It's no secret that we're pretty enthusiastic about food here at CH, as we scour all corners of the country to find the most mouth-watering, handmade culinary offerings from people who've taken risks—and succeeded. We teamed up once again this year with our friends at Mouth—the go-to online purveyors of indie food—to offer a limited-edition holiday taster of our favorite new foods we discovered this year; the stories behind the small-batch goods are often as compelling as the product itself. Organized into "Salty" or "Sweet," these sets of assorted edibles make perfect gifts for anyone; from the highbrow epicurean to the adventurous type. For those who want the best of both worlds, here's an in-depth look of what's inside the combination Cool Hunting Holiday Sweet + Salt Fix (which comes with a bonus bag of Tate's gluten-free double chocolate chip cookies).
With its bright colors that pop, Dreams Come Chew from Portland-based QUIN Candy immediately catches the eye. It's essentially a natural, real fruit-based version of Starbursts that comes in four different flavors (cherry, strawberry, lemon and tangerine). For something a little more savory, the Chocolate Lab's Vanilla Nougat Goat Milk Caramel Bar, made in Savannah, Georgia, is a unique explosion of creaminess in the mouth and uses local dairy and honey, as well as mostly organic ingredients.
Change things up by sipping chocolate in oozing, melted form during the next blizzard (or just movie night) with a Drinking Chocolate Kit from Twenty-Four Blackbirds, the bean to bar chocolate makers in Santa Barbara, California. The chocolate is only partially tempered, so it melts into a rich brew that's completely adjustable to your taste. Toss in some Wondermade Peppermint Marshmallows, made with love in Florida without a single drop of corn syrup.
On with the salt! Blending just two ingredients—California green olives and Californian extra virgin olive oil—this velvety tapenade from Sutter Buttes, spread on slices of toasted baguette along with a little chèvre, might have you forgoing the main course. Or use it as dip with these extra crispy Za'atar Lavash Crackers from NY-based Hot Bread Kitchen, which supports foreign-born and low-income bakers-in-training.
The Bamboo Ladies in North Carolina use a family recipe that's been passed down three generations to make pickled bamboo shoots from bamboo harvested in their own grove. It's an easy way to add an exotic touch to a salad or dinner setting. Last but not least is Borsellino salami from Iowa-based La Quercia, made from humanely raised local pork and dry-cured with salt (and no preservatives), which makes a thoughtful appetizer or second lunch.
The Cool Hunting Holiday Fix sets range from $45 to $90 and are available exclusively through Mouth. The Holiday Fix, as well as other unique kitchen additions from Antler Beer Taps to our most-trusted slow juicer and more can be found in our 2013 Gift Guide—be sure to check back regularly as it's updated daily.
Images courtesy of Mouth