Support food and cooking related small businesses this year! Here’s a list of some of our favorites, along with a great way to donate delicious meals to communities in need.
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We all know 2020 has been a very tough year, to say the least!
This year I’m sharing a handful of some of our favorite cooking and food related small businesses. It’s always a good idea to shop from small businesses, and right now it’s more important than ever. So many of them are struggling to keep their doors open.
These are all fabulous businesses with so many wonderful things to choose from. I’ve had first hand experience with most of them, and others have been praised by friends who have.
**The photo credit for all of the below images goes to the sites they’re linked to, unless otherwise stated.**
I’ve been supporting the Pepper Project for several years. Ever since I first tried their Kampot pepper, it’s the only kind I fill my pepper mill with. A certified organic product, it’s incredibly aromatic, pungent, bold, bright and delicious.“Pepper Project is devoted to bringing the unique products of Cambodia to the United States, including pepper from the Kampot region of southwestern Cambodia. Kampot Pepper has long been used in the finest restaurants of Europe and our goal is to make it available at an affordable price in the U.S.” A portion of the proceeds go toward supporting worthy causes in Cambodia. (More about this is here.)In addition to the pepper, Pepper Project also sells home goods, clothing, jewelry, bags and accessories.
Located in Chinatown, this is the only cookbook store in Los Angeles. Owned by couple Ken Concepcion and Michelle Mungcal, the 475-square-foot space opened in 2017. Since then it’s been LA’s go-to source for chefs and cookbook fans. When COVID hit, they transitioned to an online platform where they have an incredible, unique collection of books and magazines from around the world. Now Serving also carries gorgeous ceramics, pantry items like spices and olive oils, greeting cards, kitchen tools, aprons and gift cards. I love this place!photo credit: LA Downtowner, where you can also read much more about this business.
The Good Liver
Truly a one-of-a-kind place (in person & online), The Good Liver features household goods, office supplies (not as you imagine them!), and apothecary products. I’ve been to this shop, located in Downtown, Los Angeles, a couple of times and could browse all day. (And it’s not big!) The owner, Bert Youn, sources from around the world, mostly items he discovered himself in Europe and Japan. While every item in the shop has function, they’re also beautiful. It’s like being in a small museum.I read in The Shopkeepers that Bert “emphasizes the story and history that goes into creating each item.” You can learn more about this unique store there, too.
Gianni’s Fine Foods
Husband and wife team, John and Jackie Spenger, make small-batch, artisan, handcrafted, barrel aged balsamic vinegars and dressings. From Fig-Vanilla Dark Balsamic to Tuscan Herb-Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette, everything I’ve tried has been incredible!
“Monsoon Chocolate is an award-winning chocolate maker and confectioner based in Tucson, Arizona. Drawing inspiration from local ingredients, they transform transparently-sourced cacao from all over the world into craft chocolate bars, confections, desserts, and beverages.” These phenomenal chocolates are truly beautiful — each piece is a work of art!
Developed by chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal, Brooklyn Delhi sells delicious condiments and sauces inspired by Indian culinary traditions. From Tomato Achar (Indian-Tomato Chili Sauce) and Coconut Cashew Korma, to Curry Mustard and Curry Ketchup, there’s a delicious treat here for everyone.
California Avocados Direct
Grown on a family farm in Escondido, California, these avocados are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. In fact, I wrote about them here the first time I tried them. You can gift a box of them, or even a monthly subscription. They come beautifully packaged and everyone is delighted to receive them.
Toque Blanche Kitchen Store
Toque Blanche is the premier kitchenware store in Santa Cruz, California. Whenever I’ve been in the area, I check it out, and have always found things I love. There are great kitchen tools for both professional and home chefs. Toque Blanche carries Le Creuset, Bauer, Emile Henry and Oxo. They have a big online store, and also offer gift cards.
Owned by a friend of Cocoa and Lavender, one of my favorite food blogs, this store offers a delicious taste of the Southwest! “Desert Provisions is a purveyor of salt, spices, and specialty foods. We source the best of what the desert has to offer to bring you chile powders, salt blends, and Sonoran Sea Salt. Loved by chefs, home cooks, and food enthusiasts, Desert Provisions is perfect for gifts or for everyday kitchen use.” Desert Provisions sells beautifully packaged gift bundles as well. I especially love the Holiday 2020: Savory Desert Baking Box, which even includes recipes.
Love from New Zealand
My friend Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious has a few favorites from this fantastic store. She said the Heilala Vanilla is “the finest she’s ever used,” and Pic’s Peanut Butter “will spoil you for any other brand.”“Love from New Zealand takes you on a journey. We take you beyond the products and give you a unique look into the stories and locations from where these delightful goods originate. Browse the products, read the stories of the folks who made them, and then have them delivered straight to your door!”
DeLuscious Cookies & Milk
DeLuscious is one of my go-to places for delivery for all of my celebratory, mood-lifting and birthday gifts. I mean c’mon, how delightful is it to have absolutely delicious, freshly baked cookies and milk delivered to your door? (You can of course send gifts without the milk, too.)“Whether you want something classic or couture, vegan or gluten-free, the driving force behind each category is a deeply-rooted desire to please.”
My friend Jeanne of The Jolly Tomato told me about this small, family owned olive orchard in Santa Barbara. She’s worked with their oils in recipes and loves them.
“From the sun-drenched mountainside of Santa Barbara, it is a privilege to share our 100% extra virgin olive oil with you. CUT1886 is a true labor of love — from tending to each tree in our certified organic olive orchards, to harvesting by hand with our finest and favorite tools.”
The gift cards are fantastic because people can use them to purchase oil right after a batch is bottled.This olive orchard also produces tea! Please also check out . . . .
“Steep Echo is a collection of the finest all-natural olive leaf teas. Using timeless practices, we have crafted five uniquely sophisticated and delicious blends. Each tea combines natural immune-boosting ingredients with hand-harvested organic olive leaves to enhance healthy living.”These teas come wrapped beautifully and make for a fabulous gift!
And if you feel so inclined, through the World Central Kitchen, you can donate meals to communities in need. (You can also dedicate a donation to someone.)World Central Kitchen – DONATE
“World Central Kitchen is a non-profit organization addressing food insecurity during and after natural disasters and humanitarian crises, while also operating long-term programs aimed at improving livelihoods by strengthening local food ecosystems. Founded in 2010 by Chef Jose Andres following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, World Central Kitchen has since served more than 8 million meals to those affected by disasters.
**The photo credit for all of the above images goes to the sites they’re linked to, unless otherwise stated.**