The Northern California Pantry
Get ready for a Kitchen overhaul!
Grab your recycled grocery bag because we’re going shopping—for the best locally made products we can find. Sure, we want to support Northern California’s artisanal food producers, but more importantly, we want delicious and healthy food in our pantry. Here is the bounty we collected from the aisles of some of our favorite grocery stores. Happy fixing!
1. Cupboard Staples
Like your little black dress, these tried-and-true basics work no matter what the situation calls for.
(From left to right)
Transform your sandwiches with Brentwood’s Frog Hollow Farm’s nectarine conserve and Chico’s Maisie Jane’s almond butter. $7.95 and $12.49, found at Draeger’s Market Blackhawk; froghollow.com, maisiejanes.com.
Guittard’s baking chocolate from Burlingame comes in bittersweet, semisweet, and unsweetened. $7.50, found at The Pasta Shop; guittard.com.
Darkhorse Specialty Foods’ smoked brown sugar, made in Petaluma, makes a perfect marinade or rub for salmon. $15.50, found at Draeger’s Market Blackhawk; thesmokedolive.com.
Gary and Kit’s dark chocolate sea salt caramels and dark chocolate almonds are made in Napa. $12 each, found at Oakville Grocery; cliffamilywinery.com.
Rumor is that a Napa Valley farmer took a cookie cutter to his pickled beets to make Heart Beets for his wife. $15, found at Oakville Grocery; farmerbobsnapavalley.com.
Hand-harvested in Lafayette, Capay Olive Oil has a fruity start and a subtly spicy finish. $19.99, found at Diablo Foods; capayoaksfarm.com.
Napa Valley’s Katz’s late harvest Sauvignon Blanc vinegar is great for deglazing pans. $11.95, found at The Pasta Shop; katzandco.com.
Dublin-sourced Laxmi’s Delights’ sweet spiced roasted walnuts are perfect for baking. $8.99, found at Draeger’s Market Blackhawk; laxmisdelights.com.
Foraged in California, Napa’s Wine Forest Foods’ dried chanterelles add flavor to risottos. $11.95, found at The Pasta Shop; wineforest.com.
Made in Hamilton City, Massa Organics’ California whole-grain brown rice is 100 percent organic and tender while preserving a nutty bite. $4.75, found at The Pasta Shop; massaorganics.com.
Both Alice Waters and Michael Pollan favor Omnivore Salt, made in San Francisco. $13.99, found at Draeger’s Market Blackhawk; omnivoresalt.com.
2. That’s Italian
Forget the imports—local food producers deliver goods that rival the offerings from europe, without the mileage.
Present Cici’s handmade Italian butterhorns and watch them fly off the table. $8.49, found at Diablo Foods; cicisitalianbutterhorns.com.
(From left to right)
Founded by former Oliveto chef Paul Bertolli, Berkeley’s Fra’Mani uses Old World techniques for its spicy dry salame Calabrese. $8.95, found at The Pasta Shop; framani.com.
Whole wheat pasta spirals from Ancient Agro in Cupertino are made from organic stone-ground Sonora wheat flour. $6.49, found at Gene’s Fine Foods; ancientagro.com.
A Sebastiani family recipe, Nonni’s Special Arrabiata pasta sauce from Sonoma’s Mia’s Kitchen is made arrostiti style, with roasted red bell peppers. $9.49, found at Draeger’s Market Blackhawk; miaskitchen.com.
The 2013 Private Stock Chardonnay from Martinez’s Viano Vineyards is made from grapes harvested in an area that reminds the winemakers of their vineyards in Piedmont, Italy. $6.50, found at Diablo Foods; vianovineyards.com.
Napa Cakes’ apricot almond panforte is made with dried fruits from California. $26.95, found at The Pasta Shop; napacakespanforte.com.
Community Grains’ hard amber durum pappardelle pasta, made by the team at Oliveto, is 100 percent sourced from California and milled without separating the grain, which produces a more nutritious pasta. $5.95, found at The Pasta Shop; communitygrains.com.
Cici’s handmade Italian butterhorns from Berkeley are hand rolled from light buttery dough and filled with cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts. $8.49, found at Diablo Foods; cicisitalianbutterhorns.com.
3. Global Influences
Kick dinners up a notch,with zesty sauces and filling staples inspired by countries around the world. these easy-to-make starters and mains offer big-time flavor for minimal effort.
For a fiery appetizer, try dipping baguette or vegetable slices into olive oil and KL Keller Food Ways’ dukkah. $5.50, found at The Pasta Shop; klkellerfoodways.com.
(From left to right)
Sahara Afghani Gourmet Foods’ kadoo borani, produced in Dublin, is seasoned with authentic Afghani spices and served with a tangy yogurt sauce. $6.99, found at Whole Foods Walnut Creek; saharagourmet.com.
Livermore’s Egyptian Dish adds shatta—a Middle Eastern hot sauce made with cayenne pepper, red pepper, coriander, and vinegar—to its spicy hummus. $3.29, found at Gene’s Fine Foods; egyptiandish.weebly.com.
Dukkah, a savory blend of Egyptian spices made by KL Keller Food Ways in Oakland, works as both an appetizer dip with olive oil and a seasoning rub. $5.50, found at The Pasta Shop; klkellerfoodways.com.
The food purveyor at Diablo Foods drives to Napa to stock La Morenita’s tortilla chips—lightly flavored with salt and lime, and perfect for dunking into salsa and guacamole. $4.99, found at Diablo Foods.
Thick and charmingly irregular, Mi Abuelita Bonita’s fresh tortillas are made in Sacramento, and come in traditional flour and corn varieties, as well as flavors such as green chili, blue corn, and garlic butter. $2.59, found at Diablo Foods.
Use Casa Linda Kitchens’ authentic enchilada sauce, made in Pittsburg, to smother chicken or cheese enchiladas. $6.99, found at Draeger’s Market Blackhawk.
Perfect for winter chilis and soups, Rancho Gordo’s Santa Maria pinquitos are an heirloom variety grown in Napa. $7.50, found at The Pasta Shop; ranchogordo.com.
Oakland-based Nona Lim makes healthy eating easy by creating mix-and-match products like Vietnamese pho broth and laksa noodles. You can add your own vegetables for a vegan and gluten-free meal. $7.99 and $3.99, found at Whole Foods Walnut Creek; nonalim.com.
4. Easy Entertaining
Want to participate in your gathering, instead of slaving away in the kitchen? the next time you have company, reach for these simple-to-make starters: Just unwrap, arrange, and enjoy.
Slice up Noci Foods’ walnut terrazzo, made in Pleasant Hill, for a luxurious treat. $15.99, found at Whole Foods Walnut Creek; nocifoods.com.
(From left to right)
Produced in El Cerrito, Oren’s Kitchen’s wild rosemary almonds combine locally grown California almonds and wild rosemary sprigs for a simple, striking snack. $7.75, found at The Pasta Shop; orenskitchen.com.
As the Santa Cruz company’s name suggests, Friend in Cheeses Jam Company’s onion jam is specifically designed to be paired with cheese, and works particularly well with Parmigiano-Reggiano or Point Reyes blue cheese. $11.50, found at The Pasta Shop; friendincheeses.com.
Rustic Bakery’s sourdough flatbread, flavored with sweet onion and crème fraîche, and panforte crostini are made by hand in Marin County, with all organic ingredients. $6.95 each, found at The Pasta Shop; rusticbakery.com.
A single cheesemaker operation, Petaluma’s Andante Dairy produces triple-cream goat and cow’s milk cheeses, like this picolo variety. $9.99, found at Whole Foods Walnut Creek; andantedairy.com.
Napa Valley Distillery’s seasonal barrel-aged cocktails, like the mint julep pictured, are made with the distiller’s spirits and infused with fresh herbs sourced from Napa. $30, found at Oxbow Public Market; napadistillery.com.
Pair Clif Family Kitchen’s toasted coconut and cashew mixed nuts, made in Napa and sprinkled with red chili pepper flakes, with a Riesling or Chardonnay for your next gathering. $8, cliffamilywinery.com.
Diablo Foods: 3615 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-0737, diablofoods.com.
Draeger’s Market Blackhawk: 4100 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., Danville, (925) 648-5800, draegers.com.
Gene’s Fine Foods: 2803 Hopyard Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 846-8220, genesfinefoods.org.
Oakville Grocery: 124 Matheson, Healdsburg, (707) 433-3200; 7856 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville, (707) 944-8802, oakvillegrocery.com.
Oxbow Public Market: 610 and 644 First St., Napa, (707) 226-6529, oxbowpublicmarket.com.
Whole Foods Walnut Creek: 1333 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 274-9700, wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/walnutcreek.