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Artisanal and organic ingredients to add to your pantry

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In an age when peanut butter can be a lightning rod for controversy or even legal trouble, it’s easy to forget how delicious the sticky stuff can be. Especially the all-natural, small-batch, blended-with-honey variety made by Justin’s of Boulder, Colo. There really is a Justin (surname: Gold) who started out obsessively testing nut butters in his kitchen. His organic line of nut butters, packaged in single-serving squeeze envelopes and jars, includes chocolate hazelnut and maple almond butter. Available at a few stores across Canada, or online at; $9.99 for 10 squeeze packs or about $9 a jar, plus shipping. – Bonny Reichert

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Where there’s smoke … there’s chocolate? That’s what Autumn Martin, pastry chef, chocolatier and owner of Seattle-based Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, was thinking when she decided to cold-smoke organic, semisweet chocolate over alder wood. Ten hours of tossing and turning the chips every 30 minutes gives just the right amount of smokiness. Martin suggests using her meltingly smooth, woody, earthy chocolate chips in cookies, S’mores or for a ganache icing. But don’t stop there. Think savoury, too – mole sauce, chili or ground up and added to a rub for pork or beef. $15/7 oz jar from – Signe LangfordSIGNE LANGFORD/The Globe and Mail

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Once upon a time there was only milk, dark and white chocolate. But a new chapter is unfolding, starring a blond named Dulcey. Launched recently by Valrhona – one of the top chocolate companies in France – blond chocolate was created accidentally: The head chef at Valrhona’s chocolate school, Frédéric Bau, put some white chocolate in a bain-marie to melt it, then forgot about it. Ten hours later, he followed the beautiful aroma back to the kitchen, where the chocolate had developed a gorgeous blond colour and a toasty, butter biscuit flavour. Valrhona’s Dulcey can be purchased online in various bag sizes; – Shawna Wagman

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Brooklyn is exploding with artisanal food products. Take Morris Kitchen’s syrups – old-fashioned amber bottles that are filled with a concentrated hit of deliciousness. If you’re ready to celebrate spring flavours, the rhubarb syrup is great in a salad dressing or with bubbles; the ginger flavour is even better, especially when mixed into a dark and stormy with a big squeeze of lime, a hit of soda, ice and an ounce or two of dark rum. Oh yeah, it’s great over fresh fruit, too. Available at select retailers or online;; $12 (U.S.) a bottle (plus shipping). – Bonny Reichert

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John McLaughlin’s family has been farming in Palmerston, Ont., since the mid-1800s. A branch of McLaughlin’s business is C & M Seeds, and it’s here where – 17 years ago – crossing wheat varieties led him to the durum wheat he dubbed Hallmark. A truly local food, the pasta made from this wheat is grown, milled, processed and packaged in Ontario. It boasts the highest amount of fibre among whole-wheat pastas, with an earthy, nutty flavour that doesn’t deserve to be covered up. The texture is sturdy – it’s hard to overcook the stuff – and there’s no starchy stickiness. Look for it at Whole Foods and other gourmet shops. $3.99/450 g; – Signe LangfordSIGNE LANGFORD/The Globe and Mail

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The North American artisanal cheese-making movement is blooming. And yet, there will always be a time and a place for this: Blue Heaven powdered blue cheese. Handmade in Oregon at the 80-year-old Rogue Creamery from certified sustainable, raw cow’s milk, the smooth powder is a blend of Oregon Blue, Oregonzola, Crater Lake Blue and their special reserve blue cheeses – all aged more than 90 days. The cheeses are then put through a secret “spray drying” process and further blended. The flavour is bold, salty, creamy, buttery, earthy and packed with umami. Available at or call 1-866-396-4704 to place an order for the 3-oz shaker, $9.99 – Signe Langford

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