We scoured America’s shores, from Freeport, Maine, to the San Juan Islands, for the best food and drink on the market. Here, the discoveries that made a splash in our taste tests. Dive in!

By Betsy Cribb and Chris Hughes
September 11, 2017
Photo: Stephen DeVries; Styling: Rachael Burrow and Lindsey Ellis Beatty; Illustration: Julia Ludlam
Photo: Stephen DeVries; Styling: Rachael Burrow and Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Beach Snacks 

Baccalone, San Francisco 
Celeb chef and salumist Chris Cosentino creates swoon-worthy cured meats in offbeat combos like brown sugar and fennel. $32 for two 8-oz. chubs; boccalone.com

Black Truffle Mustard
Mustard and Co., Seattle
Make hot dogs haute or give deviled eggs a fiery kick with this heady condiment featuring freshly ground raw mustard seeds and black truffle–infused olive oil. $7 for 7 oz.; mustardandco.com

Salmon Bacon
Boston Smoked Fish Co., Boston
With his lush, deeply smoky strips of salmon-belly bacon, Matt Baumann (somehow!) found a way to supplant the pig's place at the breakfast table. $9 for 3 oz.; bostonsmokedfish.com

Hackleback Caviar
The Caviar Co., San Francisco
This sister-owned company specializes in extravagance you can feel good about—sustainably farmed roe that doesn't rely on over-fished wild sturgeon populations. $46 for 1 oz.; thecaviarco.com

Red Hawk Cheese
Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Station and Petaluma, California
Brie lovers, meet your new crush! Robust and ridiculously decadent, this triple-cream crowd-pleaser is a must for any memorable cheese board. $15 for 8 oz.; cowgirlcreamery.com

Coastal Wildflower Honey
Old Blue Raw Honey, Philomath, Oregon
Beekeeper Henry Storch's labor-intensive practices and migratory habits (he travels to apiaries up and down the Oregon coast) yield the most extraordinary wildflower honey we've ever dolloped on ricotta. $14 for 8 oz.; oldbluenaturalresources.com

Hannahbells Cheese
Shy Brothers Farm, Westport, Massachusetts
Modeled after French button de culotte (trouser button) cheese, these diminutive, thimble-size morsels nonetheless pack an earthy wallop. $6 for 3 oz.

Meet the Makers: Tony and Tracy Blanchard of Big T Coastal Provisions

Andrew Cebulka

Early in their relationship, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, native Tony "Big T" Blanchard made wife Tracy ("little t") a batch of his mom's crab dip. The matchmaking appetizer became the couple's go-to party trick, and after years of friends saying, "You've gotta sell this," Tracy finally shared the family favorite with the rest of us.

Jalapeño Crab Dip
Big T Coastal Provisions, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Combine equal parts beloved ancestral recipe and generous hunks of wild-caught crab and you have the formula for the ultimate sunset-watching app. $8 for 8 oz.; bigtcoastalprovisions.com

Photo: Stephen DeVries; Styling: Rachael Burrow and Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Bar Essentials

Smitty's Mary Mix
Seattle Pickle Co., Seattle
With a name nodding to a fourth-generation Seattle pickler, it should come as no surprise that the key ingredient in this peppery, punchy bloody mix is (what else?) pickle brine. $25 for 32 oz.; seattlepickleco.com

Citrus Rosemary Syrup
Raft Syrups, Portland, Oregon
No corn syrup here. Genevieve Brazelton crafts her outstanding bar goods from organic cane sugar and crystalline Bull Run Basin water. $15 for 8.4 oz.; raftsyrups.com

American Single Malt Whiskey
Westland Distillery, Seattle
Without the luxury of extensive barrel aging, most craft whiskeys careen toward throat-punishing heat. Not so this Seattle standout with notes of almonds, coffee, and custard. westlanddistillery.com

Matthiasson Winery, Napa, California
Stony and distinctive, Steve Matthiasson's take on Italy's Ribolla Gialla grape epitomizes the indie approach that is shaking up the Bordeaux status quo in Napa. matthiasson.com

Gin Blend No. 01
Venus Spirits, Santa Cruz, California
Brewer turned booze guru Sean Venus pot-distills this creamy, citrus-forward gin from fresh fruit (tangerine, lemon) and a base of organic wheat. venusspirits.com

Bruto Americano
St. George Spirits, Alameda, California
Boasting complex bitterness (Gentian root) and bright top notes from California-grown Seville oranges, Bruto Americano is the rare domestic aperitif that trumps its more storied Italian counterparts. stgeorgespirits.com

Chicory-Pecan Bitters
El Guapo Bitters, New Orleans
Instantly upgrade any rum or bourbon cocktail with few drops of this addictive elixir, made from Louisiana pecans and locally roasted chicory coffee. $25 for 3.4 oz.; elguapobitters.com

Sea to Sea Club Soda
Grocers Bottling Co., Brooklyn, New York
That splash of soda in your spritz is no longer an afterthought with Court Street Grocers' version fashioned from bicoastal sea salt (Maine Sea Salt Co. and Oregon's Jacobsen). courtstreetgrocers.com

Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine
This Belgian-inspired vanguard continues to impress with lineup additions like the sessionable Hoppy Table Beer. allagash.com

Tandem Coffee Roasters, Portland, Maine
Vacationland's destination-worthy bakery also roasts a mean cup of coffee—as evidence, its floral Ethiopian Hunda Oli. tandemcoffee.com

Cold Brew
Seaworth Coffee Co., Costa Mesa, California
It's a rich, double-filtered brew polished of all harsh acidity and bitter edges. Dilute with steamed milk for a killer cortado. seaworthcoffee.com

Cannonborough Beverage Co., Charleston, South Carolina
Cannonborough's trio of soda-jerk artists use nothing but natural sweeteners and peak seasonal ingredients. cannonbevco.com

Photo: Stephen DeVries; Styling: Rachael Burrow and Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Pantry Staples

Hot Chili Spears
Gordy's Pickle Jar, Washington, D.C.
When it comes to brine and heat, these crunchy Kirby spears follow the Goldilocks principle: The balance is just right. $10 for a 16-oz. jar; gordyspicklejar.com

Sweet Potato Habanero Hot Sauce
Cochon Restaurant, New Orleans
Perk up oysters or a piled-high po' boy with this singular, sweet-spicy hot sauce from New Orleans culinary titan Donald Link. $8.50 for 5 oz.; cochonrestaurant.com

Cheese Crisps
Callie's Charleston Biscuits, Charleston
Lowcountry biscuit maven Carrie Morey proves she also has a knack for snacks with these peppery, hand-rolled crisps made from sharp Vermont Cheddar. $19.90 for two 6-oz. packages; calliesbiscuits.com

Heidi's Salsa, Los Angeles
An ode to her Mexican-American heritage, co-founder Heidi Wither's garden-fresh salsas partner chunks of ripe tomatoes with prickly green hatch chilies. $6 for a 16-oz. jar; heidissalsa.com

Potato Chips
Lowcountry Kettle, Charleston
This Charleston newcomer hits all the right notes with extra-crispy chips in Southern-fried flavors like bloody Mary and spicy pimiento cheese. $36 for 24 bags; lowcountrykettle.com

Extra-virgin Olive Oil
The Other Brother, Carmel Valley, California
Brothers-from-different-mothers Ben Herrmann and Evan Loewy produce this buttery blend from California-grown Arbequina, Leccino, and Pendolino olives. $25 for 500 mL; theotherbrothercompany.com

Meet the Maker: Jessica Koslow of Sqirl

Claire Cottrell 

Years before she was the indisputable it girl of fresh California fare, Jessica Koslow had a life-altering meal at Atlanta's Bacchanalia. She wrote the owner a letter and landed herself a job on the pastry line, where she became obsessed with the preservation mentality of the South. The rest is history.

Seascape Strawberry & Rose Geranium Jam
Sqirl, Los Angeles
From her much-hyped matchbook of a restaurant in Silver Lake, Koslow crafts small-batch preserves that are every bit as Instagramable as her avocado toast. $13 for an 8-oz. jar; sqirlla.com

Photo: Stephen DeVries; Styling: Rachael Burrow and Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Sundae Fixings

Hot Fudge
Coop's Microcreamery, Boston
Marc "Coop" Cooper's hot fudge has developed such a cult following that he unveiled a 3-oz. "Carry-on Friendly" jar for fans on the go. $9 for a 10.6-oz. jar; coopsmicrocreamery.com for retailers

Salted Caramel Sauce
Alma Handmade Chocolates, Portland, Oregon
Meet your favorite pint's new BFF: confectioner Sarah Hart's divine caramel sauce spangled with flakes of hand-harvested sea salt. $10 for a 10-oz. jar; almachocolate.com

Ice Cream
Salt & Straw, Portland, Oregon
In the current boomlet of farm-to-cone operations, this Portland original churns out the most rapturously delicious scoops (e.g. Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper). $65 for five pints; saltandstraw.com

Snaps Ginger Cookies
Bunches & Bunches, Portland, Oregon
Crumble these two-bite cookies onto everything from piecrust to Greek yogurt for an extra piquant punch. $15 for 24 cookies; bunches-bunches.com

Banana Foster Pecans
Q's Nuts, Somerville, Massachusetts
Brian and Beth Quinn pack the sweet, rummy essence of New Orleans's trademark dessert into their roasted pecans—no flambéing required. $7 for a 4.5-oz. bag; qsnuts.com

Chocolate Bars
Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, Eureka, California
Former boatbuilders Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor found their true medium: cacao, which they work into nuanced bean-to-bar chocolate. $8.50 for a 2-oz. bar; dicktaylorchocolate.com

Meet the Makers: Natasha Case and Freya Estreller

Courtesy of Coolhaus

When they rolled up to Coachella in 2009, Coolhaus founders Natasha Case (pictured) and Freya Estreller were driving a souped-up postal van loaded down with ice-cream sandwiches. They left with a committed following. Today the pair, whose backgrounds in design and real estate fueled the ice cream's architecture-inspired monikers, sell their cool treats from two SoCal storefronts, a fleet of 10 trucks and carts, and grocery stores nationwide.

Ice-cream Sammie
Coolhaus, Los Angeles
With names like "Cara-Mia Lehrer" (a nod to the noted landscape architect) and combinations such as sea salt–caramel ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies, dare we say it? The childhood classic is all grown up. $60 for six sammies; cool.haus