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Jan 25, 2008 11:49 AM

Bay Area Food Gems see list

I found this site while searching organic foods and came across this, I am always suprised by how many great food gems we have. I am curious to know what others have tried from this list and comments, see link-

I just tried the Bellwether Sheeps Milk Yogurt- they carry it at the new Golden Market on Church, its so delish.
Pâtisserie Angelica- cakes are so yummy and beatiful
Alexander Valley Pickles - quit good
I eat way too much of the Primavera,tamales and tortillas

There are a bunch of other things I have had but the above have been most recent.

I am curious about-
Organic Ghee made from Straus Family Butter
Point Reyes Preserves, saw this up in Point Reyes Station, its expensive.
Fiorello's Gelatos - Marin
Phoenix Pastificio's-Sweet Pea Ravioli in Berkeley

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  1. I've had Phoenix's sweet pea ravioli and they are indeed delicious -- expensive, but worth it for the occasional splurge.

    1 Reply
    1. Thanks. Good to see someone looking beyond the ossified list of usual suspects. Being a fan of aged chevres, I'd love to get my hands on the year-old goat cheese. Has anyone seen Two Rock Valley products in SF?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Xiao Yang

        Well not at Say Cheese nor Rainbow Grocery.. Perhaps the Beverly Hills Cheese shop they have everything. Maybe one of the most upsacel markets in Petaluma.

        1. re: Lori SF

          I did find an eyebrow-raising parmesan-like Tomme de Chevre from Redwood Hill Farms (maybe they sould be on the list, too) at the FPFM today but I'm looking for something semi-soft like Chevre Noir.

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            I like Tomme de Chèvre from Redwood Hill, they make a quality chesse.

            I like Haystack Mountain Goat cheese from Boulder, Co. They have a Chèvre en Marinade that is nice, a marinade in olive oil and herbs. Whole Foods and Wild Oats carries their Chèvre.

            check this Québec site- maybe they know where a Chèvre Noir is sold-

            1. re: Lori SF

              I found Chevre Noire at Cheese Plus on (Polk and Pacific), but at about 2.5-3X the price in Quebec, so I think I'll hold off until June when I'll be there. The cost is one reason I'm looking for a local analogue.

        2. re: Xiao Yang

          Here's my old post on the Two Rock Valley goat cheese with contact info. You might get in touch with the family to find out where else it is distributed.

          Here's Joanne's My Chow page, , maybe she'll see this thread and add a few comments.

        3. Very intriguing list. I’ve tried a few of the foods.

          I used to work in Berkeley and would occasionally stop at the Phoenix pasta store on Shattuck (It has since closed) on my way home to pick up pasta (Porcini was my favorite) and their rustic olive bread. They have a lot of interesting flavored pasta. Normally I shy away from flavored pasta, but the Phoenix really does it right. The flavors are unusual, subtle and enhance the flavor of the pasta. The also sold sauces which were somewhat more hit or miss but were usually very good although under salted for my taste. Overall amazing pasta, bread and pastries and the owner was incredibly nice and friendly.

          I was happy to see Sconehedge English muffins on the list. We are addicted to these muffins and schlep to Andronicos to make sure we have them for the weekend.

          The Cowgirl creamery is a real Bay Area gem. I haven’t tried the Panir yet but I love their Red Hawk. One of the things I love about the Red Hawk is how much it changes with the seasons. It’s truly an artisan cheese and is always slightly different. My favorite incarnations are when it is gooey and pungent. The owners are passionate and enthusiastic about their craftsmanship and are very down to earth and friendly.

          1. A very interesting list. Does anyone know where to by "Ancient Organics Ghee" at retail?

            8 Replies
            1. re: Paul H

              Did you read te article on Ghee, wow very interesting. By the look of their website looks like its only available online..maybe not available for retail because it does not seem like a item that would work well for mass production. I feel like I have seen it somewhere.

              1. re: Lori SF

                Whole Foods has organic ghee in the butter section. Don't know the brand though.

                1. re: rworange

                  It's from Straus, actually. I used it for my scrambled eggs just this morning.

                2. re: Lori SF

                  I did read some material. While this is an intriguing product, it isn't clear that it is worth about $1.20 per oz. for the following:

                  "In America today, very little butter is churned the old fashioned way. Most modern dairies, even organic ones, no longer churn their cream to make butter. In a typical dairy in America, cream is now pushed through a fine mesh stainless steel screen in which the heavier and larger molecules of butter are held on one side of the screen while the smaller molecules of buttermilk pass on through. I asked an Ayurvedic Teacher-Vaidya about what difference this makes. He said that butter made without churning is lacking in a quality of Fire, Agni. He went further in his consideration of difference; the home-based Indian culture churns their cream with a hand churn, rolling it back and forth between their hands. This back and forth action, he said, imparts a particular balancing quality to the Ghee- instead of the one way churning of a gear driven churn."

                  1. re: Paul H

                    While it is expensive, it does taste different than my other usual Ghee from Purity Farms which has a light slightly minerally flavor.

                    The Ancient Organics Ghee has a deeper flavor which may partly be the straus butter and partly the technique. I might suggest trying it for a more of showcase. I can imagine it would show in a plain omelet or a Ghee based sauce.

                    1. re: JoanneFB

                      I gave in. I was in Whole Foods and bought some Ancient Organics Ghee. Perhaps it will plump up my karma.

                      WF had the 8 oz. bottle of Ancient Organics for $11, a 7.5 oz bottle of Purity Farms ghee for $7 and a 13 oz. bottle of Purity Farms for $10.

                3. re: Paul H

                  Ancient Organics Ghee is available at every single Whole Foods in the Northern CA region and just about ever other natural foods store Ive been in in CA. Ive seen it at Rainbow Grocery, the New Leaf Markets, etc. I heard they are now in SoCal WF as well. Ive been cooking with and eating Ghee for years and this is BY FAR the best there is. its def worth the price in my opinion considering its from Strauss organic Butter and how they make the ghee accordign to the ancient vedic texts. This is a MUST buy.

                  1. re: sahajherbs

                    What is wrong with the ginormous bottle of ghee at the Halal store in Berkeley that has over 40oz for less than $15. Approximate size and cost.

                4. Thanks for posting the link Lori. The page is ever evolving so if you have any great suggestions for additions let me know. Here's a couple of notes pertinent to the discussions below:
                  Ancient Organics Ghee is available in Santa Rosa's Whole Foods. It's very expensive as you would imagine. You'll find it in the cold case.
                  Two Rock Valley Cheese is really small. They are at the Santa Rosa Farmer's Market most Saturdays.
                  Point Reyes Preserves is expensive but they are really well done and I doubt that you will be disappointed. The fruit in the jam has a nice freshness and it's not too sweet. My son and husband love Fiorello's if you see Stracciatella don't dare pass it by. (aka Vanilla Gelato with chocolate flakes in it).

                  I still love St. Benoit Yogurt but I've been indulging lately in the Bellwether Vanilla Yogurt as they are selling it at the Farmer's Market in Santa Rosa and some of the local grocery stores.

                  One obvious omission to the list is Andante Dairy's cheeses which should be an upcoming great cheese find profile.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JoanneFB

                    Thanks for your comments Joanne
                    Sun Marin in Point Reyes Station sells Point Reyes Preserves, if you could judge a book by it's cover this would be it cause it looked good. Next time I am up there I will get some becuase good jam is hard to come by.
                    I like St. Benoit Yogurt as well but I now crazy about Bellweter which I have had just the vanilla and plain I don't like fruit flavor yogurt in general.

                    As I get the chance to pick up other things I will make note.

                    1. re: JoanneFB

                      And one more glaring omission from the list soon to be added: Girl & the Fig fig Jams, Chutney and Compote. The apricot fig compote is great on cold pork.

                      Anyone have any other local favorites that I've missed please let me know!

                      1. re: JoanneFB

                        Well, you already have Fra' Mani for sausage. How about Fatted Calf for Salumi and rabbit burgers, er crepinettes.