Whether you are planning a special meal or looking for a gift, it is important to get the right ingredients. If you work long hours or live outside of a big city, it may be hard to find what you want locally. Luckily, there are many good options online, if you know where to look. Here are five of our recommendations for where to score on some of the highest-quality gourmet and international food on the web.
You may know Food52 for their mouth-watering blog. This powerhouse foodie publication also boasts a top-rate shop with kitchen gear, home decor, books, and pantry items. The Pantry is stocked with experimental and delectable edibles such as nettle pasta and culinary Argan oil. All in the same curated store, you will come across individual hits such as beer-pretzel and burnt toast caramels, monthly clubs for snacks of the likes of Olympic Provisions’ Salami, and libations such as the West Coast Pinot Noir Collection. A particular standout, the Limited Edition Nettle Radiators (two 16-ounce bags for $23) are flavorful green pastas made in Brooklyn by Sfoglini. In crafting the pasta, Sfoglini blanched, puréed, and then combined the nettles with the semolina flour for more mellow, savory taste. The resulting pasta makes a lovely springtime dish, ideal for your next dinner party.
The self-explanatory ChefShop is a go-to for chefs of all stripes. Based in Seattle, this farm-to-table business focuses on sourcing fresh, uncommon ingredients from family-owned producers. Their finds include the likes of D’Arbo elderflower syrup, Mama Lil’s pickled green beans, and Miscela d’Oro 100% Arabica Decaf Beans (recommended by Edwin Garrubo in his espresso interview). You can find these items and more arranged by type of ingredient, region, season, chef recommendation, and producer. The setup encourages you to think creatively.
One of the most tempting offerings available from ChefShop today is the Banyuls Vinegar, a naturally sweet wine vinegar from Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Southern coast of France. The small-batch condiment is made from 50% Grenache noir, 40% Grenache gris, and 10% Carignane grapes; aged in oak barrels; and seasoned with a splash of older vinegar. Crack the bottle open for unrivaled vinaigrettes and glazes worthy of the best meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Another gem serving Seattle, Washington, and beyond, Marx Foods is fifth-generation family business that started out as a distributor to high-end restaurants. In 2007, they expanded to offer fine food and wholesale ingredients to home chefs as well. Marx Foods maintains the quality, authenticity, and star power of their products, whether you’re talking edible flowers for a wedding cake or wild boar for an unforgettable barbeque. Once upon a time, you would likely not have tried wild hog unless you went into the woods and hunted it yourself or bought meat of unknown quality from a daring countryman. Through Marx Food, even a city-slicker can try genuine wild boar without the element of danger. Available in cuts such as St. Louis-style spare ribs ($122 for 10 pounds of boneless meat), Marx Food’s boar is caught in the hill country of Texas, USDA-inspected, and certified free of hormones and antibiotics. You would be hard-pressed to find a healthier entree for your summer BBQ.
Oliviers & Co.
Oliviers & Co. is a true specialty store with a taste for extra virgin olive oil. Bottling only olive oil made in the Mediterranean, O&CO selects oils that are hand-harvested from ripe olives and freshly pressed in clean, perfectly heated conditions. All of the oils are then tested by the “olive oil sommelier” Eric Verdier, and sold to restaurants such as the acclaimed French Laundry and to individuals who simply know good flavor when they taste it. O&CO sells a variety of pure and infused olive oils, spreads, baked goods, and even skincare. Their simple Tuscan olive crackers are a steal at just $5 for a party-sized melt-in-your-mouth galette studded with Frantoio green olives. Balancing sweetness and bitterness, the crackers make a tasty snack, aperitif pairing, or side with anything from a ricotta spread to a tomato soup.
The Spice Trader
Based in Toronto, Canada, The Spice Trader sells small-batch spices from around the world. Their goods are mostly organic and, when that is not possible, all-natural or harvested in the wild. None of their products are filled with additives such as sugar, MSG, salt, or other preservatives. Pure and fresh, their spices are brighter and more complex in taste than counterparts found in a supermarket or ordered in bulk. A superior choice for cooking, baking, and bartending, their spices are packaged in airtight tins that protect the flavor for as long as possible and bring a touch of vintage charm to the kitchen. Check out their Fish Box for a cute set of eight spices that promises to add kick to your next seafood dish. The collection includes bouquet garni, dill seed, pasilla chili, Mahone Bay spice, lemon thyme, yellow mustard powder, black sesame seeds, and lime peel powder, bundled together in an attractive tin and priced at $50.