America. Home to the blockbuster, the mega mall and the double wide parking stall. We invented BIG, but we are also remarkably good at small. From stone ground chocolate to small batch tonic, here is what this country’s artisan foodies are doing really well right now.
1. Wild Elderberry Shrub — Napa, CA ($13): Hand picked wild elderberries are the base to one of America’s top undiscovered gin mixes.
2. Hernán Mexican Hot Chocolate — Del Rio, TX ($10): Authentically infused with cinnamon, take a pass on the powder packets and melt a square into one cup of hot milk. Try with a nip of your favourite liqueur or completely inauthentic Frangelico.
3. Olive & Sinclair Chocolate — Nashville, TN ($6): Scotty Witherow stone grinds every batch, offering the first raw cocoa to finished bar process in the South.
4. Coco Cafe — Santa Monica, CA ($24): Caffeinate and hydrate with this coconut water and espresso drink from a town that knows a thing or two about recovery.
5. Halfpops — Woodinvile, WA ($24): An Ex-Porsche Driving Champ decided to give that half popped stuff at the bottom of the bowl a starring role.
6. Bar Harbor Clam Chowder — Bar Harbor, ME ($5): Fresh off the docks of Maine and all natural. In our books simply the best clam chowder out of a can in the country.
7. Rancho Gordo Beans — Napa, CA ($6): These heirloom beans grace the table of the Michelin-starred French Laundry and steal the show in any homemade bowl.
8. Stu’s Bloody Mary — Chicago, IL ($25): Like most truly revolutionary ideas, Stu’s was conceived over a booze-infused brunch, where two college buddies decided to take a stand after another flavorless Bloody Mary.
9. Dave’s Coffee Syrup — Charlestown, RI ($21): Get your iced-coffee fix with this hand bottled craft coffee concentrate.
10. Savannah Bee Co. Honeycomb — Savannah, GA ($22): 100 precent edible, use as you would honey, we recommend combining with Georgia pecans and butter to to top off some Sunday pancakes.
11. Coop’s Hot Fudge — Watertown, MA ($11): Judge this fudge by its cover. Coop’s manages to even taste better than each wax sealed jar looks.
12. Jack Rudy Tonic — Charleston, SC ($32): If 2 liter plastic bottles of tonic are the bottom shelf, you’re surely going to need a step ladder to reach Jack Rudy Small Batch. This concentrate features the traditional ingredient of quinine bark paired with lemongrass and orange peel.
13. Juniper Ridge Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea — Sierra Nevada, CA ($13): Next to crafting award winning wild fragrances year round, JR harvests Douglas Fir tips once a year, every Spring. When steeped for ten minutes, the result is a drink with subtle, citrusy forest aroma.
14. Birch Syrup Caramel — Palmer, Alaska ($12): In some Birch Syrup equivalent of Hall and Oates, the duo of Dulce and Michael East have been cranking out smooth, silky goodness for 23 years. Only 3,000 gallons of syrup harvested each year, luckily some is used to make this caramel unique to Alaska. Spoon some warm over coffee ice cream with a sprinkle of sea salt and you too will be makin’ dreams come true.
15. Liber & Co. Texas Grapefruit Shrub — Austin, TX ($13): Turns out drinking vinegar ain’t so bad, in fact it’s wildly refreshing. Mix Liber & Co. with vodka, soda and heaps of ice.
What are your favorite artisan foods right now? Anything local that you just love? Tell us in the comments below.