The food crafters' movement has taken off since the recession hit, allowing passionate artisans a second lease on their careers. Here are 10 of our favorite purveyors in the L.A. area whose products will fit right in with your home entertaining.
Up until the point that the Crafted incubator spaces opened up in the Port of Los Angeles, Janeen Gudelj was operating as a delivery service similar to that of Fruit & Flour. But now that she has space in the crafters' haven, things are a bit more permanent. Options at Donut Snob range from farm fresh (the Berry Best is basically a donut fruit tart topped with market berries) to the downright decadent (think s'mores or something called an oinker, which is a raised donut topped with maple cinnamon and orange zest glaze and maple-coated bacon).
This Echo Park-based baker functions a lot like a traditional wine club, where each month a selection is made by owner Sarah Williams and delivered to your door. Flavors take on a particularly seasonal twist during the summer months, with options like strawberry rhubarb, traditional apple, or honeyed bourbon peach. They are all fantastic, but the real show-stopper is William's twist on Momofuku's crack pie. We recommend eating it with others in the room, or else you might end up consuming the lot on your own.
Colonial drinking vinegars are having their moment in the Los Angeles cocktail scene, and thankfully there's a way to implement them into your own home bar. Venice Beach's Susan Finesman makes truly unique flavors like nectarine ginger, raspberry mint, and grapefruit rosemary. It might sound a little strange to be intentionally drinking vinegar, but if you like kombucha, shrub will bark up the right tree. Mix them with soda water or in a gin-based cocktail for a cool, refreshing summer spritz. Finesman is currently taking a short break to fine tune her production process. Please visit her website for updates.
Let's say you'll be doing some L.A.-style grillin' and chillin'. Up your game with local, pasture-raised, organic meats from the dynamic duo of butcherettes over at Lindy & Grundy. Their whole animal approach also means that there's a case full of masterfully-cured meats and charcuterie in their cases, including some of the best coppa di testa and lamb bacon in the city. If you're lucky, you might also find savory handheld pies from general manager Melissa Cortina's side project, Pig & Pastry.
801 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, 90046
Kristine de la Cruz recently gave up her full time gig to take Crème Caramel to the next level. She infuses Asian flavors like Filipino ube, Thai iced tea, and green tea into her crème caramels, which make a perfect tote-able dessert for picnics, barbeques, or even a trip to the Hollywood Bowl. De la Cruz also bakes incredible bread pudding with salted caramel sauce, which might not be kind to your bikini bod, but is so worth it. Until the next phase of her business opens up, you can find her at the Melrose Place Farmers Market and at occasional brunch pop-ups at Fix Coffee in Echo Park.
If we're doling out style points, Peddler's Creamery would be a perfect 10. The Downtown L.A.-based ice-cycle actually churns cream as owner Edward Belden pedals. All of the flavors are changed depending on season to keep with the eco-friendly theme. Some of our favorites are their classic strawberry, Mexican-influenced chili chocolate, and chili mango. A brick-and-mortar is in the works.
If you've read Mark Bitterman's James Beard Award winning cookbook Salted (which you should), Hepp's wil be your own personal heaven. Owner Brian Hepp started selling his gourmet salts at farmers markets a little less than two years ago, and has since landed himself in a few dozen retail stores including Sur la Table. He also has a stall at the aforementioned Crafted location, where he's slanging a dizzying array of smoked, blended, cooking, and finishing salts. Try the firewood smoke salt and see why it's the next best thing to owning a giant smoker.
The great thing about Morning Glory's internationally-inspired peanut brittles is that even on the warmest of LA days they won't melt in the sweltering heat. Though the flavors might sound a little odd to begin with, trust us when we say that they are absolutely crave-inducing. Our favorites are the Thai curry with it's citrusy lemongrass undertones and the Indian curry, whose cardamom and curry powder add just the right amount of zing to the salty sweet treat.
Food preservation has really taken off, and if you're looking to get inspired by some fabulous flavors, check out Laura Ann's jams. This Angeleno rocker-turned-preservationist crafts flavors like blueberry basil or raspberry habanero that just might inspire you yo have your own jam session. If not, you can always pick up one of hers. They're equally as lovely on a cheese plate as they are on your morning toast.
3448 E 1st St., Los Angeles, 90063