Best Wines: Moraga Red Wine Moraga Winery - Grown and vinified just a few miles from The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, Moraga Vineyards produces one of the most classically styled Cabernet blends in the state. Under the ownership of former Northrup Grumman head Tom Jones, Moragas wines have become a staff favorite.
Best Olive Oil: Fontanella Fontanella Olive Oil - Grown, produced & bottled by Adrienne & Peter Culhane on 5 acres in the Palisades! A distinctive blend of Mission, Manzanillo, and Picholine olives yielding a complex and balanced olive oil with fresh floral and woody aromatic notes and a nutty, buttery finish. The olives are hand-picked and pressed within twenty-four hours of harvest, using a state of the art cold extraction method. The grove is terraced on ahillside 1,400 feet above the Pacific Ocean, alongside their family home, in the Santa Ynez Canyon of Pacific Palisades in Southern California
Best Sweet: Blenheim Apricot Sqirl Preserves - Sqirl subscribes to the philosophy that as far as fruit preservation goes, nothing beats tradition. Their jams, jellies and marmalades are made with produce from family-owned farms that practice sustainable, certified organic methods that are in close proximity to their kitchen in Los Angeles, California. Sqirl only works with farmers who cultivate their land with the intention of letting the product (many of which are heirloom varieties on the Ark of Taste) speak to its environment. The fruit is then preserved simply with a minimal amount of organic fair trade cane sugar, naturally occurring pectin and carefully preserved in copper jam pans handspun by a nearby coppersmith.
Long Beach-born jam-maker Jessica Koslow spent time working in pastry at the James Beard award-winning restaurant Bacchanalia in Atlanta, Georgia. When she returned to California, Jessica was attracted to the diversity of local produce – beautiful and honest snapshots of the state’s vigorous growing seasons.
Her preserves are made without shortcuts. In order to maintain the brightness of the fruit a batch can take up to three days to produce. The results are meticulously crafted preserves that not only portray the wealth and diversity of California's crops and its generous seasons, but also remind us of the value in the antique process of preservation.
Best Savory: Jolokia Ghost Pepper Sauce All Spice Cafe Sauces - As a two-man start-up, spreading the hot sauce love, All Spice Cafe gourmet hot sauces got started after years of home cooking and lots of family & friends continually telling co-founders JD Cowles & John Lesko to bottle the sauce. In 2006 he did just that. With , All Spice Cafe became a reality, and is a company that continues to grow and thrive with its amazingly delicious products.
Best Coffee: Dark Roast Black Coffee Roasters - Careful blending and small batch air roasting in LA by Hal Mertz. Black Coffee’s incredibly rich flavor starts in the small estate farms in Africa, Colombia and Costa Rica where they source the finest high altitude Arabica beans. He believes that blending coffee varietals is an art and that dark roast can be amazing if the roaster is skilled enough to bring the coffee to a full rich roast without burning it.
Best Cheese: Burrata Gioia Cheeses - Vito Girardi is from the very area of Apulia where burrata comes from, and furthermore, he is a third-generation cheese maker whose grandfather had been one of the first makers of burrata. Every piece of burrata that Gioia makes — all 1,500 pounds a day — is formed by hand. It sounds simple, but the whole thing must be accomplished very gently and very quickly.
Best Event: Grilled Cheese Invitational Grilled Cheese Invitational - Tim Walker, Chief Instigator & Founder of the Grilled Cheese Invitational. 1st one in 2003...large, crazy & irreverent...created in a private artist loft in Downtown Los Angeles as a competition between friends. Since then, the Invitational has grown into a national movement dedicated to perfecting the art of grilled cheese, with thousands of cheese fiends and regional competitions across the country. Amateur and professional chefs to compete side-by-side in the hopes of becoming a true Grilled Cheese Champion.
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