Fine restaurants and specialty food shops may be closed, but the coronavirus hasn't stopped Bay Area makers from producing the finest staples around.
From exceptional olive oils to tart vinegars and sweet jams, these long-lasting goodies will give your pandemic pantry a much-needed upgrade.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
PRMRY's exceptional extra virgin olive oil is the brainchild of trained olive oil tasters Erin Ridley and Janell Pekkain who set out to produce EVOO that doesn't just taste incredible but that is easy to choose, use and enjoy. With two styles to choose from—Enhance, a medium intensity olive oil that elevates the flavors in a dish, and Transform, a robust olive oil meant to stand out—PRMRY's quality-certified EVOO will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about this pantry staple. // helloprmry.com
Spices, Salts & Rubs
Though their Oakland and Albany shops are temporarily closed, Oaktown Spice Shop is still freshly grinding the best-tasting herbs, salts, and chilis for sale online. Restock basics like basil and oregano or experiment with less common flavors like organic lavender flowers, sumac, and Aleppo chiles. Flavor-enhanced salts (ghost chile pepper sea salt, anyone?) peppercorns, and blends like Grand Lake Shake kick everyday foods up a notch. // oaktownspiceshop.com
McVicker's garlic dill pickles are everything a pickle should be: tangy and spicy with a classic crunch. Stock up on the real thing or try your hand at making your own: McVicker's Pickles also sells a Pickle in Place Kit which includes a copy of brinemaster Kelly McVicker's new book, Essential Vegetable Fermentation. // mcvickerpickles.com
Inna's artisan jams are made from fresh, seasonal fruits all sourced from within 150 miles of their Emeryville-based kitchen. Dress up toast, pancakes and cheese plates with classics like boysenberry and triple crown blackberry or stand-out flavors like rhubarb jam, jalapeño jam, Meyer lemon marmalade, and plum chutney made with mustard and bay laurel. // innajam.com
If your pantry has a tahini-sized space to fill, Obour Foods has the solution. Their tahini varieties, which include date, pomegranate and grape-molasses, are earthy, nutty and oh so comforting. Add some to a pot of quarantine (garbanzo) beans or eggplant for chef-quality Mediterranean dips at home. // obourfoods.com
Suisun Valley's Katz Farm uses local wines, apples, honey and grapes to produce their award winning tart-but-sweet vinegars. Made in a historic stone carriage house on their ranch using the traditional Orleans method, Katz's Late Harvest Viognier Honey Vinegar, Sparkling Wine Vinegar, and Gravenstein Apple Cider Vinegar are complex, unadulterated and an excellent addition to summer salads. // katzfarm.com
West Marin's olive-and-wine producing McEvoy Ranch crafts flavorful tapenades that work perfectly as dips, smeared on bruschetta, paired with meats or stuffed in roasted veggies. Their Provencal-style spreads, California-style takes on French classics, include an artichoke and almond version and a spicy green olive one made with dried chilis. // mcevoyranch.com
The South Bay–based Honey Ladies run a genius hybrid company that offers bee removal services, rents hives to the bee-curious, and harvests a rainbow of raw, unfiltered Grade A honeys. The sweet elixir comes from more than 600 hives around the Bay Area and is sold according to what type of flower or plant the bees prefer to pollinate. Each of their varieties, including avocado honey, orange blossom honey and even poison oak honey, have unique flavor profiles that are simultaneously familiar and surprising. // thehoneyladies.com
Cheese & Charcuterie
It's always a good idea to have a little something special in the pantry for evenings in need of an easy DIY celebration. Board at Home is one of a handful of companies to emerge from the craziness of the coronavirus moment to connect Northern California's artisan producers and stuck-at-home food lovers. Their shelf-stable cheese-and-charcuterie "plates" include wine from Schug Carneros Estate Winery, cheese from Wm. Cofield and Tomales Farmstead Creamery, charcuterie from Ryan Creek Root Cellars, and chocolate from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. // boardathome.org
Add a bit of elegance to your pantry with Jordan Winery's Chef's Reserve Caviar. This 2018 Good Food Awards Winner cures Tsar Nicolaui's sustainably farm-raised Northern California white sturgeon caviar with salt water and kombu harvested by Jordan chef Todd Knoll from the Sonoma Coast. Pair the nutty, umami-rich treat with champagne or chardonnay and check out Jordan's website for recipe ideas. // jordanwinery.com