9 Ways to Bring the Taste of San Francisco Home

by Ryan Leeds

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday June 30, 2020

EDGE continues our series on how to bring the best of the U.S. home. Want a taste of the Windy City? Click here for a taste of Chicago. Does your home bar need a shake-up? New Orleans' best bartenders offer their tips of the trade.

It's no secret that San Francisco is a goldmine of culinary fare. From Brazilian brigadeiros to cabbage with a kick, warehouse wine to gingerly made jam, the City by the Bay continues to tempt the palates of global visitors. Since the pandemic, however, destination dining has lost momentum. No problem! EDGE virtually scoured the streets to highlight some uniquely San Francisco brands that can be shipped right to your door.

How Sweet It Is

Brigadeiro Sprinkles

Sweetened condensed milk, chocolate powder, eggs, butter and chocolate sprinkles. These are the typical ingredients in the Brazilian dessert known as a "brigadeiro." S„o Paulo native Zeila Santos-Schappelle has taken the country's beloved sweet to new levels with flavors like coconut, lavender, pink strawberry, Caipirinha and blueberry. The confectionary aficionado makes each gluten-free goody from her home, which is not only delicious but also a visual feast. This month, she's created a special box in honor of Pride ($30, 12 pieces).

Charles Chocolates

Chuck Siegel has been making chocolate since 1987. With a finely tuned palate for chocolate, Siegel ensures that every ingredient counts. "The guiding philosophy that drives both how we make our chocolate and the ingredients we use," Siegel says, "is that I view every chocolate I make as equal to the worst ingredient I put in it, so we only use the best." Siegel produces several candy bar flavors, chocolate-covered nuts and — for true chocoholics—an edible box. Monthly subscription services start at $24.95.

Salty Sweet

There are plenty of options for cookie lovers at this prized San Francisco bakery: gluten-free, make-your-own dough kits, vegan cookies, cookie cakes and even chocolate covered matzoh. Since 2012, Salty Sweet has made national lists for best mail-order cookies. Turn the oven off, click "add to cart" and become the favorite guest at your next socially distant gathering. And for those who want in on the action, consider a cookie kit. ($15)

Red, Red Wine
Betwixt Wine
Sure. Sonoma and Napa boast an impressive number of wineries, but a surprising find is tucked away in the Bayview district of San Francisco. Winemaker Tim Telli ferments and bottles chardonnay, pinot noir, and grenache in an industrial warehouse, then ships it all around the United States. For an easy-drinking red that's ideal for warm summer months, try the 2017 Abba Vineyard Grenache, which pairs perfectly with grilled meats or a cheese platter. ($25)

What's the Buzz
Ritual Coffee
The upscale coffee chain, with six stores throughout San Francisco and Napa, is a well-known establishment for quality joe. With geographic locations and tasting notes, coffee snobs will savor each detailed description of bean varietals. If you treat yourself, consider lending a hand by ordering coffee or pastries for local medical and frontline workers. You buy. They deliver. For polyamorous coffee lovers, consider Three's a Charm roaster's pick gift set. ($59)

Let Us Break Bread Together
Boudin Bakery
So many people have been having a go at baking that there's actually a yeast shortage. Sourdough, in particular, is a bread lover's favorite, but not easy to make given the time to cultivate a starter. Enter Boudin Bakery, San Francisco's oldest continually operating business dating back to 1849. The handcrafted loaves feature that famous starter, which yields the perfect tang and ideal crust. The San Francisco Sourdough Sampler (available through Goldbelly) includes one long loaf, one round loaf and three sandwich rolls. ($49)

Lookin' for Some Hot Stuff
Sinto Gourmet
Like most food trends, kimchi has had its moment. But everyone loves a comeback, and kimchi is having one, with sales of the fermented cabbage soaring since the beginning of the pandemic. Many experts consider kimchi a superfood. That's good news for Chef HyunJoo, who makes the spicy Korean specialty and ships it around the world. Try the napa cabbage, Korean "Mu" radish or plenty roots — a combination of carrots, beets, daikon, turnip, rutabaga and onion. ($9 each)

Freeze Frame
Bushka's Kitchen
Deana Del Vecchio has a clear mission: "to create ready-to-eat, freeze-dried meals and dehydrated snacks that don't suck." Her company, Bushka's Kitchen, has been accomplishing just that since 2016. Dismayed by the poor quality of freeze-dried food while planning a backpacking trip through Iceland, she now sells food for every meal, including dessert and snacks. None of the meals contain preservatives, and they last 18-24 months past the manufactured date. It's not uncommon to think of the products as the perfect companion for hiking or camping, yet given the uncertain state of the world, it might not be a bad idea to stockpile a few meals away. Best-sellers include unstuffed pepper with ground bison ($12.99) and citrus chia morning bowl ($9.99). For those in San Francisco and looking for a hike to enjoy your freeze-dried meal, check out this list of San Francisco's best hikes.

Pump Up the Jam
You'll probably pay less for the mass-produced jellies and jams stocked at your local supermarket, but you're also likely to get preservatives in your preserves and a flat, sweet finish. Gillian Reynolds is intent on using the finest, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients for her jam collection. Her brother, Christian, serves as the chef consultant for this fair-trade certified company that produces clever names including "A Crockwork Orange," "Midnight in Pear-is" and "Sublemonal Message." The Stanford economics major began her business from a small kitchen in Berkley, but it quickly grew to a larger space in San Francisco. Can't decide which jam to try? The variety pack includes six selections. ($37.50 - $75)

Ryan Leeds is a freelance theater, food, and nightlife journalist who lives in Manhattan. He is the Chief Theater Critic for Manhattan Digest and a frequent contributor to Dramatics Magazine and The Broadway Blog. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.