Sometimes you want to cook something special. Something particular. Maybe it’s a regional specialty that you are craving. Perhaps it contains some unusual or hard to find ingredients. It could be that there is just not a chance in hell that the corner market is gonna carry all the items you need. How are you gonna make this particular culinary dream come true?
You could always improvise. There is a certain joy in creating something out of nothing. You could substitute a few anchovys for the Colatura di Alici in that special pasta you flipped over in that little seaside village south of Rome. You’d feel great, the pasta would be delicious, but deep inside you’d know it wasn’t REALLY what you were craving.
I found myself in a similar predictament to your Colatura conundrum. I wanted the authentic Bistro taste of really good, really French, really delicious garlic sausage with green lentils. I wanted saucissons à l’ail aux lentilles (video recipe below). But I was not about to settle for sweet Italian sausages. I wanted the real deal. Where could I turn? What could I do. Letting my fingers do the walking is so last generation. So I put on my techno-geek hat and I surfed the web! Here’s what I found:
Bellweather Farms provides fromage blanc and other artisan style cow and sheep cheeses to restaurants and chefs. Thanks to the magic of the internet, people like you and me can get that quality just as easily! They are right here in California (Sonoma) which is an added bonus to me.
D’Artagnan is where I go for duck. Duck foie gras, duck fat, duck legs. They have so much more, but this is where my experience with them lies.
Eden Foods is beyond organic. This is a truly natural food resource with an interesting history as well.
Fauchon is almost as good as spending the weekend in Paris. A world-famous gourmet company, tres chic!
French Gourmet Store carries a lot of hard to find regional French specialties.
Though I can usually get spectacularly good seafood right here in Los Angeles. Gary’s Seafood Specialties is a good resource to have anyway. Because there are other fish in the sea! And sometimes I really want fresh FLORIDA seafood. This is the place to get it!
Gourmet Mushrooms is a terrific resource where you can actually get the stuff to grow mushrooms yourself. Now that is something I keep planning to try! If I ever do it, you’ll certainly hear about it. In the meantime, I have been known to order some real beauties from this site.
La Espanola Meats is another great place for sausages and other meats. These are exclusively in the Spanish style.
La Tienda has a great assortment of Spanish foods. It’s the only source I have ever found those tiny sweet green peppers called pimientos de Padrón. They also have incredible anchovies.
Leeners was recently recently recommended by fellow Blogger JoePastry. They seem to have “fermented food craft supplies” and cultures of all kinds. Cultures for creme fraiche, cheese, yogurt, bread, beer…bubble gum? Anyway, from what I have read from Joe he knows what he’s talking about. I mean after all his last name is Pastry!
Marx Foods customers were sadly limited to the top restaurant chefs in the country. But now they have an online site we can all surf. Many gourmet items in bulk.
Pacific Rim Gourmet is the place to find exotic ingredients for your Asian palette.
Rancho Gordo …beans, beans and more beans! Great heirloom varieties especially. A wonderful resource, and a really fun site to visit.
Salumeria Biellese has been making Italian style sausages and salumis since 1925. It’s not the easiest online resource because you still have to call them up to order. But it’s worth it. Whoever answers the phone is very knowledgeable and helpful. Especially in getting the product to you on just the day you need it. I use them for garlic sausages and assorted charcuterie.
Salumi Artisan Cured Meats This is the senior Batali’s store and salumeria. Incredibly authentic, amazingly creative. These meats are finally, truly available here in the USA.
Savor California since we can’t all live here. They have gourmet specialties from our local California suppliers.
Urbani Truffles in case you haven’t guessed, they have truffles and truffle related items.
Zimmerman’s has just about anything the gourmet pantry needs. Lots of gift items as well.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD