Local artisan producers we love
There’s a growing number of locally owned food businesses which strengthen both our local economy and the incredible food community here in Central Florida. In celebration of the ever-growing community of artisans, we asked some of our Edible Orlando contributors to highlight a handful of our favorites who are hand making everything from authentic tamales to guanciale to mile-high cakes.
Seven sweets that take finesse
By Rona Gindin
When you want a sweet that’s an experience, not merely a snack, seek out one of these artisan Orlando creations.
NUTS FOR CAKE
If one item stands out above all the others at Sister Honey’s, it’s this: pistachio cake. Nutty, right? Yet after five years of dishing out hearty slices of strawberry cream pie, blueberry-lemon cake and American classics like tiramisu, the pistachio specialty has come to special prominence.
The cake is made with a buttermilk batter loaded with pounded pistachios plus “a couple of secret ingredients no one in their life would guess,” a vanilla custard tinged light green, and variegated green and white frosting. “I developed it to taste like pistachio ice cream,” says Evette Rahman, who owns the small storefront bake shop in the Downtown South district with her husband, Andy.
Evette is an accidental baker. Newly relocated to Orlando from upstate New York, she entered a personal recipe into the National Pie Championships in 2006 and won the apple pie category. She eventually opened the bakery—with great hesitation. “We’d never sold anything before,” she recalls. “When someone bought the first slice of cake, I was sweating, thinking, ‘Oh my God, what if they don’t like it?’” Well, “they” did, and now the petite bakery with counter seating dishes out by-the-slice treats, plus whole cakes and pies with 48 hours’ notice. When their daughter, Sarah, graduates from UCF in a couple of years with a character animation degree, they’ll add birthday and wedding cakes.
As her business grows, Rahman continues to be adviser in chief: “I’m always telling people, ‘Just get it home,’” she says. “Our frostings are made with all butter or whipped cream. Just touch the buttercream and it will come off on your finger. If you leave it in the car to run errands, it will melt.” If you get it home intact, it will melt your heart. sisterhoneys.com
HEART OF GOLD
We’d like to introduce you to the chocolate bouchon. It’s shaped like a plug, or cork, which is the name’s meaning in French. This just-sweet sweet has become a signature item at the 3-year-old Pane D’Or, a bread and dessert bakery in an elusive Winter Garden strip mall. The bouchon (boo-SHONE), about 3 inches high, seems brownie-like in texture, yet it’s far less cloying, far more special. It resembles the single-serve lava cakes so popular in chain restaurants, and in fact a little 10-second ride in the microwave melts the chocolate chunks laced throughout. Yet, again, this simple, oddly shaped confection offers a singular experience.
Pane D’Or owner Kurtis Baguley discovered bouchon back when he was working as a pastry chef in the Napa Valley area near Thomas Keller’s renowned Bouchon Bakery. The former Waldorf Bonnet Creek pastry chef eventually made a version to fit his own tastes. “It’s actually a very, very simple mixture,” he shares. “It’s really about the chocolate and the butter.” His batter includes the European-style Plugra butter, super-dark brute cocoa powder and chunks of Belgian 60 percent dark couverture chocolate.
The bouchon brings a steady stream of grateful locals into Pane D’Or (pronounced panna DOOR, and meaning “bread gold”), but it has competition for their attention. The almond-topped chocolate Florentine has its own die-hard devotees, as does the buttery Kouignamann bread pudding. And then there’s the bread itself, a variety of crusty loaves with a natural sourdough leavening. Golden, indeed. panedor.com
Dulce by Kora
When Orlando brides of Puerto Rican heritage seek out a wedding cake, those in the know seek out Koralyss Dominguez. Working under the business name Dulce by Kora, this ambitious young pastry chef creates sweets to order, mostly Puerto Rican must-haves. “My work has a Latin flair to it. I make cakes from countries whose specialties you can’t find here—mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican and Brazilian,” she says.
Under elegant or playful wraps of buttercream or, upon request, meringue, Dominguez places ultra-rich, not-too-sweet circles of cake. “My signature cake is Puerto Rican even though I’m Dominican,” she says. The style is called ponque, from a masa batter, and hers is entirely from scratch: She folds stiff egg whites into a batter of sugar, cream and butter, then, after baking, soaks the sweets for a full day in homemade vanilla, almond or Grand Marnier syrup. (She’ll add packaged syrup instead upon request.)
American-born but raised in the Dominican Republic her first 10 years, Dominguez learned to bake at the sister Winter Park restaurants The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, where she worked for seven years. Her bosses encouraged her to take personal orders on the side, and now, based in Kissimmee to be near her target community, she produces Latin-American treats to order full-time. Around Thanksgiving, she also makes candied fruit items like green papaya or orange rind soaked in syrup. facebook.com/dulcebykora
It begins in the wee hours of the morning, Buttermilk Bakery’s croissant process. A baker shows up on an Orange Avenue that’s massively black except for streetlights. Then the work begins: making a starter for dough from yeast, flour, milk and a high-butterfat French butter, and letting it ferment a bit. Rolling that dough through a sheeter to make it thinner, folding the sheets and running them through again, and again, and again. Letting the dough relax in the cooler. Rolling it one final time, this time cutting out triangle shapes to form croissants, square ones for chocolate croissants. Proofing the shapes for two or three hours until the dough puffs up “soft and beautiful,” as co-owner Lana Rebroff describes it. And then, popping the plain and filled dough into the oven, where it rises a bit more as it cooks. “When it’s done, the dough has a nice crunchy flaky bite that shatters in your mouth,” says Rebroff’s son and business partner, Chef Phillip Rebroff. Daughter Taissa and son Alex are owners and worker bees, too.
This bakery and café, owned by a Brazilian family that fully embraces American- style bread and pastry arts, makes breads, pies, cookies, brioche doughnuts and other specialties—including “double-baked” croissants filled with almond or hazelnut cream. It also serves breakfast and lunch six days a week. But those “labor-intensive” croissants take the so-called cake. “It takes two days,” Lana says. “We start a day’s dough the day before.”
For years, Muse Gelato was an insider secret. The only way to eat this cold, sweet, artisan treat created with a base of Florida- produced milk, sugar and fruits was to dine in a local restaurant that served it. Bring out the pajamas! Now you can scoop the creamy sweet right out of the tub in your own home by picking up a pint of chocolate ganache or vanilla citrus gelato or strawberry-honey sorbet at the Dr. Phillips and Winter Park Whole Foods stores.
“We’ve been R&Ding the retail product for four years,” says Brandon Moss, who owns the company with his wife, “creative genius” Andi. “We’ll change the packaging in coming months and then hopefully expand to retail stores all over the state and eventually nationwide.”
The couple, Florida-college grads who met at an International Drive haunted house attraction, began in 2006 by making handcrafted gelato at a small I-Drive Internet café called Cybershack. “Our first attempt was absolutely horrendous,” Brandon laughs. The couple improved the gelato and soon chefs strolled in asking to buy it for their establishments. That led to trading in the café for a manufacturing plant. Restaurants such as Planet Hollywood, Eddie V’s and Soda Fountain are among the regular clients, Brandon says.
So a-muse your palate right there or on your own sofa. musegelato.com
It’s a good thing Cassandra Plas spent the first part of her career as a project manager. The Canada native with Dutch roots was expert at turning an idea into a full-fledged roll-out. She’d done it for fashion companies and major banks. Then, for herself, she took on cookies.
Under the brand name Gezellig Cookies, Plas and her husband, James Baier, make stroopwafel, a thin Dutch waffle cookie filled with caramel—plus creative variations and a couple of other Dutch cookie types. When she set out to turn this into an enterprise in 2013, she had two starter items: a recipe, and the special waffle iron necessary, which she’d purchased by accident thinking it was a different type for a different Dutch cookie.
After much testing with friends over the years, Plas came up with her version of this type of sweet. The Dutch word means “syrup waffle,” and that’s because the cookie was invented to use up leftover crumbs, she explains. “They mixed the crumbs with syrup.” In an Orlando commercial kitchen, Plas makes the cookie from wheat flour and with yeast “like a bread dough,” cuts it into a circle, splits it in half and fills it with her own caramel.
After learning about elements from packaging to shelf life and moisture content, the self-propelled project manager was ready to bring the creation to the Winter Park Farmers Market in May 2015. Today the foodpreneur sells her cookies, including vegan and gluten-free versions, online and at stores around town from East End Market to The Cookery in Winter Garden’s Plant Street Market.
Her ongoing project is teaching customers how best to enjoy her cookies, whose brand name is pronounced huh-ZELL-ick. “The name means cozy, that warm feeling when you sit down to chat with a friend over a warm drink and a snack,” Plas says. “You’re supposed to take the cookie out of the package and place it on top of your tea or coffee cup for 90 seconds so the steam melts the caramel. That’s a game-changer.” gezelligcookies.com
P Is for Pie Bake Shop
It’s kind of hard to pin down Ed Tomljenovich about what makes his pie crust so special, but he’s not being flakey. It’s just that P Is for Pie, which Tomljenovich owns with his wife, Stacey, makes three types of crust.
All the Audubon Park Garden District shop’s crusts are buttery. “We feel that our crust is perfect because we use 100 percent butter as opposed to shortening or a mix,” Tomljenovich says.
For traditional double-crust and lattice- top pies, available by special order, the proportion of butter is super high, with only a little bit each of sugar and salt. “Everything needs to be cold—the butter, even the flour, before we start to make the dough,” he says.
For hand pies—the shop’s specialty—the couple makes a pâte brisée dough with “a little bit more sugar, a little bit more water. It’s sweeter.” Why? “I don’t know. That’s the way the original owner developed it and we like the way it tastes.” As they expand their line of savory hand pies like Buffalo chicken and baked mac ’n’ cheese, the pâte brisée works just fine.
For pies with no topping at all, or a crumb topping, the base is sugar dough. “The sweeter texture works with pumpkin, apple crumb, pies like that,” Tomljenovich says.
Living the good life is no pie in the sky for these folks. They purchased the bakery, which has a few seats, when they had an empty nest and “I got to the point where I was tired of the everyday pressures of working for someone else.” Stacey still works part-time in healthcare.
It seems P is also for prosperity, the version also called The Good Life. crazyforpies.com
Slow Turtle Farm
Artisan Cheesemaker Leaves Life in the Fast Lane
By Kirsten Harrington
It’s a huge jump from building test equipment for Patriot missiles to starting an artisan cheese-making business, but Carol Peters’ goats helped her make that leap from the corporate world to life on her Eustis farm. “I came from a really fast-paced background. Everything was go, go, go—get it done,” she says. “Goats taught me patience. There is more to life than the next project.”
With their soft, silky ears, inquisitive eyes and unique personalities, it’s easy to see why Peters fell in love with goats. First she had six, then 12, and then it was 20. And then the babies were just so cute she had to keep them. The goats just kept multiplying. “They are addictive,” Peters says. “They bring me so much joy.”
When her husband, John, wondered how they were going to afford to feed all of these kids, Peters formulated a plan. Her goat’s-milk feta and chèvre were popular with friends, and she enjoyed crafting them. Why not go into business? “The first thing my husband said is ‘Are you nuts?’” Peters recalls. Six years later, Peters sells about 90 pounds of cheese a week along with fresh goat’s milk and kefir at three area farmers’ markets. “I make cheese to feed my goat habit,” she explains.
What started in 2004 with a few kids to clear the farm has grown to more than 100 dairy goats. You can hear the affection in Peters’ voice as she explains how she keeps track of them all. “They’re named by themes, and I know who everyone is,” she says. The “candies’’ include Fudge, Licorice and Gumdrop, while the “herbs” have names like Sage, Lavender and Pepper.
These friendly, furry kids aren’t the only object of her affection. Peters’ love for her goats spills over into her commitment to excellence in cheese-making, including her signature Purple Turtle, a lavender- infused, French-style soft cheese with a bloomy rind. Her fans say it rivals the best cheese in France, and the judges at the 2012 National American Dairy Goat Association cheese competition agreed, naming Purple Turtle the only placeholder in the amateur division. Peters takes the steady stream of repeat customers as a sign that she’s doing something right.
“You’re never going to find anything else like this,” she said. The cheeses are fresh, local and homestead, meaning 100 percent of the milk comes from Peters’ farm. “Because I have so much passion for my animals, I want my cheese to do them justice,” she says. Each element is meticulously thought out. Peters brings in goat feed with just the right mineral content and selects hay from two local farmers. “What’s in the water? What’s in the soil? We take into account what’s best for them,” she says.
Peters is working toward becoming certified as a USDA Grade-A dairy, which will increase her ability to market her cheeses to restaurants and wholesale customers. “Being able to incorporate my science skills and somewhat nerdy personality for record-keeping and spreadsheets and combine them into a full-time business is amazing,” says Peters. “It fulfills me.”
As required by federal and state law, the cheeses are labeled “Not for Human Consumption” and sold as “Feed for Animals” since they are made with unpasteurized milk.
You can find Slow Turtle Farm’s cheese Monday nights at the Audubon Park Community Market, Saturday mornings at the New Smyrna Beach Farmer’s Market and Sunday evenings at Grounding Roots in College Park. Visit their Facebook page for times and updates.
Cured in Florida
Chef Matt Hinckley makes his charcuterie the old-fashioned way: domestically, creatively and wasting nothing.
By Marta Madigan
Tender guanciale, leathery lonza and strips of chewy coppiette—these aren’t edible souvenirs smuggled from a trip to Italy. These meaty delicacies are cured by Chef Matt Hinckley right here in Central Florida with locally sourced pork and transparent practices.
Hinckley takes pride in a snout-to-tail approach. Apart from hams, loins and bellies, this Floridian happily works with less-popular cuts and offal. Using artisanal butchery skills, he creates tasty bites from a pig’s head. For bacon-like guanciale, he carves out pork cheeks. To make zampone, he debones a pig’s foot, removes the meat, seasons it and stuffs it back into the foot skin. Trotters and tails end up in a truffle-flavored terrine. Ears, tongue and cheeks improve the texture of an umami- packed headcheese.
“I find a pig’s head far more interesting than a tenderloin,” says Hinckley. By using every part of the animal, he offers a variety of otherwise unavailable cuts. This also helps small farmers sell what isn’t trending in restaurants.
Hinckley’s symbiotic relationship with Florida food producers is personal. “I know the names of my farmers’ children,” he says. His journey through flavors and textures of cured meats kicked off when he started working in 2009 as a forager for James Beard Award–winning Chef Michael Schwartz at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in Miami.
A couple of restaurants later, Hinckley moved to New York, where he continued honing his craft as chef de cuisine, first at the meat-centric Saxon + Parole, then at the Michelin-starred PUBLIC. “I always thought there were mind-blowing ingredients in New York—and there are—but one of the things New York taught me was how good I had it here,” Hinckley says.
This epiphany brought him home to Orlando. Knowing he could rely on the quality of the Sunshine State’s ingredients, he established Hinckley’s Fancy Meats in August 2015, connecting to heritage pork breeders.
At Tracy Lee Farms in Hawthorne, black-coated Berkshire hogs, the breed brought to the U.S. from England almost 200 years ago, roam freely, wallowing in mud and chewing on native plants. The animals’ happy lifestyle translates into juicy meat. The marbling is so fine you simply cannot find the equivalent in a regular supermarket. No wonder Hinckley’s Fancy Meats’ first pig, Arlene, came from this place.
Hinckley also buys his natural pork from Palmetto Creek Farms in Avon Park, where pigs get to be pigs and their farmer, Jim Wood, has nothing to hide. He specializes in red-coated Hereford hogs raised in a humane, old-fashioned way.
Hinckley names the whole hogs he butchers to keep track of their cost and flavor profile. Each one obtains a “birth certificate” that includes information about the farm, breed, weight and other details. “I’m just as transparent as my farmers,” he says.
A traditionalist, Hinckley follows ancient techniques of preserving meat with just a few basic ingredients: sea salt, smoke, spices and time. Occasionally, he cures bacon with Old St. Pete sweet corn whiskey from St. Petersburg Distillery. He puts some Florida Crystals brown sugar into his ham brine. “Almost any recipe that would call for chili flakes or cayenne pepper, I try to substitute for datil chilies,” says Hinckley. “There’s a lot of Florida history behind that chili.”
Raw wildflower honey is another local ingredient that enters the kitchen of Hinckley’s Fancy Meats. It comes from Willful Provisions and is used in several cures and in his “pork butter,” made by whipping rendered pork fat with natural sea salt and raw wildflower honey.
Hinckley handcrafts his artisanal products at the new Florida & Co. (formerly Local Roots) food hub in Lake Helen. While freshly ground sausages are ready the same day he butches a hog, Italian pork jerky called coppiette has to spend time in the dry-curing chamber. Hams and bacon soak for a few weeks in brine before getting slow-smoked with applewood chunks.
From tasso ham to grass-fed pastrami made with pasture-raised Central Florida beef, you can find an extensive selection of Hinckley’s artisan products at Florida & Co.’s retail shop at East End Market.
Florida & Co. at East End Market, 3201 Corrine Dr., Orlando; hinckleymeats.com
The “Art” in Artisan
Olde Hearth Bread Company Rises to the Top
By Lisa A. Beach
Most of us don’t have a lot in common with billionaire Oprah Winfrey, but we do share one passion: We all love bread, especially a great artisan loaf, crusty and golden on the outside, light and airy on the inside and hand-made with a dash of both art and science.
But with the word “artisan” slapped on everything from fast-food burgers to mass-produced potato chips, it’s hard to get a handle on what artisan really means.
In its truest sense, artisan refers to a product such as cheese or bread that is handcrafted with limited, high-quality ingredients and made in small batches instead of mass produced.
Look no further than Olde Hearth Bread Company in Casselberry to get an up-close understanding of artisan bread-baking at its finest.
Orlando’s Original Artisan Bakery
Olde Hearth co-owners Shannon Talty, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and Janice (Brahm) Talty, a graduate of the culinary program at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, both carved out a path in baking before they ever met.
In the 1990s Shannon worked for Acme Bread Company, San Francisco Bay’s top artisan bakery, learning the fundamentals of proper mixing, shaping, proofing and baking from a company that set the benchmark for artisan baking. Meanwhile, Janice worked her way up to head baker at one of South Florida’s best bakeries, where she mastered the art of using a wood-fired oven from Spain.
They teamed up (both professionally and personally, marrying in 2011) and opened the doors to Olde Hearth Bread Company in 1998 in Casselberry, staking their claim as the Orlando area’s first artisan bakery. Starting with a limited product line of 20 to 30 artisan breads and pastries, the Taltys soon expanded into the wholesale business, wowing Central Florida chefs with their top-notch products and unbeatable level of service. With their business thriving, they eventually outgrew their small retail shop and moved to a spacious, 7,500-square-foot facility, also in Casselberry, enabling them to grow their product line to nearly 300 fresh-baked goodies and maintain a loyal, hardworking team of 43 employees.
With growth came the challenge of balancing efficiency and customer satisfaction with a continued commitment to quality through an artisanal approach. Olde Hearth doesn’t disappoint.
Supermarket Bread vs. Artisanal Bread
To understand the artistry behind what Olde Hearth does, you need a snapshot of how most “supermarket bread” is made.
Typically, the prepackaged bread found on supermarket shelves might contain 20 ingredients, including chemical additives to extend its shelf life. It’s made in an automated, high-production, industrial kitchen, which churns out thousands of loaves a day. Chances are, a real person might never touch a loaf of mass-produced bread, as it moves from giant commercial mixer to enormous bins to conveyor belts to loaf pans to oven to slicer. The entire mechanical process, from prepping the flour to packaging the baked bread, can take five to six hours. Efficient, but definitely not artisanal.
By contrast, Olde Hearth Bread uses a few high-quality ingredients in a slow, hands-on process that takes three to four times longer.
“Artisan, to us, is the way bread is made, rather than its shape,” Shannon explains. “It’s made simply, with minimal automation, and you allow it to develop slowly.”
Olde Hearth starts with just four key ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt, plus natural add-ins for flavor, such as sourdough, eggs, sugar, spices, herbs, fruit, nuts and seeds. They search out the best ingredients they can find, using unbleached, unbromated flour, no preservatives and no artificial flavors.
“Flour has to mellow after it’s ground, so we let it rest up to three weeks in our silo,” Shannon explains. “Then you don’t need chemicals to enhance its ability to form when you’re mixing dough.”
For specialty ingredients, such as fresh basil and rosemary, Olde Hearth often sources locally. This includes jams from Sunchowder’s Emporia in Longwood, which Janice uses to create toaster pastries.
With the finest ingredients and minimal automation, dedicated bakers work around the clock to handcraft bread using an old-world process that stretches for 18 to 24 hours. They mix the ingredients, allowing the dough to slowly ferment, then hand-shape the bread and bake it in small batches on a stone in a rack oven or deck oven.
“With our sourdough, for example, we start with a seed stock of flour and water [referred to as the mother], which I originally brought from California, and we build it into a starter, which sits for 12 hours,” Shannon says. “Then we build it into a sponge, where it sits for another 12 hours, then it’s made into dough, where it sits another 8 to 10 hours for proofing. It’s really a two-day process.”
The end result? A tantalizing array of bread heaven such as rye boule, brioche, semolina, focaccia, potato chive sandwich bread, ciabatta, and sun-dried tomato bâtard.
When asked about the key to Olde Hearth’s success, Shannon quickly points out, “The people. Our staff like what they’re doing and it shows in the final product. They’ve got a hard work ethic.”
A Rabid Following
Now in their 19th year of serving Central Florida, Olde Hearth enjoys a rabid following of bread-lovers, from retail customers at their East End Market storefront to wholesale customers in some of Orlando’s finest restaurants, including The Ravenous Pig, Luma, and Le Coq au Vin. Besides fantastic baked goods, what’s the big draw of Olde Hearth?
“Relationships. They’re hard to come by in this business,” says Rhys Gawlak,
chef/partner at Swine & Sons Provisions and an Olde Hearth customer for 10 years. “Janice and Shannon have worked with me on many of my culinary kitchen adventures. From the beginning, they’ve shown their commitment to me, and they stand behind their product. Plus, they’re willing and able to take a chef’s idea from infancy to finished product.”
Kathleen Blake, chef/owner at The Rusty Spoon in Orlando, offers a similar sentiment. “What makes them different? Personal relationships,” says Blake, who’s been working with Olde Hearth for six years. “They’re open to input and love to collaborate on your menu. And, they’re always the first in line when there’s a charitable function to offer support. After the Pulse tragedy, we were helping feed hundreds of people several times a week. Shannon and Janice had bread, pastry, whatever we asked for on a moment’s notice.”
Their high level of service, unwavering commitment to artisan quality, and focus on relationships are the key ingredients in Olde Hearth Bakery’s rise to the top.
On the Side
Edible Orlando editors share their favorite locally made savories
The new Market to Table restaurant is the buzz in Winter Garden, but before the restaurant, Chef Ryan Freelove got home cooks hooked on his bone broths, demi-glace, beef tallow, roux, compound butters, vegetable stock and other staples at his compact Market to Table space in Plant Street Market. Chef Freelove takes the painstaking work out of the equation for aspiring culinarians with his intensely flavored bases—a meal comes together in no time thanks to his prep work. Products available at Plant Street Market in Winter Garden and the Meat House in Winter Park.
Sharon Brenner’s biscotti is a hit at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, but it’s her feisty Our Caesar Dressing that has devotees lining up. Brenner says it’s a signature recipe she developed 10 years ago for her restaurant in North Carolina, and when the family relocated to Central Florida she decided to add it to her repertoire of sweets.
Part of the savory secret is whole anchovies, says Brenner. Beyond that, the recipe is under lock and key. Pick up a jar at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market or at the Meat House in Winter Park.
Dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes, thanks to a frozen batch of chicken, pork and cheese tamales from Fernando and Jennifer Tamayo’s Tamale Co. food truck. While you can enjoy their ready-to-eat tamales at Audubon Park Market, Lake Eola Farmer’s Market, Winter Park Farmers’ Market and Winter Garden Farmers Market, they freeze them in packages of six. Grab a jar of one of their three homemade sauces: tart tomatillo (the most popular), award-winning ancho chile with tomatillo or ranchero habanero spicy salsa. Steam the tamales, top with sauce and dinner is done.
Chef Leroy Bautista grew up in New Orleans but moved to Miami in 2009 where a fan suggested he start making his sauces and vinaigrettes to sell at local farm markets. He started with seven jams and jellies and now has 17 rotating flavors. A move to Central Florida brings him to the local farm markets where his two young sons, Nic and Luc, play alongside their mom, Aurora, and dad selling Nic & Luc Small-Batch Provisions.
As a chef, Bautista considers how each flavor can be paired with food and drink (the blueberry mojito makes a satisfying cocktail), and uses only certified organic, non-GMO unrefined cane sugar or pure honey. The pectin is vegan, gluten free and made of non-GMO citrus peels, and Bautista strives to use local ingredients in flavors such as mango habanero and strawberry basil. The bacon marmalade is simply onions, bacon, Cuban coffee, balsamic vinegar, cider, black pepper, mustard powder, chili flakes and fruit pectin.
Look for the family at Audubon Park Market, Celebration Farmer’s Market and Veranda Park Farmer’s Market at MetroWest.
Wendy Read’s plain and simple Sunchowder’s Emporia strawberry jam is a favorite sweet treat, but for a savory preference, her raspberry pepper jam is a go-to to slather on a grilled cheese just before it hits the pan, or as a finishing glaze for grilled salmon. Made locally in Longwood with everything from local honey and berries to Madagascar vanilla beans, Read works directly with Florida growers for the best fruits and vegetables for dozens of varieties of seasonal jams, jellies and butters.
Find Sunchowder’s locally at Winter Park Farmer’s Market and Olde Hearth Bread Company at East End Market.
With an addictive salty-sweet crunch, Tia Chips have a following that started when co-owner Ivis Osorio’s aunt (her tía), came to visit from Miami and brought a bag of plantain chips. Osorio cooked up her own batch and took a dozen bags to the Leesburg Farmer’s Market back in 2010—and the rest, as they say, is history.
Osorio and her husband, Guido, make their addictive chips with just three ingredients: plantains, soybean oil and fine sea salt. A cousin to the banana, plantains are starchy and low in sugar, with a thick skin that’s not easy to peel—it takes about 250 peeled plantains every day to keep up with orders, says Osorio.
She recommends using the chips as breading for meat and seafood, but a bag never lasts long enough. Find Tia Chips at the Meat House in Winter Park, The Cookery in Winter Garden, Winter Garden Farmers Market, Lake Eola Farmer’s Market and Cubanoz food truck.
Anna Maria Mele is a fixture at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, where locals are fans of her Pesto Diva pestos, made with local and imported ingredients and no preservatives or additives.
Mele makes the vibrant pesto in small batches including vegan, sun-dried tomato, artichoke cashew and Spanish olive habanero (an Edible staff favorite). Spread it on bread, mix in hot pasta or rice, add a dollop to roasted oysters or any seafood. Add to scrambled eggs or steamed artichokes for culinary savoir-faire.
Meet Mele at the Saturday market or pick up a pesto at Whole Foods, The Cookery, The District at Mills 50 (for her new vegan pesto) and Market on South.
Her slogan is “Bring love to the table,” and Barbara Lezcano is doing just that with Sweet Babs Mojo.
The recipe for her mojo sauce came from her great-grandmother—Lezcano’s parents are first-generation Americans who emigrated from Cuba, and her fondest memories were around the kitchen table. So when Lezcano, a financial analyst, was “ready for a life change,” she ditched her desk and started bottling her grandmother’s mojo, launching Sweet Babs Mojo in May 2016.
“This is a way to honor my parents and their traditions,” says Lezcano. And it’s as close to homemade as possible, with no colors or preservatives and no added sugar.”
Because it’s all natural, Lezcano recommends using the versatile mojo far beyond a marinade for meat—as a salad dressing, mixed with hummus or guacamole, as a pasta sauce, a seasoning for tacos or drizzled on eggs.
Find Sweet Babs at Audubon Park Market, Winter Garden Farmer’s Market, Ancient Olive, Local Roots, Lake Meadow Naturals, Lombardi’s, Petty’s, The Local Butcher and Market, The Cookery, Paper Goat Post and Lucky’s.