Deals & Events

Pickles, Pulled Pork Cupcakes, More at Artisanal LA

By Lesley Balla  |  October 14, 2013
Credit: Lesley Balla

The best part about walking through the Artisanal LA fall event has to be the free samples - all the chocolates, fudge, hot sauces, cupcakes, donuts, jams, pickles and pig candy your heart desires (and can handle). But with the new location at the LA Mart downtown, it was also fun to see how each of the individual companies personalized their space for the event, making themselves stand out from the pack. If you're going to get our attention, sure a bite of delicious brown butter, chocolate chip and sea salt at District CookieHandsome Coffee's cold brew or fun, colorful organic artisanal Bon Puf cotton candy will stop us in our tracks, but jammers whose marmalades were lit up like Christmas tree lights (Paradise Preserves), a food-crafting laboratory (Domestic Institute of Technology), and donuts as colorful as a rainbow on display (Donut Snob) are fun and clever. And then there are the pulled pork cupcakes from Simone B Catering. "Tell us any sweet or savory flavor, and we'll cupcake it for you," owner Regina Young told us. We like anyone who makes "cupcake" a verb.

Some of our favorite local food artisans were there, including Gindo's Spice of Life, Brassica & Brine and Laura Ann's Jams, but so were a lot of newcomers, including some from Brooklyn, who made the trip west specifically for this show. Founder Shawna Dawson mentioned to us that the goal is to invite more artisans from around the country to make this one of the largest food crafter events in the U.S., sort of like the Fancy Food Show for small producers and crafters. We caught up with chef Bruce Kalman, who recently left The Churchill to pursue a pickling career, and not only are Bruce's Prime Pickles absolutely delicious, but you can find them in a slew of stores and restaurants, including The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, Umami Burger and the Dog Haus.

There were a lot of great vendors this year, from woodcrafters hawking gorgeous reclaimed wood furniture, designers and pottery, tea towels and other kitchen and living space goods, to the myriad kombucha, almond milk and spirits makers. There was as much to look at and learn about as taste and buy, which made this much more than just a shopper's dream. It was an afternoon full of delcious entertainment. Take a look at some more finds below.