The rain stopped momentarily on St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco, just in time for our monthly Artisans’ Market at Williams-Sonoma’s Union Square store. We happily welcomed returning vendors, including The Girl & the Fig and Just Cook Foods, and were eager for what was in store from our new attendees. Here’s an inside look at my market afternoon.
The photo above shows Chef Jamie Cantor, owner of Platine in Los Angeles, and a close-up of platinos and camées, her take on chocolate and vanilla Oreos. “Platine” is French for platinum, and Jamie’s sweets add a level of sophistication to the classics we love through the use of high-quality ingredients.
The platino and camée had just the right amount of sweetness, and unlike the classic cookies, a chewy texture which I loved. The cream filling was the consistency of a light frosting.
The rest of the sampling included snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, brown butter/dark chocolate/smoked salt cookies and another stand-out, the granola. It was incredibly crisp and fresh. The gluten-free version uses different oats and milk but still tastes just as good as the regular. Extra points to Jamie for bringing milk to have with the samples!
Sondra Bernstein, owner of The Girl & the Figrestaurant in Sonoma, signed her latest cookbook, Plats du Jour. Though the recipes may be the meat of the book, the photos and stories about the farmers they source ingredients from bring the wine country restaurant’s seasonal cuisine to life.
Through the farm blog, you can keep up with The Girl & the Fig’s continued mission to farm their own produce. They currently farm two acres in Sonoma, and their orchard provides much of the fruit that goes into the FIGfood products seen at our Artisans’ Market.
We tasted Black Mission jam two ways. The first was an easy appetizer of the jam blended with Laura Chenel goat cheese and spread on baguette toasts. The selection of Laura Chenel was spot on, as it was a mild goat cheese with just enough tang to contrast the sweet jam. Second, the jam was spread on a layer of brie in a sandwich and topped with peppery arugula.
Executive Chef Daniel Capra of Just Cook Foods used the herbed coffee rub for braising pork shoulder to create bite-sized carnitas. All of Daniel’s recipe testing is done just over the bridge in Berkeley.
The carnitas were topped with pickled onions and cabbage for crunch. This recipe and more creative ways to use the rubs can be found under the products and recipes section of the Just Cook Foods website.
This photo shows Mark and Alicia of The Bread Project. Based in Emeryville, the organization helps those with low income to become self-sufficient by providing culinary training and job placement in the food industry. At the Artisans’ Market, we got a first taste of The Bread Project’s collection of baked goods.
On the left, sea-salted caramel shortbread finished with a piping of chocolate ganache. The sea salt was prominent in the cookie and complemented the caramel well.
On the right, the babka, a sweet rich yeast cake traditionally made for Easter and filled with fruit, cheese or — in this case — TCHO chocolate swirled into the layers of dough. Candied orange zest gave it a nice zing.
Also noteworthy was the Straus sour cream-blueberry muffin. Just as decadent as the chocolate babka, this muffin was incredibly moist, and the blueberries were sweet little jewels dispersed throughout. Not a hint of tartness.
Here is Lauren Martin of Sweet Lauren Cakes putting out samples. Her cake pops satisfy your craving for a slice of cake in one bite. The collection consists of 12 flavors, and the four most popular were brought for tasting. A storefront in the city is still in the works, but the market allowed us to take some pops home in the meantime.
From the top, clockwise: lemon, chocolate, vanilla bean and red velvet. The pops are made from crumbled cake mixed with cream cheese frosting. I tried the latter two; both were tender, fluffy and enrobed in a thin layer of chocolate.
Cam and Mr. Combover harvest honey on a rooftop in the SOMA district of San Francisco. Ten bee stings and two harvests later, they have brought Black Tar Honey to Williams-Sonoma.
They brought a jar of black tar honey and their yet-to-be-released book, A Survival Guide to Urban Beekeeping, for those who wish to take up the hobby. Just BEE careful. Along with the jars, the honey comes in unique glass vials.
Take the opportunity to mix, mingle and sample goodies from local producers! To see if there is an Artisans’ Market in your area, check out our store events page for locations.
About the author: Jenn Yee is a part of the Williams-Sonoma Union Square culinary team. The store is her dream kitchen. The Food Hall is her favorite section and can talk endlessly about baking mixes and bakeware. When not at work her every moment, not surprisingly, is still very much about food. She’s honing her skills at pastry school, attending food events, meeting chefs and vendors and out in search of the best pastries and desserts. She dreams of Pierre Herme macarons and Gerard Mulot croissants. www.deliciouslynoted.com.