Food52 Pantry

Everything You Need to Know About Food52 Pantry

From the best balsamic vinegar to Amanda’s favorite harissa, here’s the story of how our exciting new collection came to be.

September 21, 2022
Photo by James Ransom

Sebastian Sardo isn’t a fan of whole wheat pasta. It’s hard to find a good one and even when you do, it’s not very good. So Sardo, the brand manager for Food52 Pantry, made it his mission to find a producer of delicious pasta that had the nuttiness and texture of whole wheat pasta with the pleasant taste and all-around appeal of regular pasta. The result is Food52’s slow-dried pasta, which includes bucatini, busiate, linguine, penne, pici, spaghett, and tortiglioni. These six items are part of the Food52 Pantry collection, which officially launches on Thursday, September 22nd.

We wanted to start with some foundational ingredients that can become part of people’s everyday cooking and go from there.
Amanda Hesser

The collection is over a year in the making. Sardo joined Food52 after a six-year stint as a food buyer for Eataly USA. His first task was to narrow down a list of over 500 wish list ingredients to a handful that Food52 could source, produce, and sell in our shop. The result is 45 pantry staples including extra-virgin olive oil (an everyday version and one for those extra-special recipes), four varieties of flour (all-purpose, bread, cake, and pastry), three types of plump canned tomatoes, four kinds of California-grown rice, an assortment of balsamic and sweet white vinegars, oats, baking chocolate, peanut butter, coffee, and condiments. “We wanted to start with some foundational ingredients that can become part of people’s everyday cooking and go from there,” says Food52 founder Amanda Hesser.

Since 2010, the ethos of Food52 has been about building a community around a shared love of cooking, says Hesser. It only made sense to offer great ingredients for good cooks. “Ingredients are such a critical part of your experience in the kitchen and the results of your dish. It felt like such a natural connection to provide our community with a line of best-in-class products that they can use every day,” she adds.

I felt so completely jazzed by the harissa. Its flavor is electric. You're going to want to put it in everything.
Amanda Hesser

With nearly four dozen thoughtfully curated products, how can anyone possibly pick a favorite? You can’t, really, but there are a few stand-out ingredients. “I felt so completely jazzed by the harissa. Its flavor is electric—it’s layered and complex and interesting. You're going to want to put it in everything,” says Hesser. What makes our harissa so special is two ingredients in particular—​​extra-virgin olive oil and preserved lemons. “It’s very rare to find that combination in the market,” adds Sardo.

Another must-have? Dried pasta, in every shape. We have the ones you know and love like linguine, spaghetti, and penne, plus extra-special shapes like busiate and tortiglioni. “Pasta shouldn’t be something that you just toss in boiling water and is there to serve as a base for some delicious sauce. It’s as much a part of the dish as the sauce. Ours really accomplishes that because it’s so high-quality,” says Hesser. The pasta is made, in part, with wheat germ, which lends a beautiful, nutty flavor that you can’t achieve from flour alone. When you hold our pasta, you’ll also notice the texture—it’s not entirely smooth like the boxed varieties you find in the grocery store. That’s thanks to bronze dies, which the pasta is extruded through, giving it an intentional rough feel and making it particularly good at grabbing on to sauce (Sardo adds that most generic pasta is cast through Teflon dies, which strips the pasta of any and all texture).

Stock up on our baking chocolate too—having had the opportunity to taste all five varieties, I can tell you that they’re a step above the rest. As a white chocolate-skeptic, Our Toasted White Chocolate is unlike any I’ve tried before and so good. Its golden hue and gentle butterscotch flavor will lend itself beautifully to some of our favorite recipes, like Caramelized White Chocolate & Toasted Milk Cookies and Malted White Chocolate Sheet Cake. It’s snackable, too; Sardo gave me a sample to take home and it disappeared by dusk.

The Food52 Pantry is here! Tell us which pantry staples you’re most excited to purchase in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rhonda35
  • dinaofdoom
  • ellemmbee
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
  • AntoniaJames
Former Food52 Staff Editor


Rhonda35 September 25, 2022
This is exciting news! I look forward to trying some of these products, especially the harissa.
dinaofdoom September 23, 2022
You really need to update your shipping options and costs. It's very expensive shipping, and a $150 free shipping minimum is not in line with most other retailers. If anything, offer a lower shipping cost for your branded items.
ellemmbee September 21, 2022
As a longtime big fan of yours going back many years, I am so sorry to be saying this, but the new Food52 Pantry products really underwhelmed me. I expected more interesting items. Maybe because I live in a major metro area where I am blessed to easily procure quality versions of your offerings, I was truly disappointed. Bread Flour? King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill are excellent and artisanal ones show up at farmer’s markets. Chocolate? So many readily available. Peanut butter? Seriously? Tuna? Whole Foods carries ventresca in the jar. We even have a pizzeria that sells yellow tomatoes in a jar. Pasta? Rice? Coffee? Even TJs has a sweet white vinegar. I’m not sure why these items were selected for Food52 readers who mostly have them available or just order on Amazon Prime with free shipping. What am I missing?
Amanda H. September 22, 2022
Hi Ellemmbee, thanks for your note and candor. All feedback is helpful and welcome. What you are seeing in our pantry offering today is just the beginning of what we have planned. We wanted to start with foundational everyday ingredients, so that we can build from there into less common ingredients as well as sauces, spice blends, mixes, and the like, which we plan to involve the Food52 community in creating.

I can understand that on the surface, selling a pasta or baking chocolate may seem ordinary, but I encourage you to taste the products. None of our products are white labeled -- our head of sourcing, who came to Food52 with deep expertise in ingredients sourcing, went directly to producers to develop products just for us. For instance, our pasta is made with wheat germ so that it has more structure and a nuttier flavor than other artisanal pastas. Our peanut butter is made with American-grown peanuts (which isn't typical).

We tasted all of our ingredients against the highest quality products in the market, and we believe ours are better quality and better tasting for the same price. I hope you'll give them a try!
AntoniaJames September 22, 2022
I am about to order some of that enticing toasted white chocolate and (for friends and family - such a perfect stocking stuffer!), your harissa with preserved lemon. I like your approach, seeking to produce a unique, truly superior pasta, so I'll be ordering some of that, too! Sourcing and then launching such a range of your own, not-white-labeled pantry products is quite an impressive undertaking. I hope it's a huge success, and that you continue to build the offerings list, widening to other types of ingredients. ;o)
Amanda H. September 24, 2022
AJ! Great to hear from you -- and so glad you saw the new line. Hope you like the white chocolate and harissa. Let us know your thoughts (and what you make with them!).
AntoniaJames November 18, 2022
I'm still waiting for that chocolate! Ten days from my order just to put it in a box with a label, to give to the shipping carrier? Hopefully, it's finally on a truck, on its way. Food52, you can do better than this, for your own items, for stocking our pantries! ;o)