Let’s be honest. We, Americans, are kind of known for going BIG. The delicate and complex flavor profiles associated with artisanal and gourmet foods aren’t the first thing people think about when they imagine American food. It’s all big manufacturers, large packages and containers, and food that tastes good but can’t compete with centuries-long traditions of French or Italian cuisines.
And that is a great disservice to dozens of great local manufacturers who’ve fallen in love with certain products and dedicated their lives to putting them on the market to make that exceptional taste accessible to everyone.
I guess that’s the big problem with artisanal and gourmet food these days. We’ve gotten so used to the idea that artisanal products are supposed to be expensive and only accessible to the rich and dedicated that the concept of ordering gourmet food online seems like a trick.
The words themselves, “artisanal,” “gourmet,” etc., have long been associated with exclusivity. But make no mistake - quality, tasty products are for all who love
Getting local artisanal and gourmet food online has never been as easy and affordable as it is today. Here are the top 10 items we think you should start with:
Artisanal & Gourmet Snacks
According to Statista, the United States snack food market is the largest in the world, worth over $100 billion (with a b, the whole nine zeroes). So it shouldn’t be surprising that American food artisans offer more than a few attractive options. If you’ve never thought about ordering gourmet snack food before, now’s the time.
If you like trying new flavors, start with chips. Local gourmet food manufacturers love experimenting with flavors untouched by large manufacturers. Want to feel like you’re visiting an haute cuisine restaurant? Try white truffle or black truffle potato chips! And why stop at potato chips? You’ll find your options have expanded to lentils, quinoa, and rice chips, among others.
Gourmet crackers are another significant category among small food manufacturing brands these days. Ever thought cheese sticks would become a gourmet item? Well, now they are, along with pretzels, roasted nuts, and popcorn.
Are you feeling a little iffy about ordering gourmet food online? Start with snacks. Snacks always put people at ease, and there are so many options you’re missing out on if the snack corner of your pantry is stocked only with options from the supermarket.
Gourmet Candies with Unique Flavors
Sweet treats are just as popular with American consumers as savory, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that local manufacturers have more than a few gourmet options.
If you’re only just dipping your hand into the world of gourmet sweets, you can explore classic options like gourmet dark chocolate, hard candies, or original marzipan figures.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something drastically different from what you’ve already tasted before, we’d advise you to give a chance to more original options.
Hammond’s Candies, for example, produces chocolate bars with unique dessert flavors like key lime pie, bourbon pecan pie, or lemon meringue, among others, as well as more original varieties like a malted milkshake, pigs n’ taters (with potato chips, and bacon bits), and midnight snack (with bits of pretzel, brittle, marshmallow, cereal, and cookies)
Gourmet Rice Crispy Cakes
While we’re on the topic of sweet treats, have you ever thought you’d encounter gourmet rice crispy treats? It seems like the very nature of the snack is wholly against what we consider gourmet food to be.
But brands like The Crispery prove that any food can become a gourmet item with love and dedication. If you loved marshmallow rice crispy treats as a kid, now you can enjoy them as a connoisseur in gourmet form, in multiple flavors.
(Or, if you’ve never been into rice crispy treats all that much, now you can find out what all the commotion was about!).
If anything, this simple twist on the original treat is all the proof we ever needed that gourmet doesn’t mean exclusive. It means high-quality ingredients, a full flavor profile, and an enjoyable experience. These descriptors aren’t reserved for exclusive products; they’re reserved for quality ones.
Vegetable Preserves: Pickles, Peppers, Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives
Do you love pickles? If you do, then you’ll find gourmet-grade pickles particularly enjoyable. If you feel indifferent - then you should give gourmet pickles a chance.
Foodies love to go on a tangent when it comes to gourmet products because they genuinely deliver on taste and texture. Local US manufacturers have been upping the ante with vegetable preserves for quite some time now. These days you’ll quickly find not just classic pickled vegetables but more daring twists on them as well, like spicy asparagus or blue cheese stuffed olives.
Try old classics like roasted peppers, crunchy carrots, or pickled asparagus. Or, if you’re on a hunt for something more original, try the dilly beans or blue cheese stuffed olives we mentioned above.
Fruit Preserves: Spread, Marmalade, Jam, and Jelly
Jam and jelly, along with other fruit preserves, have long been a part of classic American cuisine. Seriously, we need to look no further than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to see how indispensable they’ve become to the American pantry over the years.
But that’s where the danger lies. The more straightforward and versatile the product, the easier it is to notice when it’s not up to par. Artisanal jam and jelly are all about the quality of the flavor.
Local gourmet fruit preserve manufacturers mainly compete with bigger ones by elevating the flavor profile of their products. Classic flavors like strawberry and raspberry tend to taste fresh and homey, if you will, but their real secret weapon is the original flavor combinations. When shopping for gourmet food online, try to look for unique jam and jelly, like raspberry peach champagne, blueberry cherry, or key lime pie. While classics are classics for a reason,
Hot and Savory Jam and Jelly: The Mix Between the Two!
Savory jam is not a new thing, but it has rapidly picked up in popularity in the past decade. You’ll have no trouble finding a pub or cafe that offers burgers with onion jam or sandwiches with hot pepper jam these days.
Why not recreate them at home if you like them?
Spicy and savory jams are possibly some of the most versatile among similar preserves. With a bit of fantasy, they can be used in savory and sweet dishes, depending on the main ingredients (pepper jam, for example, goes particularly well with decadent chocolate desserts!).
Terrapin Ridge Farms is undoubtedly at the top of US manufacturers’ savory jam and jelly game. They not only produce savory jams, they do unique flavor combinations you’re not likely to find anywhere else. Check out hot pepper berry bacon jam, balsamic garlic herb jam, or jalapeno hatch chile jam if you want to give your breakfast (or dinner) extra flair.
Artisanal & Gourmet Condiments
We all know how a well-placed dollop of our favorite sauce can elevate a dish. Now imagine a dollop of sauce with a richer, deeper flavor accentuating all the right ingredients.
So many people claim that classic sauces like pasta sauce, salsa, and, of course, the ubiquitous ketchup always taste better when homemade. It’s the quality of the ingredients and devotion to the process. That’s what gourmet food manufacturers strive to recreate. If you want the flavor of homemade sauces in your dishes but have no time or energy to make them yourself, adding a jar of pesto sauce or a bottle of sauce to your cart while shopping for gourmet food online is the easiest, fastest solution.
Another upside of artisanal and gourmet condiments is that manufacturers often experiment with flavors in unexpected and exciting ways! Stonewall Kitchen, for example, offers several twists on aioli like sriracha, roasted garlic, and maple bacon aioli flavors, along with horseradish cream sauce, truffle marinara, and ghost pepper queso.
If you love sparkling beverages, then gourmet sodas are a product you should pay attention to. Paying extra for a soda may not sound particularly appealing when supermarket isles are full of Coca-Cola. Still, there’s a reason why more and more people are getting invested in craft and artisanal sodas: they simply taste better.
The big difference between regular sodas and gourmet sodas is the sweetening agent. More often than not, gourmet sodas use cane sugar instead of artificial sweeteners. And it doesn’t stop there. Most gourmet soda manufacturers use as many natural ingredients as possible. They know that quality matters to people who seek out and consume their products and focus on maintaining natural flavors instead of cutting corners to expand their manufacturing.
There’s another advantage gourmet soda manufacturers have over big brands: they can experiment with flavors. While you’ll easily find classic options like ginger ale, crème soda, or root beer while shopping for gourmet food online, you’ll also encounter unusual combinations like pomegranate and hibiscus ginger ale, ginger and passion fruit, and red birch beer soda.
Artisanal Maple Syrup
Artisanal maple syrup may cost a few pretty pennies, but we’d say it’s worth every single one. Many aspects separate artisanal producers from big manufacturers, but dedication is the biggest. Good maple syrup is hard to produce. It requires paying attention to where the tree was grown, the weather across the seasons, how the sap was extracted, and even the weather on the day of sap extraction. You need a warmer temperature for the rich, dark syrup with a complex flavor profile. Syrup extracted on colder days tends to be lighter in color and flavor. Artisanal manufacturers pay attention to these details.
Artisanal maple syrup is worth investing in not just because it tastes better but because the more complex the flavor profile, the more versatile the product. Artisanal maple syrup isn’t just a garnish over pancakes and waffles but is often used in marinades, glazes, and dressings for savory dishes. It adds depth of flavor with smoky and slightly caramelly notes, quickly elevating the dish.
Coffee enthusiasts know: there’s a difference between your regular cup of coffee and gourmet (i.e.) specialty coffee. If you’re in it just for the extra energy kick, then standard run-of-the-mill stuff will do, but if you want to enjoy the flavor, then investing in gourmet coffee is worth it.
As with maple syrup, the differences between the two start at the production level. Beans for gourmet coffee are sourced with much higher standards, separated from lesser-quality beans, and roasted with more care. Specialty coffee roasters check their coffee batch by batch to ensure each upholds the quality they aim for.
In other words, specialty coffee is an exemplary artisanal product. There’s a real person dedicated to their craft involved in each step of production. Everyone from the small farmers that grow specialty coffee beans to the roasters that roast and package the coffee is devoted to quality over quantity.
It results in a cup of coffee that tastes richer and smoother, with a variety of complex undertones (smoky, fruity, chocolaty, etc.) you won’t find in regular coffee.