The Food52 '52'

Remember last year when we rounded up our favorite food-related finds of the year? We want to do it again! So tell us, what hidden gems have you found that we all shouldn't live without?
Here is last year's post, if you'd like a refresher:

Kristy Mucci


Md A. April 28, 2019
As food writers, we try a lot of new food. And by a lot, we really mean shameful amounts that would have any personal trainer shaking his or her head in disgust. #SorryNotSorry
AntoniaJames December 10, 2012
Oaktown Spices! Can spice blending be "artisanal"? If so, then this wonderful new business certainly is. I've been a regular customer since the first week they were open for business. Am giving their spice blends from the FOOD52 Shop as Christmas gifts! ;o)
Kenzi W. December 10, 2012
Kenzi W. November 28, 2012
Douglas Fir Eau de Vie from Clear Creek Distillery!
hardlikearmour November 28, 2012
Great choice! We had a cocktail party over the summer & one of my friend's came up with a cocktail that included bourbon, doug fir eau de vie, and smoked ice. It was pretty darn tasty!
Ben P. November 27, 2012
When I need/want inspiration, I surf on over to It's also a great way to kill an afternoon at the office if your boss doesn't happen to be peering over your shoulder...
CulinaryWoman November 27, 2012
I'd like to nominate The Company Burger in New Orleans, which I first discovered in May. The menu is outstanding but I'm just crazy about the brownie. It's owner Adam Biderman's mother's recipe. I can't go there without getting a brownie. It's dense, moist, chocolatey, filling, and probably the best dessert you'll eat in a city that's full of amazing desserts. I wrote about Company Burger here if you'd like to know more.
mrslarkin November 26, 2012
- Hemp hearts. Or technically, raw shelled hemp seeds. Found them at Costco, of all places. I use them in baking, and sprinkling them on cereal and oatmeal.

- Dogfish Head Jin. Good stuff.
acwhitney November 23, 2012
This is not very exotic but I recently took my family gluten free and Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice pasta is excellent. It has a great al dente bite. I almost prefer it to semolina. My six year old never noticed that I changed up his fusilli.
Laurelb November 23, 2012
Fabulous low fat cheeses from Les Amis de Fromage in Vancouver, British Columbia including Cantenaar, Prima Donna and Cambazola
Laurelb November 23, 2012
Fabulous low fat cheeses from Les Amis de Fromage in Vancouver British including Cantenaar, Prima Donna and Cambazola
AntoniaJames November 23, 2012
Corn husk stock, which I first heard about here. With a stronger corn flavor than stock made from corn cobs, it's perfect for cooking black beans, as well as quinoa. I just added some at the last minute to some black bean soup that had thickened quite a bit overnight. Out of this world!! ;o). P.S. I make the stock with nothing more than the husks, cob end pieces and a small onion.
drbabs November 16, 2012
Trader Joe's fig butter. Very wonderful.
Anitalectric November 16, 2012
Massaged kale. Kale chips.

Vegan charcuterie.
Hominy tacos, as a vegan version of shrimp, first tried at La Esquina.

Bee Free Apple Honee from Minnesota. 

Plant-based dairy: Cultured nut cheeses. Coconut milk yogurt.

Vegans got very into kelp noodles this year and developed several cool techniques for preparing them (i.e. soaking in dressing instead of water).

Trader Joe's tahini dip. Basically just whipped tahini.

Fair trade Palestinean olive oil.
Devangi R. November 15, 2012
Kinfolk Magazine!
hardlikearmour November 14, 2012
Technically I've known about Olympic Provisions salami for more than a year, but I doubt that most of the country knows of it so I think it deserves to be included. My current favorite is the Loukanika (garlic, cumin, and orange zest).
Lindsay-Jean H. November 14, 2012
Eugenia Bone shared these finds:

"Smoked Oysters from Josephson's Smokehouse ( Expensive, decadent, awesome with homemade mayonnaise.

Spring 44 Gin: absolutely the most floral gin I've ever had (

Stand up Asparagus Steamer: for canning 1 pint or half pint at a time. Can't live without mine. (

D'Artagnan Canned Summer Truffles: no point in buying fresh truffles--they off gas in 4 days and then you are stuck with a clod of fungal matter that once tasted like a truffle. But these summer truffles are delicious, though you have to use them all within in a day or two of opening the can. I make crostini with them for holiday parties. (

Pimento Cheese. Totally retro? Yes. Totally addicting? Oh yeah. I make it with my own marinated red peppers. Glad to share my recipe.

Honeybell Tangelos. I get mine from Terrmarsch Groves in Jupiter, Fl. Seasonal in during January. ("
Pamela S. November 14, 2012
Thanks to a friend in Liguria, I was recently gifted a small bottle of her artisanally made colatura. I first became acquainted with this product years ago in the charming seaside fishing village of Cetara at the southern end of the Amalfi coast; it is a kind of byproduct (in a good way!) of the process of curing the anchovies. My friend took the special fresh anchovies of Monterosso and layered them with salt. As the anchovy ages, it releases aromatic juices that are captured and can be used to flavor dishes with a delicate essence of anchovy. I usually whisk a small spoonful of this amber-colored elixir with some extra-virgin olive oil and toss it with a slow-dried bronze-extruded spaghetti. The perfect finishing touch is a grating of bottarga and I am instantly transported to the Italian seaside!
vvvanessa November 13, 2012
Nduja soft salame from Boccalone. Not only is it the best thing you can spread on a cracker, but if you sauté it for a minute to render out some of the fat and then throw in some green beans or shaved Brussels sprouts, you will be very happy. Also, spreading it under the skin of a chicken before roasting will make you extra happy.

Piel de Sapo melons from Happy Boy Farms. I've eaten this "frog skin" melon a million times in Spain, and I was elated to find them here in Berkeley. They're juicy and flavorful and remind me of eating late dinners in Catalunya.

Japanese cucumbers. They're at my local farmers' market, and I, as ambivalent as I usually am about cucumbers, have been buying them obsessively. Mostly I quick pickle them with some rice vinegar and salt. They're refreshing and flavorful and have a great, crunchy texture.

Soledad Goat Farm's cheeses. I had them for the first time at the Hollywood farmers' market this year. So creamy and milky. And they let my sister hold their baby goat, Fiona!

Frances in San Francisco. It's the stand-out meal of late that I've had in the Bay Area. I had a vegetarian "cassoulet" (their quotes) that was so unexpectedly flavorful and satisfying I sopped up every last bit of sauce with bread. Beautiful plates. Perfect food. Lovely service. Totally unpretentious. Even the servers' aprons are gorgeous. An all-around winner.

I think I said this last year, but it deserves to be said again: food swaps. I always leave with something I never expect I'll find there. At the last one I attended I saw kanten (Japanese agar and fruit pudding), packages of homemade candy corn, and no-knead pizza dough. I made sprinkles and a blend of za'atar and traded my little heart out. I hightly recommend finding one or starting one in your area!
pierino November 14, 2012
Here's my own recipe using Chris Cosentino's 'nduja;'
Down on the Central Coast, Buona Tavola with locations in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles is making their own version of this Calabrian specialty. Their's is jarred as opposed to a stuffed fat link like Boccalone's.
Erika K. November 12, 2012
My food-related finds of the year:
1. Fried onions -- been around forever, very bad, but taste oh so good. Resolution for 2013: start making them myself!
2. Wheat germ -- see #1. Been using it in place of some of the flour and breadcrumbs in recipes.
3. Tomato concentrate--a real flavor booster. Helps me stick to my "no tomatoes out of season" promise.

4. I'm really impressed with Michael Mina's new Cook Taste Eat site. He paired up with singer Michelle Branch, which seemed weird to me at first but she's a good "average cook" foil to his chefliness. The daily dishes, cooking terms and videos are really nice.
Cathy E. November 11, 2012
Homemade almond or cashew milk, made by the friendly folks at the new OMilk in Brooklyn, or just that you can make it yourself in a big 'ol pot, or with a generic soymilk maker!
virginia W. November 11, 2012
Perhaps my favorite fine -- or better put -- "refind" is Piment d'Espelette. It's more complex than cayenne, but not quite as hot and has the perfect amount of kick. The flavor and texture add both color to the dish. I use it in sauces, soups, and dishes such as creamed spinach.
AntoniaJames November 8, 2012
The truly "Genius" recipe for David Chang's Momofuku's Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette, recently posted here.

Words can't describe how tasty they are. I made them last night and want to make them again today. ;o)
gingerroot November 7, 2012
I have to second hardlikearmour's entry of Mud Puddle Vodka from New Deal Distillery I'm planning to come up with a cocktail featuring it for our holiday party, but may just drink it all myself (heh). I also agree with pierino about Lucky Peach -- every single time it has found its way to my mailbox, my day improves infinitely. It's a fun ride (read). Finally, (sorry, you'll have to visit me in Honolulu for this one) anything from The Pig and the Lady, which pops up all over my hometown – their food, inspired by the rich traditions of Vietnam, Asia and the Pacific is seriously delicious.
petitbleu November 6, 2012
Colloidal silver--it works magic on kitchen burns.
LLStone November 6, 2012
Rancho Gordo beans! I just tried them this year, and have made 3 separate orders - they are so much better than anything I'm able to buy in Southern Indiana. And their spices are excellent as well.
ela_tarantella November 6, 2012
The small tin of organic Pianogrillo extra virgin olive oil from Sicily. Packaging/ cuteness make it a great gift + the size is perfect for a precious finishing oil + I am basically obsessed with the taste, so fresh and fragrant.
Summer O. November 6, 2012
Counter Culture coffee, The Spotted Trotter, smoked cinnamon and 'The Man Who Changed How We Eat'.
Midge November 6, 2012
The crazy yum flatbread sandwiches at Baco Mercat in L.A. (our server summed up some of the combos best when she described one of them as stoner cuisine). Bring a hearty appetite and hope the crispy shrimp/sriracha/chive baco is on the menu.
Miafoodie November 5, 2012
Two, new to me, products I started using this year and just love are:
Fleur de Sel de Guerands, a fine crystal sea salt of fine flavor. It is a 'finishing' salt, you don't cook with it, and Red Boat Fish Sauce which adds a unique dimension to Asian foods, pastas, etc. It is organic and pure, no additives and just two ingredients, anchovies and salt. Yum!
Panfusine November 5, 2012
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi.. One of the best cookbooks I've read this year!
creamtea November 5, 2012
Liberté "Mediterranean" creamy top yogurts. Will spoil you for any others.
Cristina S. November 5, 2012
Oh my goodness, agreed. Their cream cheese is nothing to scoff at either.
creamtea November 6, 2012
Ooh, where can I find their cream cheese?
Cristina S. November 6, 2012
While I can easily find the yogurts at my Brooklyn supermarket, the only time I saw the cream cheese was when I was in Montreal. I think they are a Canadian company, so maybe the cream cheese is available throughout Canada? I'm pretty sure I saw their goat butter at Stinky Brooklyn too, but I haven't tried it.
creamtea November 9, 2012
Yes, definitely Canadian. Wonder if Whole Foods would consider stocking it.
Cristina S. November 9, 2012
I've considered asking my supermarket to carry it too! I really want to try baking with it. (Also, slather it on everything that sits still long enough....)
AntoniaJames November 5, 2012
Kala jeera (a smoky black cumin). Over the next few weeks, time permitting, I'll be posting a few recipes in which I use it. And I'm with pierino on the Korean-American food. I joined a gym earlier this year that's a long block from the best Korean grocery in town. It opens at 7 AM which means I can stop by after leaving the gym early in the morning. It's changed my life, in so many ways. ;o)
Panfusine November 4, 2012
A ghost chili pepper salt from Savory spice shop ( it's amazing when added to anything from Mac and cheese to a spicy martini. The secret ingredient there is a touch of cocoa which adds such an amazing dimension!
creamtea November 4, 2012
Irving Farm Cafe (coffee roaster) on the West Side of Manhattan for pour-overs and cortados. Usually they have a choice of 2 espresso-type roasts for the espresso drinks and two regular roasts for the pour overs or regular brewed coffee. They also serve sm. batch beers, lunch, pastries, but the coffee is the star.
calendargirl November 4, 2012
BlueQ shopping totes for hauling farmers' market bounty or grocery store necessities. These are seriously sturdy, made from oilcloth in fun prints and they are waterproof, are infinitely re-usable, have a flat bottom for standing and a tiny inside pocket for keys or change. (
EmilyC November 4, 2012
Spiegelau beer glasses -- especially the stemmed ones. Good beer, like wine, deserves proper glassware -- and these are perfect.
davidpdx November 4, 2012
Hazelnut Cookies from Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, which I am finally near duplicating thanks to his terrific new book.
calendargirl November 3, 2012
Fresh Paper made by Fenugreen (!home/mainPage)--- a small square of paper towel which is infused with organic spices and which, when placed near produce (fridge, fruit bowl, counter), extends its life several fold. This has revolutionized produce storage in our house.
Key Lime Pears from Recchiuti Confections in San Francisco ( These are paper thin slices of pear, marinated in lime juice and covered in dark chocolate, artfully arranged in a small box. You will hoard them and hide them.
ATG117 November 3, 2012
I've wondered about the fenugreen and how well it worked. I'm finally going to have to check it out.
creamtea November 3, 2012
Camellia Sinensis Tea House in Quebec City. Their Darjeeling Thurbo Estate First Flush. Exquisite. Any of their teas are exquisite. Their delicate tea cups and YiXing teapots. Unbelievable. What a treat, and what a resource. A pot of tea there is an experience. Please don't buy out their Darjeeling, or I won't be able to get any more. Here's their website:
creamtea November 3, 2012
Camellia Sinensis Tea House in Quebec City. Their Darjeeling Thurbo Estate First Flush. Exquisite. Any of their teas are exquisite. Their delicate tea cups and YiXing teapots. Unbelievable. What a treat, and what a resource. A pot of tea there is an experience. Please don't buy out their Darjeeling, or I won't be able to get any more. Here's their website:

Voted the Best Reply!

pierino November 3, 2012
Thanks for reviving the "52". Last year's was way smarter than the Saveur 100 which has had its peaks and valleys.

Here are my recs:
Olio Nuevo from Paso Robles, CA. One of the most interesting food writing projects I've ever worked on was this one Art Kishiyama is a remarkable man. If you read through piece you'll find the link to locate his olive oils. The Japan American National Museum picked this up for it's "Discover Nikkei" project "Itadakimasu" (I hope I spelled that right) which deals with Japanese American contributions to food.

Literature: "Lucky Peach" the quarterly started by the mischievous David Chang and published by McSweeny's. In this reporter's opinion the most important chefs in America right now are Korean-American and Chang is leader of the pack. I don't know when he finds the time to do this stuff but he's managed to bring in some of the most important food minds in the country to contribute to it. Do it Gangnam Style!

Film: A great year for food related documentaries; for example "Hiro Dreams of Sushi."
pierino November 3, 2012
Come to think of it, Korean-American cooking could be a "52" item all by itself.
pierino November 14, 2012
Lucky Peach #5, "Chinatown" just landed in my mailbox today. WAAAYYY Cool. For some reason they sent me two copies, so one of my Lucky friends will be the beneficiary.
Bevi November 3, 2012
Homemade tourtiere pies from Claire's Kitchen in Vermont - they are simply delicious. Farmer Sue's delicious jalapeno jam, also a Vermont product.
creamtea November 6, 2012
oh, I was trying to figure out what torture pies could be. Where are my glasses?
lorigoldsby November 3, 2012
Flavored alder smoked salt...HardLikeArmour introduced me to "The Meadow" when I was in Portland...I use it on asparagus, fish, any place I want a smoky flavor.
luvcookbooks November 3, 2012
Orange Wine for Halloween-- it's white wine that is made partially with the grape skins(white wine usually without skins). It's amber to orange and available at 67Wine on Columbus and 67th.
QueenSashy November 2, 2012
I am seriously addicted to savory jellies from Berkshire Berries
I buy them every week at the Union Square market in NYC. Cannot live without their hot garlic jelly, horseradish jelly, red pepper jelly and green pepper jelly. 

Devangi R. November 2, 2012
I wonderful new wine that we tried recently called "Spodee" . There are so many ways to dress up this wine and enjoy it. Spodee and Sody, equal parts coke and spodee and another favourite "Spodee and Joe". Here's a link -
hardlikearmour November 2, 2012
This is telling as the best new things I've found this year are mostly liquor related!
1. Pacific Rum from Bull Run Distillery
2. Mud Puddle Vodka - intensely chocolately but not sweet - from New Deal Distillery
3. Chardons! A crazy booze-filled chocolate covered candy from Pix Patisserie. Scroll down the page to see how they're made.
4. Rojo Chiquito beans from Haricot Farms in Washington State - really great small red beans!
fiveandspice November 2, 2012
Yay liquor, hehe! (you should check out this: ;)
Midge November 4, 2012
Way to go, fiveandspice! You guys don't waste any time.
fiveandspice November 4, 2012
Heehee. Thanks Midge! We figure we'll sleep when we retire.
mrslarkin November 14, 2012
oh my goodness fiveandspice! That is Big News! Congrats!
fiveandspice November 2, 2012
Fried eggs with kimchi! It's amazing and now my breakfast pretty much every other day.
Greenstuff November 2, 2012
Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid and tea leaf salad--to celebrate the end of sanctions and new hopes in Burma/Myanmar
Sadassa_Ulna November 2, 2012
"The Art of Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz.
petitbleu November 2, 2012
Sorghum syrup! It's better than molasses, and many southern producers still mill the cane with draft horses and boil it over a wood fire. It's also highly regional--sorghum syrup varies from farm to farm.
Louisa November 26, 2012
Sorghum is the best--more delicate than molasses, and delicious in recipes, great with cornbread. My family's favorite is Oberholtzer's from Liberty, Kentucky--real, not a blend. And Kentucky has lots of other good sorghums.
Kitchen B. November 2, 2012
I couldn't live without homemade vanilla powder:
Cristina S. November 1, 2012
1. Spicy n' Sweet tomato sauce; it's just the best (
2. The rice krispy treats at Stinky Brooklyn (made with sea salt and brown butter)
3. The very informative wine classes at Brooklyn Wine Exchange (free if you are a member)
4. Buzzard Crest’s grape juice (you will never be able to drink another grape juice again)
5. Lunch in Paris; Elizabeth Bard
sexyLAMBCHOPx November 1, 2012
Powdered Buttermilk - had no idea this existed until the hotline.
linzarella November 1, 2012
Fried eggs with sizzling vinegar!
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