Most of the articles I rip and file get discovered only when I’m moving. Since April 2005, I’ve had a Sunset Magazine article “The power of one” — restaurants that stake their reputation on a single item. At the time, cereal, grilled cheese, and cupcakes were already on the list. Some trends endure.
Why did this article grab me so that I saved it through countless moves?
Making only 1 thing takes commitment, courage, conviction, focus.
As a variety seeker it especially impresses me when someone can stick to one thing, over and over. As a food producer the nice thing about a single product is you’re known for it. You can carve your space with simple messaging. It’s easier to create a cult following since it’s easier for people to know what to obsess over.
That all being said several of these folk have taken the plunge to adding a second type of product. Yet you can tell by their name they made their way with the original:
Maple Honey Caramels from Sweet Revolution. Old news is good news. For a few years now, Anastasia has spread her caramels farther and wider while still making them in tiny batches. If caramel candies aren’t decadent enough, she makes a spread you can eat off a spoon. Fewer calories when it’s one continuous stream of goodness anyway.
Nut butter crunch from p.o.p. candy is featured in Foodzie’s tasting box this month. If eating food with heart tastes better, crunch into Rachel and Bill’s nut butter toffee-like candy. I’ve visited them late night as they crank out their butter crunch using as many local ingredients as possible, in the types of small batches normally reserved for a home kitchen. (I remember a) how cranky I was as an early bird, marveling they could work so late b) that I intrepidly sampled the new experiments to give feedback.) Their tins with pop-ping holiday labels are flying off the shelves as corporate gifts. (Disclosure: I’m thrilled that I’ll be helping them sell their candy soon!)
Aurelia’s Chorizo from Austin is like gourmet Slim Jim’s meets Mexico. Meaning, it’s so dry and meaty it’s tempting to pull one of the pre-cooked chorizos out of the pack and munch it. Not needing refrigeration makes these perfect for packing on a hike or cooking up with eggs…or whatever. If I were you I’d order 10 packs. They’re pretty much the best for anyone who likes it hot.
Embrace Brownies from a hard working, sweets loving mother-daughter team make the perfect gift for moms…or daughters.
Alfajores from Maitelates. Candy disguised as cookies in wrappers that remind you or artisan food from Spain. Only these babies are made in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Brown Butter Cookies. Need I say more? I will if you need me to.
And the experience gifts: Also remember, local cooking, health education, and DIY product classes local food makers and retailers are a gift that keeps on giving! Like this Northern California Wild Mushroom Camp with Dr Andrew Weil in January. (Who woulda thunk it?)
Products I Wish Had Made the List
Obviously there are unlimited wonderful holiday food gifts from people who make more than one thing. Today one sticks in my mind: Cream-Nut Peanut Butter Clusters. I’m sure at one time these were their only candy item. Koeze make a few other candies now, which I haven’t tried, but it was worth it just to see the words “Koeze Cream-Nut Peanut Butter Clusters.” When they describe them as infamous, I know why. There is just something about the flavor, the mouth feel, that gets my heart racing. Plus the retro packaging is adorable.
What favorite food companies thrive on the power of one?