All of the finds on this month’s mood board are inspired by the book tour and the fabulous things I’ve found along the way. A few of these products are artisans that I’ve worked with since the days of FoodCrafters and others are treats I’ve found for the first time. Each and every product is local to the area where I had various ticketed tour events and, even though you couldn’t all be there, I wanted to share their deliciousness with you.
So, here are the deets:
1. Kika’s Treats - I was first hooked on Kika’s Treats when I happend across one of her Brazilian Honey Cakes in Pure Dark Chocolate oh-so many years ago. She has expanded her line to include delicious shortbreads, caramelized graham crackers, and these Crunchy Caramels that she generously shared with everyone at this month’s San Francisco event.
2. Blue Chair Fruit - Rachel embodies the romantic notion of a preserve maker from her copper marmalade pots and vintage aprons to the flavor combinations that sound too whimsical to be true. I have a hard time picking a favorite as the preserves are one more delicious than the last. However, my heart skipped a beat when she shared her Early Girl Tomato Marmalade are our San Francisco event because I drool over the thought of spreading it on a warm biscuit with some soft fresh cheese.
3. Happy Hemp - I grew up a stone’s throw away from a hippie-run hemp shop so my images of hemp are interwoven with Grateful Dead posters and macrame. But, as my eating’s become more adventurous, I’ve given hemp a go and am a fan. The key is to find a hemp that’s fresh (too many on the market are rancid), properly stored, and, of course, tasty. Tara Miko’s Happy Hemp is so much so those things that I’ve taken to using it in nearly every meal from snacking on it to including it in my granola, using it in place of breadcrumbs, coating salmon with it, and, of course, just snacking on the toasted hemp seeds with abandon.
4. Confituras - The reputation of Stephanie and her preserves proceeds her as she’s won the Good Food Awards for preserves in the Southern Region for two years running. And she’s quite well known in Austin as was evidenced by everyone greeting her when she arrived at the Hotel Saint Cecilia event. She shared three of her preserves — Fresh Apple Rosemary, Pear, and Tomato — with us and one is more fabulous than the last.
5. SunBud Bakery - The lady behind SunBud, Atsuko, is my friend from culinary school and she recently left her food marketing role to launch this “healthy” cookie company. An East Coaster who was born in Japan but then lived in Paris, Atsuko pulls common flavors from her life experiences, such as subtly sweet dried fruits, and complex grains such as buckwheat. SunBud is just taking off but the refinement of her work proves that these cookies are decidedly nuanced.