It's also possible to bake with it (I haven't tried it) and I've heard it makes a fantastic Mojito (among other cocktails). I really love the taste of molasses on the finish.
Saucesnlove Sugo Rosa
Sauces 'n Love - Sugo Rosa
Sugo Rosa is like a Vodka Sauce with small chunks of tomato and onion. You'll find it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It will keep in your refrigerator for quite a while after opening. It's awesome on the Pasta Shop's Smoked Chicken Ravioli. I also used it in my 5 Cheese Veal Parmigiana.
Two Seasoned Salts You Must Try: La Force Basque Salt/Spices
La Force Basque
I just ordered it from Formaggio Kitchen. It was not quite what I had imagined – heady with Piment d'Espelette and a really savory scent. I wasn’t entranced at first sniff. But on roast chicken it was fantastic. Jack was picking the bones. (Twice I've roasted a whole chicken coated with La Force Basque and Olive Oil at 425°F to very critical acclaim) Contains: "flower of salt, chili from Espelette, pink pepper, parsley and spices. Fresh. Wonderful. Highly Recommended!

Profumato del Chianti Salt
Profumato del Chianti

Profumato del Chianti is one of the most exciting pantry items I’ve found. I’ve just finished my first bottle so I just ordered a replacement from Formaggio Kitchen (read my review of the order here). It is finely ground salt with herbs of the region – rosemary, lavender and ??? The aroma is heavenly. It’s so fine that it integrates with the skin of poultry or the crust on meat to give a unearthly wondrous flavor. I really need to try it on fish. Highly recommended.
Rosengarten Ham
Kurobuta Ham from Snake River Farms - offered by David Rosengarten
The Kurobuta ham was ordered from a mailing from David Rosengarten's Rosengarten Report. It was huge hit - tender and flavorful. The best ham we've eaten in memory. We were very, very happy with it! Unfortunately, we ordered another in December of 2006. This one fell apart into three pieces when we took off the plastic wrap. We still heated it and served it, hoping for the best. But, it was too late; already overcooked and the seasoning overwhelmed the ham flavor. We won't order again.

Hint Water - 3 Flavors
Hint Water

I discovered this water reading through a review of the NY Fancy Food Show and they were kind enough to send samples. We drink a lot of water and I was really excited to see a flavored water product with no sugar - and with really interesting flavors like cucumber and apple. After consuming the samples we ordered a case each of Apple and Lime water. I also liked the Cucumber and Jack liked the tangerine and mint. Some flavors are a bit candied on the nose but not on the taste. We've ordered the Lime most often.

Trent really likes the Apple water although he does have a hard time opening and closing the unique twist top. I'm not a fan of the apple as it tastes like a red delicious and to me it leaves a strange aftertaste. But I'm really enjoying the lime! (The flavors are intense, btw. – Jack)

Update: January, 2006 - New flavors were shown at the SF Fancy Food Show: Pear, Tropical Punch and Peppermint. We were really dubious about the Peppermint but it is fantastic! The Pear which we thought would be our next favorite was not as exciting as the Tropical Fruit which we think Trent will really like.

rozkatrudy shortbread brown sugarrozkatrudy shortbread chocolate chip
Roz Katrudy Shortbread
Wow! A great new shortbread. Melt in your mouth! From a San Francisco bakery in Hayes Valley - the Cakemaker. Yum. I can't decide whether the Brown Sugar or the Macadamia Nut is the best. They also make Lemon – which is good too!
burroughs brew tea Serendipitea Tea
Jack has settled into a groove of Serendipitea’s Coconut flavored tea, Burroughs Brew. That’s the tea he wants to drink. The black tea is good quality, organic and fair trade certified and there are pieces of coconut in the tea. It is delicately flavored and doesn’t have an artificial taste.

For flavored tea I I like Serendipitea’s Colonille a vanilla flavored tea which I first discovered at the Soho Grande in NYC. We order tea from Serendipitea regularly. Shipping is always prompt so we are rarely out of stock. They have a flat shipping charge so we usually order in quantity or you can now order through Amazon.com.

Click here for our latest report.

Sam Bodhi
A New Tea:
Palais des Thes
Sam Bodhi FOP District de Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka

This tea has a flowery and malty balance that I enjoy. It’s working out great as a breakfast tea. Their tea quality seems high but it is pricey. I purchased this one at Dean & DeLuca and I would look for it again there.

straus family vanilla ice cream
Straus Organic
Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream 

A favorite of both Jack & Trent. It seems to be always stocked in our freezer (magically the supply replenishes). It's really the best store-bought chocolate ice cream around (says Jack). You must try it. If you can't get it locally then order it from Diamond Organics. They have two new flavors, Mint Chocolate Chip and Coffee, but for Jack there is no substitute for the Dutch Chocolate.
volcano island honey Organic White Honey
I keep switching honey to try and find one I like anywhere near as well as Rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey from Volcano Island Honey. No luck at any price - from cheap creamed honey to farmer’s market honey to to sulla honey from Italy to expensive varietal honey. It’s $12 at Whole Foods and $25 at Dean & DeLuca. It is the quintessential toast honey.
Pacific Gourmet's Butter Rum Cake
Pacific Gourmet's Butter Rum Cake
So good you'll have to walk away to stop eating it. It literally melts in your mouth and it's so rum soaked you'll swear you are drinking it. Really tastes like homemade.
More Products in the Pantry
Bread: Acme, Della Fattoria, Wild Flour Bakery

F&B Food Tastings
Jan-05 Butter Fest!
Fatted Calf Mortadella

Schoolhouse Kitchen's Bardshar ChutneySchoolHouse Kitchen's Bardshar Chutney
I bought this to try with our cheeses for the Great Artisan Cheese Pairing Project but it's found a place in our kitchen. We most recently loved it with the Fried Gubbeen I made but it's a great sandwich spread as well (try it with sliced pork, turkey or duck). The chutney has a slight sweetness but a definite vinegary prescence. Really good. The mission of SchoolHouse Kitchen is to give profits to education. I can't wait to try their jam!

PJ Madison Chocolate Ice Cream
PJ Madison's Ramona Chocolate Organic Super Premium Gelato Style Ice Cream
The chocolate gelato style ice cream has been a repeat purchase - perhaps not quite as good as Straus Family's Dutch Chocolate but it makes Jack's grade. We've also tried the Bourbon vanilla and I think it could use more vanilla as the flavor is very subtle.
Sahale Snacks Valdosta BlendSahale Snacks Valdosta Blend
I think I've now tried all the varieties offered by Sahale Snacks and I like this one the best. It's mainly Pecans and Cranberries with pepper - but not too much pepper. The pecans are crispy the cranberries chewy, but not too chewy. A nice indulgence. Some of the other mixes I've really disliked (hard pieces, uncrispy nuts, etc.) But Valdosta blend has been consistent throughout my tasting of many packages. Buy Sahale Valdosta Blend

Equinox Maple Flakes
Equinox Organic Maple Flakes
We received samples of this new product from the Quebec maple syrup company Deacer, and I was slow to try it. I was dubious about the flakes mainly because of how they looked: Dry and dehydrated. They are, however, a delight on oatmeal or in yogurt or on top of cereal. I haven't tried making ice cream with them yet - but I could imagine Maple Flake Walnut. I preferred the plain Maple Flakes. Also try them on sweet potatoes. I like the crunch that maple sugar powder doesn't give you. I also like that maple sugar is a good brown sugar alternative and these flakes give you options. If you still want powdery maple sugar they offer a lovely mill (ceramic grinder) which makes short work of the flakes and is very attractive.

Pop Chips
PopChips - Sea Salt Corn Chips
A new natural non-fried non-GMO snack in Rice, Corn and Potato with flavorings. It is different in that it's not baked or fried but actually popped! I like the idea of getting away from high-temperature baking. I wasn't that fond of the flavored chips I tried but I really liked the Sea Salt Corn Chips which are reminescent of Corn Chips of the past in flavor but with a texture of a rice chip. Not a regular pantry item for us but a fun diversion. The rice & potato chips are also worth a tasting!
Luna TeaCakes
Luna Tea Cakes
As a quick snack on the move, these little bars they call tea cakes have won a place in the pantry. They are rough and chewy with lots of nuttiness and good vanilla tones plus most of the ingredients are organic. Not a necessity by any means but if you are reaching for a granola or energy bar, try this one instead. Of the three flavors offered I liked the Vanilla Macadamia the best.

Kola Dr. Tima's Honey
Dr. Tima Honey Kola
Honey Kola emulates popular cola- drinks so well that there's a good chance you won't know it's not them until the honey kicks in on the finish. We don't drink softdrinks or cola of any kind much anymore - but this is one indulgence I will reach for and would serve to others. It's sweetened with honey and has no artifical flavors. Their Root Beer flavor is also very good (and lacks HFCS, unlike, say, Thomas Kemper). They both make a great float.
Himalania Chocolate Covered Goji Berries
Himalania Dark Chocolate Covered Goji Berries
While these might find a place in our Chocolate section, the Goji Berries (aka wolfberries) belong here in gourmet foods. I'm not a big fan of the Goji Berries on their own no matter how healthful (and they are supposed to be rich age-defying anti-oxidants), but these dark chocolate versions are divine. A great alternative treat.
Alden's Vanilla Ice Cream
Alden's Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Really nice and fluffy, fresh tasting with bits of vanilla bean in it. Organic and All Natural Ice Cream from Oregon, it has all the things you figure should be in Ice Cream - but it does use locust bean & guar gum as a stabalizer. Very nice!

Mashti Malone's Ice Creams
Mashti Malone's Original Rosewater
Ice Creams

We've been waiting since last January to find a local source for this wonderful and exotic ice cream from Los Angeles, CA. Jack discovered it at the Fancy Food Show and we've been looking for it since then. Both are great, with Jack giving the nod the Orange Blossom which imparts the intense orange blossom perfume into the flavor. The Saffron Rosewater is a bit more subtle in flavor. Both have pistachios studded throughout. A wonderful, exotic interlude in a dinner, treat at the end of the day or secret snack. You must like the smell of roses to like these.
Soba & Udon
Hakubaku Organic Udon & Soba
I'm not yet a connoisseur of udon and soba, but Trent and I love these noodles. I've yet to find a handmade local source. These do the trick and seem to be a nicely made product.
Revolution T Organics White Chai Tea
Revolution T Organics White Chai Tea
These mesh bags of organic white chai tea are biodegradable and make a good cup of chai.

Chocodrops - Dagoba
Dagoba Chocodrops
I'm totally in love with this chocolate pastilles. Trent calls them Chocolate Patties. They are not too sweet and the chocolate quality is very high - completely edible on their own. I use them in Chocolate chip cookies (when you are going to the trouble of making cookies - what's $8 worth of chocolate?) and in any baking project calling for chips or chunks like our mini-banana chocolate chip muffins. Well-tested at the Wyndhayvn kitchens. YUM!
NoMU Vanilla Paste
NoMU Vanilla Paste
Made from Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans it's not quite a substitute for Pure Vanilla Extract (it's not as strong) but it's a fun alternative flavoring - and where delicacy is imperative or placement important this stuff works great - it stays where you put it. Plus the pump style top makes it fun to use - especially for little chefs.
Stramondo Organic Marzipan from Sicily
Stramondo Organic Marzipan from Sicily
I finally found this marizpan again at Dean & Deluca after looking for a souce everywhere. It's by far the best Marzipan I've tried. You can buy it online here. It's got a great sugar/almond ratio and tastes very fresh. I used it in the Rustic Cherry Tart recipe.

Lomo Iberico de Bellota - Jose Andre Cocinere
Dry-cured Lomo Iberico do Bellota -
Jose Andre Cocinere

From Fermin. We're still waiting for the real deal of Iberico Jamon to hit the US shores but in the meantime La Tienda made this dry cured sausage available. It's made from the same hogs which feast on acorns as the Iberico of fame. The sausage was very, very good but it's covered in Piment which detracts a bit from the flavor of the pork.
Lazaroni Olive Breads
Larzaroni Bruschette alle Olive (with Olives)
Trent loves these with salmon salad or smoked salmon on top. Larzaroni Bruscheete are basically slices of bread baked with olive oil and dried out. Like flat croutons or bread-like crackers. They make a nice appetizer foil - albeit not an artisan product they are a product we like. They also come in Plain and Rosemary.

Beecher's Hazelnut Crackers
Beecher's Honey Hazelnut Crackers
You can pair them with cheese but they are fantastic on their own. Nicely balanced flavor - not sweet and very balanced.
Moose Syrup
Moosewood Hollow Sweet Autumn
Maple Syrup

I find this syrup too "spicy" for waffles and pancakes but it's unbelievable on sweet potatoes and french toast. A really fun "infused syrup" try it on bread pudding or a flavoring for whipped cream or custard.

Marella Pasta
Pastifico Marella - Lanterne Pugliese Pasta
The Marella family in Southern Italy makes gorgeous and delicious artisan handmade pasta just the way it was made hundreds of years ago. The Lanterne (Lantern) shape is not a traditional one – it was invented by the Marella factory. The shape holds sauce magically and is one I seek out, but any of the shapes I've tried have been great successes making beautiful results.
Raspberry Jam on English Muffins
Confitures de Raphael - Framboise
Artisan Jam from Brittany, France that has me so enchanted that I bought the last of the raspberry at Formaggio Kitchen. Fortunately for you they have received a new shipment. It's fresh tasting and has the perfect sweetness. On Stonehenge English Muffins with good butter it's unbeatable!

An artisanally made sweet biscuit (a very thin wafer) made from ground hazelnuts. It originates from 1930 by local bakers in Valle d'Aosta in Italy. A tradition in the Alps. Amazing. Highly Recommended.
Dolcielo Adult Brownies
Dolcielo Brownies for Adults

We received some samples from this Georgia company and we made no promises – but the use of good ingredients really shines through and the variety of subtle flavors (enhanced by the use of liquors) are outstanding. I liked the Donamato (plum with Kahlua) and the Celesola (pineapple with Bacardi gold) the best. If there is a fault they are slightly on the sweet side if eaten on their own. They compliment coffee really well. Lots of fun to try all of the flavor combinations. An unusual gift or personal indulgence.
Nirmala's Kitchen Bush Tomato
Nirmala's Kitchen Akatjurra Bush Tomato icon
I ordered this ground spice on a whim and found that I really like it – it's a cross between sundried tomato and a good quality paprika. I made crackers with it, paired with goat cheese, and they were really great. Worth a try!
Dr. Kracker Pumpkin Seed CrackersDoctor Kracker
Pumpkin Seed Cheese Crackers
These are a regularly stocked item at our house. Our local Whole Foods carries them. They come in smaller flatbread packs or large round containers of smaller crackers. Trent eats them plain while Jack spreads Taleggio on them.

Dr. Kracker Snack PackThey've just released "Snack Pack" individual Kracker packs which are great for lunch boxes and portable snack emergencies.

Rustichella d'Abruzzo Cannolicchi
This is a good solid pasta company - they have an organic labeled line which I usually choose. They use good quality ingredients and the pasta has a good tooth to it - it's also nice that (at least in Northern California) it seems that it's relatively easy to find. What I love is the shape of this pasta. Tight curls resembling fusilli or corkscrew penne unravel during cooking to form long, ruffly noodles.
Niman Ranch St. Louis Style Pork Ribs Niman Ranch St. Louis-style Pork Ribs
We generally don't buy pre-packaged or pre-cooked food at the grocery store. In a pinch one night Jack picked these up and we were so happily surprised! They are tender, succulent, tasty and the sauce is very good. It takes about 30 minutes to heat them up - I used a roasting pan following the directions on the back.
Caramoo - Caramel Crumble
I wasn't expecting to like these - but they seemed to evaporate as soon as the package was opened. I do like Caramels and Trent is a fan of caramel too, but generally I don't eat them choosing caramel syrup on occasion. These are like a cross between a caramel and fudge. No stickiness or chewiness rather they are slightly flakey inside – and the flavor is great. They are made in Poland from an eastern european recipe and from real ingredients like butter and sugar.
Creme de Rose
Zambeedo Crème de Rose Flavored Dessert
Jack is grooving on this creamy frozen dessert. It's like rose ice cream but made with condensed milk so it's more like gelato. They offer interesting flavors like Crème de Chai and liquor flavors like Crème de Menthe and Crème de Caffe.
American Flatbread
American Flatbread Frozen Pizza

I would love to have my family eat three meals a day that I cook and perhaps that will be a goal I'll someday achieve - in the meantime, last minute meals are the current reality at times. American Flatbread makes great frozen pizza – even Jack likes them. (Well, I don't dislike them. – Jack)

We've tried the other flavors but this is the best in our humble opinion. Trent loves it. The crust turns out crispy and the sauce/cheese ratio is nicely balanced.

Oh did I mention it's organic? It's made with 100% organic flour, hand-crafted and baked in a wood-fire oven (just look at the ingredient list!) then topped with Three Sisters cheese. They call it pizza with integrity – I agree whole-heartedly. It was the pizza we served at Trent's last birthday. Highly recommended.

American Flatbread

Toffee Shop Fudge
Penrith Fudge from The Toffee Shop A Hit! Two tablets waxed paper wrapped in a box. This is the Butter Fudge. Butterscotch flavors. It melts in your mouth. Exactly as expected (and hoped for). Very fresh. I'm sure I bought this when I was in England last. Delicious. I purchased it from Chefshop.com. Recommended.

Oatmeal of Alford
The Oatmeal of Alford Organic pinhead oatmeal - I love it. It tastes like the Oatmeal you are served in Scotland. When I run out I’ll be reordering. I've found that the oatmeal to water ratio is slightly higher on the oatmeal side. The package suggests 1.5 oz of Oatmeal I recommend 2oz for 300ml of water. I just re-ordered it from Chefshop.com. Highly Recommended.

Peppermint Organic Chocolate Chip? YUM!

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Crummy Brothers Cookies
When Brian from Crummy asked if he could send us samples I immediately asked for their Orange and Lavender varieties – Lavender is always a big hit here. They also sent us their Peppermint Chocolate Chip and wow am I glad that they did...

None of us here are mint fans. Trent won't even touch a candy cane. But these cookies could easily convert him - they won over Jack in a heartbeat and we ended up fighting over who was going to eat them! The winning point is that they are really well-balanced and not too sweet (which we hate in a cookie!) – we will be placing an order for these soon!

The other flavors we tried were Lavender (a solid #2) and Orange (which has a hint of thyme - really interesting). They also make Egg Nog and Original Chocolate Chip. The texture of all three are somewhat different too, and I could imagine someone liking a flavor based on the texture alone. The varieties of cookies are easily identifiable on a mixed plate.

Crummy Brothers are a new company based in Chicago - so for now if you want to indulge you'll have to order online. The cookies are Organic and taste like their ingredients - fresh. If you can't make them yourself this is the next best thing. Peppermint & Chocolate Chip? YUM. If you decide to place a 3 or 5 pack order – do yourself a favor and order an extra Peppermint Chocolate Chip.

tate's bakeshop cookies
Tate's Bakeshop Chocolate Chip Cookies
We usually make cookies but we usually have some packaged Chocolate Chip Cookies on hand for emergencies. These ones really taste like they have real ingredients - it's hard to stop eating them. They didn't last long – which is a good sign. We bought them in Point Reyes, CA.
Big Ricks BBQ Sauce
Big Rick's Honey BBQ Sauce
Joanne can't get enough of this BBQ sauce. From burgers to ribs to chicken. This stuff is great. Discovered at Dean & DeLuca in St. Helena where I suspect (pretty sure I spied the label) they pour it out of gallon jugs into little containers which come with some of their take-out food. Regardless, we keep it in stock.

Olio Nuovo 2005
Olio Nuovo 2005 from Podere San Giuseppe and Fattoria il Melograno
These two freshly pressed Olive Oils came from The Rare Wine Company in Sonoma. The Podere is unfiltered and thus a little cloudy - and has a more bitter finish than the Melograno. Joanne preferred the Melograno. We sampled them on Della Fattoria Campagne Bread.
Two Grateful Palate Products We Love

Ohara Hisakichi Shouten Soy Sauce $32.95 for a 900 ml bottle
This is Jack’s benchmark for Soy Sauce. He uses it in the place of all others, for salad dressing and for sashimi. He sometimes (with great pretension!) takes it to our favourite sashimi spot, Hana, and we keep hooking people on it. Our friends say they will never eat Kikkoman again! (One bottle lasts us about 6 months.)
shouten soy sauce heidis cottage cheese pancake mix

Heidi's Pancake Mix: Cottage Cheese Flavor
After reading the Grateful Palate’s review and David Rosengarten’s I had to try this. The first time I made them we used whole milk ricotta and they were great. The second time we used low fat cottage cheese and I thought it was pretty chunky – it worked okay but next time I would puree it first. There is enough for about 16 pancakes in each package. Since you have to add the cottage cheese and the eggs basically the package is flour – so I would not buy it again rather I will make my own “base” – and then it will be organic too! But I think the idea is fantastic and the product worked as it said – they say you get 20 grams of protein per serving! With the June Taylor Gravenstein Apple Butter or the Pear Vanilla Butter - Cottage Cheese Pancakes will now be on breakfast rotation at our house.

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