Namikura Kyoto-Style White Miso
Savory, sweet and flavor-dense, white miso is an absolutely essential pantry item. Winey-sweet, buttery and deeply rich, this organic version from Japanese family producer Namikura Miso Co. is more complex and less salty than other brands, which means it can be used more freely with soy sauce without dishes tasting overly seasoned.
BLiS Gourmet Barrel Aged Fish Sauce
This bourbon barrel-aged fish sauce is mellowed by seven months of sitting in oak, so the earthy, meaty funk that one expects from any fermented fish product is beautifully balanced by a complementary sweetness. BLiS's product is also rounded out with soft notes imparted by the seven-month aging process: warming spices, vanilla, and fruit woods, as well as a subtle smoky depth.
CS Fishery Oregon Albacore Tuna
Unlike supermarket tuna, which can be mealy or soggy, CS Fishery's product is wonderfully dense and flaky—you can tell this is tuna meat. The fresh, mild and meaty fish is packed in olive oil and seasoned with Jacobsen sea salt, made from the same waters from which the fish are caught. This is premium American tuna—with a clear supply chain—at a reasonable price.
Mutti Triple-Concentrated Tomato Paste
Mutti Tomato Paste is tomato paste as it was originally intended. Traditionally, this ingredient was made by drying tomato sauce on wooden boards in the sun; likewise, Mutti's modern version has a sun-dried flavor and caramelized richness reminiscent of molasses. Yet the tomato paste is not overly sweet—as tomatoes cook, their amino acids break down, which produces savory umami compounds. And unlike most tubed tomato pastes which are double-concentrated, this version is triple-concentrated, so a little goes a long way. We far prefer it to other tomato pastes in tubes, not to mention canned varieties that inevitably have a metallic taste from reacting with acidic tomato juice.
Little Apple Treats Original Apple Cider Vinegar
Produced from hand-picked apples, not the low-grade and windfall apples most companies use, and aged in oak barrels for two years before bottling, Little Apple Treats cider is bright and sharp, with a bold apple flavor and subtle caramel tones contributed by the barrel aging. This is the best American apple cider vinegar we’ve tasted, every bit on par with the fancy, expensive French stuff from Normandy.
Yugeta Double-Brewed Shoyu Soy Sauce
This traditional Japanese shoyu is less salty than supermarket brands yet still full of concentrated flavor and balanced with caramelized sweet notes. It's ideal for dipping and adds robust umami depth to recipes.
Namikura Red Miso
Red Miso is stronger, saltier and more assertively flavored than yellow or white miso due to its six-month aging process and has a higher proportion of soybeans for a richer taste. This particularly interesting version has sweet flavors reminiscent of sherry and milk chocolate that are perfect for pairing with red meat and other robust dishes.
Pic's Crunchy Peanut Butter
Fans of chunky peanut butter will love this version from New Zealand. Whereas many chunky peanut butters are just smooth peanut butter with occasional nut pieces, the New Zealand brand has a full mouthfeel, with the right ratio of plentiful crunchy bits to smooth butter for a satisfying consistency with every bite. It also boasts a shelf stability up to 10 times greater than regular peanut butter. And the peanut butter itself is always made without any added sugar, oil or emulsifiers, so the peanut flavor comes through clearly in both sweet and savory recipes.
Vain Vanilla Original Baker's Blend Pure Vanilla Extract
This small-batch vanilla extract from Kansas-based Vain Vanilla is prepared completely by hand using only the best ingredients. The Original Baker's Blend is made with top-shelf rum that emphasizes vanilla's sweet characteristics and adds its own cane-sugar dimension. We especially love that Vain Vanilla leaves its vanilla pods in the bottle, which has two benefits. First, over time the extract will continue to deepen in color and become more complex as the pods release more flavor compounds. Second, when you're done with the vanilla extract, you can still slice open the pods and use the beans themselves in your desserts.
Pic's Smooth Peanut Butter
Pic’s Peanut Butter works equally well for classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as it does for baking and cooking. Choose between salted or unsalted—even the salted version has only half the salt of comparable brands. And while not impervious to separating, we find the peanut butter comes together quickly with just a stir or two, as opposed to the vigorous blending required with other versions. It also boasts a shelf stability up to 10 times greater than regular peanut butter. And the peanut butter itself is always made without any added sugar, oil or emulsifiers, so the peanut flavor comes through clearly in both sweet and savory recipes.
Yugeta Organic Yuuki Shoyu Soy Sauce
This Japanese soy sauce has a light-tasting without being too thin or watery, with a rounded, mouth-filling umami flavor and clear, bright salinity that quickly yields to a light, wheaty nuttiness. Its clarity of flavor and clean finish are perfect for delicate foods like chicken and fish, as the shoyu won't overwhelm but rather enhance other flavors in a dish.
Mutti Tomato Ketchup
Most ketchup is watered-down and overly sweet from corn syrup. Not so with Mutti's product, which has a full tomato taste because it's made from concentrated tomato paste instead of puree. The ketchup also has a wonderful balance of flavors: robust and savory with a touch of spice. We like that Mutti makes this condiment with wine vinegar, which adds dimension and offsets tomatoes' ripe sweetness.
Milk Street Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Milk Street Extra Virgin Oil is cold-extracted from Spanish olives with a mild, delicate flavor and smooth, buttery quality that isn't overly rich or cloying. Rather than a sharp hit of pepper like with other brands, the golden-green oil leaves only a light, pleasant tingle at the back of the throat. We partnered with artisanal producer Olio Roi to source our olive oil; the fourth-generation company has been producing olive oil since 1900 and sources only the highest-quality olive oil that is selected by professional tasters. We chose our olive oil based on its light, wonderfully soft flavor, which has a remarkable capacity to heighten a dish without distracting. Whether you use it raw or for cooking at low or medium temperatures, this versatile oil will be the one you reach for every time.
Net Weight: 500 milliliters
Place of Origin: Product of Spain; Packed in Italy
Hanamaruki Foods Liquid Shio Koji
A traditional condiment made from fermented malted rice, shio koji is known in Japan for packing a punch of umami into everything from marinated meats to savory soups. All shio kojis aren’t created equal, though, for Hanamaruki Foods distills the powerful flavor properties of this essential Japanese ingredient into an easy-to-use liquid form—the only Liquid Shio Koji available on the market—to create the ultimate pantry secret weapon. We love the condiment’s clean, yet bold flavor: salty rounded out with a pronounced sweetness and burst of umami. It’s made by pressing shio koji in its original paste form and filtering until it yields the clear, golden-hued liquid. The product isn’t heat-treated, so its enzymes remain active and effective in rendering meat remarkably moist and juicy, balancing bitterness in veggies like eggplant and adding amino acids for a full-flavored finish to any dish to truly change the way you cook. Use as a marinade for meats and fish, drizzle into salad dressings and sauces to balance savory flavors, or incorporate into baked goods to add a layer of tantalizing complexity.
Hayden Flour Mills Artisan Bread Flour
This bread flour is stone-milled in small batches so it's incredibly fresh and has an enticing nutty aroma, robust flavor. A naturally high protein content that makes for a chewier texture, and the flour's complexity is unmatched by conventional flour brands.
Zürsun Idaho Heirloom Beans Anasazi Beans
Plump but small, these heirloom Anasazi Beans about the same size as pinto beans, with a dappled maroon and cream pattern and subtly sweet, earthy flavor. They are excellent for adding creamy body to soups and stews; we especially like to treat them as pinto beans to make dips or refried beans.
Net Weight: 1.5 pounds
Place of Origin: Idaho, U.S.
Sukoyaka Brown Genmai Rice
If you are tired of tasteless white rice, let me introduce you to Genmai Rice. When I first tasted genmai two years ago, my first thought was that this rice was a miracle—it cooks quickly, just like white rice, but has the rich, earthy flavor and satisfying chewiness of great brown rice. Once you taste Sukoyaka Genmai, you will never go back. How is this possible? It is an American-grown short-grain brown rice that has had a portion of the outer bran layer is scrubbed away, allowing the grains to hydrate faster while retaining most of their nutritional properties. The nutty, earthy-tasting grains are distinct and just a touch sticky, making the rice perfect for accompanying stir-fries, curries, soups and stews, although I make it two or three times a week as a starter, for any sort of topping from steamed vegetables to quickly grilled chicken or steak. Matt, Card, our food editor, also swears by it for fried rice. He keeps a batch frozen in the freezer for a quick batch: Just defrost on the countertop, and it's ready to go for a virtually instant meal. Buy as much as you can afford, since genmai will become your go-to rice after the first bite.
Net Weight: 4.4 pounds
Ingredients: 100% Brown Short Grain Rice
Hayden Flour Mills Pasta Flour
If you're taking the time to make homemade pasta, you definitely want a flour that will give the best flavor and texture. Made with an aromatic blend of White Sonora and Blue Beard Durum heritage wheats, Hayden's stone-ground Pasta Flour has nutty depth and a noticeably more complex flavor than other varieties.