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Alexander Valley Sauerkraut

Melanie Wong Oct 28, 2007 10:14 PM

Been loving the Manhattan-style pickles made by Alexander Valley, and have had my eye on the fresh, raw sauerkraut to try next. Last week I made a killer Alsatian style choucroute garnie with the sauerkraut. While much of its success goes to the sausage source (Willowside Meats), there's no question that the sauerkraut deserves kudos too. Salt-cured with a delicate tang, the sauerkraut soaked up and served as the carrier of the flavors from the melange of ingredients.

My supply came from Fiesta Market in Sebastopol. I've also spotted it at Big John's in Healdsburg. Both stock it in the refrigerator case with the pickle selection.

http://alvalgourmet.com/retailers.html

Posts on the pickles:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36051
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/334240
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/354390

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Fiesta Market
550 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol, CA 95472

Big John's Market
1345 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

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  1. rworange RE: Melanie Wong Oct 28, 2007 10:32 PM

    Thanks for the tip. I've been craving a dish with saurkraut lately. When I get up to Sonoma I'll check out Sonoma Market since they carry those pickles I love.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange
      rworange RE: rworange Nov 7, 2007 08:53 AM

      None at Sonoma Market, just the pickles. They did say if you ask they will probably order it. I don't get up to that way often enough, but anyone who is in Sonoma, doesn't hurt to ask.

    2. kare_raisu RE: Melanie Wong Oct 29, 2007 06:30 AM

      Ive wondered about these pickles since seeing them at Pacific Market in Santa Rosa. Thanks for the right up - deserves a try.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kare_raisu
        rworange RE: kare_raisu Oct 29, 2007 07:30 AM

        If you don't want to commit to a jar ... but they are really great ... the fig pantry in Sonoma sells single Alexander Valley pickles in the deli.

        1. re: rworange
          rworange RE: rworange Nov 7, 2007 08:54 AM

          The fig pantry no longer carries Alexander Valley pickles.

      2. ChowFun_derek RE: Melanie Wong Oct 29, 2007 09:23 AM

        As I have written...these pickles are fantastic! They are as close to NY pickles from a barrel that I have tasted..here in N. Calif. I ALWAYS keep a container of them in my fridge.
        Here in S.F. I have found them in the refrigerator case in Whole Foods and recently in Molly Stones!

        I have NOT seen the sauerkraut, but I will DEFINITELY ask these markets to get some, we'll see how responsive they are!
        Thanks Melanie!

        1. megek RE: Melanie Wong Oct 29, 2007 09:08 PM

          I just experienced the pickles for the first time, and now you tell me there is kraut too! I have been looking for the pickles in the east bay for some time - finally spotted them at the Andronico's on Shattuck (at the back end of the dairy aisle, near the meat counter). Keeping my fingers crossed they have the kraut too! Thanks.

          8 Replies
          1. re: megek
            Pollo RE: megek Nov 7, 2007 09:18 AM

            Where can I get the s-kraut in the Bay Area???....WF has only pickles....

            1. re: Pollo
              Melanie Wong RE: Pollo Nov 7, 2007 09:40 AM

              Per my original post, Big John's and Fiesta have the sauerkraut on the shelf. Oddly, the company's website doesn't mention the sauerkraut, only the pickles. Maybe it's a special order for other stores.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                Pollo RE: Melanie Wong Nov 7, 2007 09:48 AM

                Yes, but is there anything local?...i.e. Oakland/Berkely?

                1. re: Pollo
                  Melanie Wong RE: Pollo Nov 7, 2007 09:51 AM

                  Thanks for clarifying your town, as everything discussed on this board is the "Bay Area".

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    Pollo RE: Melanie Wong Nov 7, 2007 09:56 AM

                    I don't think Sebastopol or Healdsburg qualify as Bay Area?

                    1. re: Pollo
                      Melanie Wong RE: Pollo Nov 7, 2007 10:20 AM

                      The San Francisco Bay Area is comprised of nine counties, including Sonoma County where both Healdsburg and Sebastopol are located.
                      http://www.abag.ca.gov/abag/local_gov...
                      That's the definition used for defining this board as well. For whatever reason, the cities identified at the top of the SF Bay Area board don't mention anywhere in Solano, Contra Costa or San Mateo counties.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        Pollo RE: Melanie Wong Nov 7, 2007 11:57 AM

                        OK, OK....but is there anywhere "closer" where the s-kraut can be had?

                  2. re: Pollo
                    Mission RE: Pollo Dec 19, 2008 12:03 PM

                    I found both the A.V. Kraut and the pickles at Village Market in Oakland

                    Bought both today.

                    Near the front of the store under the hotdog and sausage cooler.

                    5885 Broadway terrace

                    94618

                    510 547 3200

            2. h
              hibiscuits RE: Melanie Wong Nov 7, 2007 10:13 AM

              And don't miss the "Outrageous" Bread and Butter pickles which really are just that - outrageously delicious - I must try the sauerkraut next...

              1 Reply
              1. re: hibiscuits
                Melanie Wong RE: hibiscuits Nov 7, 2007 10:21 AM

                Those are next on my list too. Not usually my style, but all reports I've heard have been like yours.

              2. s
                SteveG RE: Melanie Wong Nov 7, 2007 10:50 AM

                Can anyone chime in on the relative quality of Bubbies sauerkraut compared to Alexander Valley Sauerkraut? We get Bubbies in bulk at Rainbow Grocery, or in jars at Bryan's or Calmart in Laurel Village. My impression was Bubbies is very home-grown and local, but the "about" section on their web site indicates the cute old lady on the label is a marketing creation and they're in national distribution.

                10 Replies
                1. re: SteveG
                  Pollo RE: SteveG Nov 8, 2007 05:06 PM

                  Come on people....will I have to drive 40+ miles for the s-kraut?

                  1. re: Pollo
                    rworange RE: Pollo Jan 20, 2008 07:26 PM

                    Yes ... yes I can compare the two.

                    Bubbies is not in the same class.

                    Napa Whole Foods sells Alexander Valley Saurkraut and their whole pickle line.

                    The saurkraut is $4.29 for a big tub and worth every penny and more. I actually have had to stop myself from eating it plain.

                    Nice crisp crunch, fresh taste and not overly salted. The best kraut I've had in my life ... which is consistant with the pickles which are in the top-tier of any pickles I've tried.

                    1. re: rworange
                      ChowFun_derek RE: rworange Jan 20, 2008 10:27 PM

                      I TOTALLY agree about Alexander Valley Pickles...there's always a container in my fridge. I still have been unable to find the sauerkraut in S.F....has anyone found it here??!!

                      1. re: ChowFun_derek
                        rworange RE: ChowFun_derek Jan 20, 2008 11:23 PM

                        Since at least one Whole Foods carries it, maybe you can ask your local Whole Foods to get some in.

                        1. re: ChowFun_derek
                          Candice RE: ChowFun_derek Feb 21, 2008 11:38 AM

                          Rainbow has the pickles, you might give them a try. Personally, the tub of Alexander Valley pickles I got was not to my liking at all. I was really excited to try them and they had a strong off taste. Don't know if I got a bad batch or what but it was a bummer since I bought a whole tub of them.

                          I get my pickles and fresh kraut from New World on Geary.

                          1. re: Candice
                            Robert Lauriston RE: Candice Feb 21, 2008 11:48 AM

                            Sounds like an over-the-hill batch. Salt-fermented pickles have a limited shelf life.

                    2. re: SteveG
                      Melanie Wong RE: SteveG Dec 4, 2007 08:29 PM

                      I don't recall trying Bubbies sauerkraut. I have had Boar's Head sauerkraut from the refrigerated deli case in recent years and I prefer Alexander Valley's.

                      Also wanted to mention that my friends who helped eat the choucroute bought some of the sauerkraut at Big John's a couple weeks ago. They said that it was too fresh, tasting mostly salty with little tang, and wasn't as good as the batch I used. I also reminded them that my dish had a half bottle of their RRV Pinot Gris to give it more oomph. (g)

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        i
                        iwantmytwodollars RE: Melanie Wong Jan 20, 2008 09:41 PM

                        Not to be a dolt, but is the Alexander Valley sauerkraut related to the winery, or does it happen to just originate from that area?

                        Also: which choucroute recipe did you use?

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          j
                          jimtak RE: Melanie Wong Jan 23, 2008 12:31 PM

                          Finding AV sauerkraut allowed me to make a great version of Varsakluge -
                          Transylvanian layered cabbage, which I learned from the old NYT International cookbook when I was a student in NYC. AV sauerkraut is fresh, not bottled, and has been kept cool. Their AV pickles brought me back to the pickle barrels on the Upper West Side. Now if I could only find corned tongue....

                          1. re: jimtak
                            wolfe RE: jimtak Jan 23, 2008 12:46 PM

                            jimtak
                            Can this help?
                            "Ms. Rever still loves tongue, but now she makes sure to slice it before sending it to the table. She cooks only pickled tongue, and only from Wasserman & Lemberger in Baltimore." nytimes 2007
                            Wasserman and Lemberger. 7006-D Reisterstown Road. Baltimore, MD 21215. Tel: (410) 486-4191.
                            Probably don't call Friday night or Saturday.

                      2. rworange RE: Melanie Wong Feb 20, 2008 10:07 PM

                        I was looking at the menu for BarberQ in Napa and they serve hot dogs with Alexander Valley Saurkraut. Here's the menu (pdf)
                        http://www.barbersq.com/pdf/BarBersQ_...

                        It's also a hot dog I haven't tried before ... Long Meadow Ranch Grass-Fed Beef Dog,

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rworange
                          s
                          SteveG RE: rworange Feb 21, 2008 11:22 AM

                          Long Meadow Ranch raises Scottish cattle--I've wanted to try their stuff for a while.

                        2. Robert Lauriston RE: Melanie Wong Feb 21, 2008 11:38 AM

                          Any sightings yet in the Berkeley / Oakland area? Anybody tried to order through Whole Foods?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            w
                            wally RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 21, 2008 12:19 PM

                            Andronico's on Shattuck has the pickles, not the sauerkraut.

                            1. re: wally
                              lexdevil RE: wally Feb 21, 2008 02:56 PM

                              Same story w/ the produce market at the Market Hall. I asked them to look into carrying the sauerkraut.

                          2. ChowFun_derek RE: Melanie Wong Aug 13, 2008 01:04 AM

                            I just found the saurekraut at Golden Health food on Church across from the Market St. Safeway...it is really excellent..quite home made tasting with a great crunchy texture!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChowFun_derek
                              Melanie Wong RE: ChowFun_derek Aug 13, 2008 06:16 PM

                              Glad you liked the product after searching for so long!

                              -----
                              Golden Produce
                              172 Church St, San Francisco, CA

                            2. augustiner RE: Melanie Wong Aug 13, 2008 03:54 AM

                              i thought about this thread the other day but forgot. good to see it updated. i wanted to add that i've been seeing alexander valley sauerkraut at rainbow grocery in SF for awhile now, though i haven't made a point of trying it myself. it was mentioned before that the AV pickles were available, but i think at the time the kraut was not. i had a nice pork goulash dish at walzwerk the other night, full of tender cubes of pork with all the sweetness of paprika stewed with sauerkraut in the stew, and i have my eyes on this kraut for fall and winter cooking.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: augustiner
                                ChowFun_derek RE: augustiner Aug 13, 2008 10:37 AM

                                It seems to have the perfect texture for further cooking in various dishes, and the dish you had ar Walzwerk sounds GREAT!

                              2. augustiner RE: Melanie Wong Nov 28, 2008 03:27 AM

                                on the promise of a polish-american flavored thanksgiving involving pierogis and other eastern european treats, i decided to bring a dish of braised sauerkraut, flavored with slab bacon, onion, caraway, juniper, mustard seed, and black peppercorns.

                                i used this opportunity to avail myself of alexander valley's kraut. plucking strands of cabbage from the tub, i noted the subtleness and vibrancy of the product, finally. i grabbed two tubs from rainbow grocery in the city. it's almost like the difference between kimchi out of a barrel, freshly made, or poured out of a vacuum sealed bag. you know those jars of ripe as hell factory kraut that make so many people unbelievers? they should try this.

                                the pierogis were never made, and my friend set the handle of his le creuset dutch oven lid on fire. the kugel...kuge...i don't remember. eastern european potato bacon loaf?...came out way after everyone was done eating. so the polish/eastern european element wasn't really present at the meal.

                                but i was proud of my sauerkraut, because while many looked at it in fear and skipped past it, all of the polish-americans and the rest of the chicago crowd gave loud praise to my kraut. but i can't take all the credit. alexander valley makes an exceptional product. i'm feeling up to a big alsatian choucroute garnie. this stuff is a gem.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: augustiner
                                  wolfe RE: augustiner Nov 28, 2008 05:08 AM

                                  Perhaps you and Jason can get together.
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/571800

                                  1. re: augustiner
                                    ChowFun_derek RE: augustiner Nov 28, 2008 10:33 AM

                                    It's great stuff isn't it?!! ...and their New York pickles are "the best" here in the Bay area!

                                    1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                      Mission RE: ChowFun_derek Dec 19, 2008 12:11 PM

                                      I found both the Alexander Valley's Kraut and the pickles at Village Market in Oakland

                                      Bought both today.

                                      Near the front of the store under the hotdog and sausage cooler.

                                      5885 Broadway terrace

                                      94618

                                      1. re: Mission
                                        oakjoan RE: Mission Dec 19, 2008 01:14 PM

                                        Ooooh, I'm getting in the car right now. Haven't been to the Village Market for a million years. Didn't even know it still existed.

                                        Btw, I had a great dinner of sausages, sauerkraut and boiled spuds at Walzwerk couple of months ago - absolutely delicious. My husband kept trying to steal bites from my plate despite my smacking his hand repeatedly.

                                        1. re: Mission
                                          oakjoan RE: Mission Dec 19, 2008 01:23 PM

                                          I make an ersatz Choucroute Garni with Saags smoked pork chops, whatever good sauerkraut I can find (I HATE Bubbie's products - after tasting those flaccid pickles, bleah! I'll never pay them money again despite all their adverts), carrots, new potatoes and onions.

                                          1. re: oakjoan
                                            Mission RE: oakjoan Dec 19, 2008 02:39 PM

                                            If you have not been to Village market in a while you will be Surprised!

                                            Its very upscale and has been greatly renovated.

                                            Lots of Gourmet foods,Fresh BBQ and Pre made food to take home and eat.

                                            Prices can be rather high on some products.

                                            Same owner though.

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