Some of the best artisan producers from around the country gathered in San Francisco this past weekend for the third annual Good Food Awards. The winners were wide-ranging and included several familiar Northern California companies.
The Good Food Awards honors artisan producers in nine categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, pickles, preserves and spirits. Judges take a comprehensive view, honoring those who not only make great products, but are also respectful of the environment and connected to their community. Narrowing down the more than 1,300 entrants to 182 finalists, winners were chosen based on the awards criteria and a blind taste test.
The private awards ceremony was held Friday night at the Ferry Building with a gala reception that followed. Many of the winners were on hand for the reception, mingling with guests. Several of their products were also available as part of the event, with a charcuterie table set up for each region of the country, confection and coffee tables along with cocktails and beer. On Saturday, the normal Ferry Building Farmers Market was joined by the Good Food Marketplace, a chance for the public to sample or purchase the winning products while also getting an opportunity to talk to producers about those items.
“It’s fun to have all these producers of preserves together in the same place,” said Dafna Kory, founder of INNA Jam based out of Emeryville. “It feels great to be honored and to garner the respect of my peers.” INNA Jam won a Good Food Award in the Preserve category for its Spicy Fresno Chilli Jam. In tune with the Good Food Awards theme, INNA makes fresh, seasonal jams from fruit sourced within 150 miles of its Emeryville kitchen, sourcing produce directly from local organic farmers. The products are also environmentally sustainable; the company offers products to be delivered by bicycle, accepts the return of empty jars and also composts kitchen scraps. INNA Jam can be purchased online or at several retail locations across the Bay Area.
Todd Masonis of San Francisco-based Dandelion Chocolate has had quite a month. Along with winning a Good Food Award for the second straight year (this year’s winning product – a 70% Madagascar bar), they have opened their cafe on Valencia Street to the public. “It’s a factory, but we also have pastries, cacao fruit smoothies and of course, chocolates,” Masonis said. “We felt it was important to be a part of this thriving community in the Mission District.” The spot at 740 Valencia also serves as a retail shop and guests can get a first-hand look at the chocolate-making process, step-by-step. Dandelion is one of the few small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the country, sourcing cocoa beans directly and making finished chocolate from the bean.
Getting to talk to other artisan producers like Sweetdragon Baking Company based out of San Jose and Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods in Berkeley, each had their own success story. Many are very small producers, selling their wares at local farmers markets, but always living by many of the fundamentals of the Good Food Awards.
Below is a list of the local winners, congratulations to all of them!
Bear Republic Brewing Company, Tartare – Healdsburg
Mill Valey Beerworks, Four Brothers – Mill Valley
Columbus Foods, Finocchiona – San Francisco
Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods, Salame Toscano – Berkeley
Bellwether Farms, Whole Milk Ricotta – Petaluma
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Bay Blue – Point Reyes
Weirauch Farm & Creamery, Saint Rose – Petaluma
Dandelion Chocolate, Madagascar – 70% – San Francisco
Flying Goat Coffee, Ethiopia – Wottuna Boltuma – Healdsburg
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Kenya – Gichathaini & Kenya – Kagocho – San Francisco
Verve Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia – Birhanu & Panama – Elida Estate Gesha – Santa Cruz
Feve Artisan Chocolatier, Pistachio Rosemary Caramel – San Francisco
Her Coconess Confections, Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels – Belmont
Sweetdragon Baking Company, Black Sesame Brittle -San Jose
Jarred SF Brine, Oven Roasted Pickled Golden Beets and Shaved Shallots – San Francisco
Chez Pim, Flavor King Pluot – Santa Cruz
INNA Jam, Pretty Spicy Fresno Chilli Jam – Emeryville
Charbay Winery & Distillery, Charbay R5 Whiskey Aged – St. Helena
St. George Spirits, Agua Libre California Agricole Rum & Aqua Perfecta Poire Eau de Vie – Alameda