1. Hot Winter's 5-Alarm Flavors: Farmer Shawn Winter bred and cultivated the perfect pepper using only heirloom seeds for his line of distinctive fermented hot sauces. For the 2014 season, he's featuring some hot new varieties, including Bulgarian Carrot (bold heat with rich, dark fruit flavor and full body) and the Limited Edition 100% Hinkelhatz, made from a single varietal of tiny, tangy, and very spicy pepper. Find it: online and at stores around the Portland area.
2. Three Little Figs Jams: Former fashion stylist Liz Cowan’s line of sweet and savory artisan, small-batch jams (think french onion confit and tomato tapas jam) have graced local cheese plates and crackers since 2010, and now the jammer has added two new flavors: Quince Honey Rosemary and Puddletown Pub Chutney, a complex blend of apples, espresso stout, onion, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, coffee, black currants, molasses, and spices. Find it: Online and at these retail locations.
Nuts for New Nut Butters
3. Eliot's "Adult" Nut Butters: Michael Kanter's trio of savory peanut butters—Spicy Thai, Garam Masala, and Honey Chipotle—have us all hooked. The butters are made with 100% American-grown peanuts, and are flecked with little flavor bombs (from bits of kaffir lime to fragrant cloves). Kanter recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop new flavors. Find it: Online and at New Seasons, World Foods, and other local shops.
4. Bliss Nut Butter's Chia Peanut Butter Bliss: Confession time. I once had a full jar of this sitting next to my computer at my desk. It didn't last more than six days. Something about the combination of course-ground peanuts, local honey, big flakes of sea salt, and crunchy chia seeds was like a magnet to my spoon, and moderation simply stood no chance. I'm getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about it. Find it: Online or at stores throughout the Northwest.
5. Celisac Legit Gluten-Free Pizza Mix: Launched by two sisters with Celiac disease, this ELISA-certified gluten-free blend made with sustainably-sourced flours, nuts, and seeds produces thin-crust pizzas at home for anyone avoiding wheat (and those who love them). Find it: Online or at stores around Portland.
6. Merry Meat Pies: On his first day of business at the PSU farmers market this March, Jake Gangsei, the owner of Merry Meat Pie Company, sold out of pies in just four hours. His rotating classics, wrapped and ready to take home, include Lapin au Vin (rabbit in red wine), 50 Shades of Garlic (pork and garlic), and The Drunken Heifer (beef and stout)—and they've already earned a rabid following. Read our full review.
Sweets and treats
7. Goose Hollow Granola: These small-batch treats look and taste more like cookies than cereal, but hey, I'm not complaining. The crunchy blend of toasted rolled oats, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut, cranberries, and raisins comes in giant clusters so tasty it's hard to keep your hand out of the bag. Find it: Tigard Whole Foods and local farmers markets.
8. Treehouse Drinking Chocolates: Local chocolate maker Aaron Koch has launched a line of single serving drinking chocolates made with cacao from a farmer-owned cooperative in the Dominican Republic. Chocoholics can now get a liquid fix with his Original (dark chocolate with organic milk), Camp (dark chocolate with organic instant coffee and organic milk), and Cherrywood (dark chocolate with organic milk and Jacobsen Cherrywood Smoked Sea Salt). Find it: Most Portland area Whole Foods, Green Zebra on Lumbard, Progress Ridge and Division New Seasons, and Zupans on Burnside, Belmont, and Macadam.
'Booch for All
9. Kookoolan Kombucha: Branded ever-so-smartly as "hard tea," this line of kombucha from local meadery takes advantage of the businesses winery license to produce a less-vinegary, lower sugar still beverage that's super food friendly. Find it at the Hillsdale Farmers Market, Barbur World Foods, Know Thy Foods, and directly from the Kookoolan World Meadery outside Yamhill, Oregon.
10. Humm Kombucha: Bend-based Kombucha Mama has rebranded, and is now boasting a new look, new flavors like blueberry mint, national reach, and a continued commitment to the standards set by two decades of 'booch brewing. Follow Humm on Facebook to stay updated on new retail partners.
Now it's your turn! What are you savoring and snacking on these days? Let us know in the comments below. Want more Portland-made products? Check out our recent roundups of the city's best gourmet popcorn, hot sauces, kale chips, macaroni & cheese, and kombucha.