Cutino Sauce Co.Find at: AJ’s Find Foods, Whole Foods, La Grande Orange, Pane Bianco
Cutino Sauce Co’s Habanero hot sauce is nothing short of liquid gold. The combo of habaneros, sweet onion, carrot, mustard, and lemon juice deliver both kick and complexity for a sassy sauce that’s smooth and citrusy. In other words, it will tantalize your taste buds without scorching them to oblivion. Owner Jacob Cutino’s full lineup of small-batch artisanal sauces is bold but not overpowering; the jalapeño, chipotle, verde, and miso ignite everything from carnitas to cookies (check their website for recipes). Just remember: A little goes a long way.
Sting ‘N’ Linger SalsaFind at: Sprouts
Jarred salsa can be tricky. Often too runny or too blah, it almost never tastes as fab or fresh as the restaurant stuff. Sting ‘N’ Linger is the exception. More than a mere condiment, it’s simultaneously saucy, scoopable, chunky, and packed with fresh tomato flavor. The secret: Sting 'n' Linger preserves the fresh chilies, peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro with lemon and lime juice, or red wine vinegar, but never chemicals. Go raspberry chipotle for smoky sweetness, prickly pear for a tangy treat, and ghost pepper for the ultimate sting.
Mediterra BakehouseFind at: AJ’s Fine Foods, La Grande Orange
If fresh-baked bread is a religious experience for you, get ready to exalt Mediterra Bakehouse. Baked in Coolidge, Arizona, by Nick Ambeliotis, these crusty creations are made to last. Loaves are baked with longer fermentation times, centuries-old techniques, and fewer ingredients — sometimes only flour, water, and salt. Bestsellers include the red fife batard (an oblong loaf made with locally grown organic heritage red fife grain), olive farm (a chewy farm bread stuffed with salty Kalamata olives), and pecan cranberry (a naturally leavened loaf packed to the crust with half a pound of tart, dried cranberries and toasted pecans). All breads are baked in a brick hearth oven hand-built in France.
Audrey’s Chia CookiesFind at: Fry’s, Whole Foods, AJ’s Fine Foods, Sprouts
Audrey Martinez first heard of chia seeds when she was 50 and training for her first marathon. She says the little seeds gave her super energy and endurance. Convinced of their superpowers, Martinez created Audrey’s Chia Cookies — a thin, crispy, shortbread-style cookie that packs in as many chia seeds as possible. The bite-sized morsels come in lemon, almond, peanut butter, and chocolate chip, and are made with wholesome ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, eggs), never chemical preservatives or corn syrup. No, they won’t guarantee you’ll run a marathon, but they’re an easy and addictive way to get more of those nutrient-dense seeds.
Hayden Flour MillsFind at: Sprouts, Whole Foods, Pane Bianco
Hayden Flour Mills is a labor of love. Operated by the Zimmerman family since 2011, it started as an homage to the way flour used to be made in Arizona. The Queen Creek-based mill uses only heritage and ancient grains, most grown in Arizona on small farms, and grinds them on an Austrian stonemill. No wonder local chefs like Chris Bianco, Proof Bread’s Jonathan Przybyl, and FnB’s Charleen Badman are fans, and use (or sell) Hayden products. Pro tip: Try the white Sonoran all-purpose flour for cookies and quick breads; use the artisan bread flour for rustic loaves.
namiDOH Take N’ Bake Vegan Cookie DoughFind at: Whole Foods
It may be vegan, but even Homer Simpson would approve of this Doh! The mighty namiDOH Take N’ Bake Vegan Cookie Dough is the ultimate nostalgic treat in a cute box. Vegan chocolate chip comes in an orange box, the gluten- and soy-free vegan chocolate chip is packaged in purple, and cosmic — an out-of-this-world combo of chocolate, white chocolate, potato chips, and coffee — comes in green. Bake ’em up for a heavenly cookie smell throughout the kitchen or just go straight in for the raw dough (no eggs!).
Peanut Butter AmericanoFind at: Sprouts, AJ’s Find Foods, Fry’s
Peanut Butter Americano is like peanut butter with jazz hands. Sure, one flavor is just classic peanut butter — a two-ingredient combo of peanuts and sea salt — but the brand also has flashy and decadent pairings. Choco blanco marries peanut butter and white chocolate, the cinnamon honey combines cinnamon and Arizona wildflower honey, and the dark chocolate adds chocolate and vanilla to the mix. The flavors may be showy, but nuts are roasted the old-fashioned way, raked over a large griddle. Plus, each jar is hand-scooped and labeled right here in Phoenix.
Cactus Candy Company JellyFind at: AJ's Fine Foods
You’ve probably driven by Cactus Candy Company’s 24th Street factory, the white building with “Cactus Candy” written on it. And you’ve probably seen the prickly pear candy, the yellow box with the pink, sugar-coated squares inside, an Arizona icon dating back to 1942. But have you tried the jellies and marmalades? Available in a wealth of Southwestern flavors, the prickly pear cactus jelly is simultaneously sweet and tart, the jalapeño jelly has a hint of heat, and the desert orange marmalade gives you a sucker punch of citrus. Sandwich it between Mediterra bread and Peanut Butter Americano for a totally local PB&J.
Kettle HeroesFind at: Sprouts, Fry’s, AJ’s Find Foods, Whole Foods
Once reserved for movies and your microwave, bagged popcorn has exploded — and leading the revolution is Kettle Heroes, a family-owned company out of Tempe run by brothers Aaron and Rudi Sinykin. Flavors include hatch green chili cheddar, cinnamon sugar churros, prickly pear, and sea salted caramel. These kernels are popped to perfection and dusted in seasonings made with real roasted green chiles, natural-aged white cheddar cheese, actual cinnamon, and pure sea salt to give the puffed corn some real flavor.
AZ Queen Bee HoneyFind at: Sprouts
AZ Queen Bee Honey is raw and unfiltered: It contains the beneficial pollens mass-produced honey often filters out. And because local bees pollinate local plants, when you buy AZ Queen Bee Honey, you’re benefiting your area’s eco-system. Bottled by beekeeper and honey enthusiast Audra Waddle, you can thank the nectar of mesquite flowers and Arizona wildflowers for its light and nuanced floral flavor. Her cinnamon honey desert bloom adds in a hint of cinnamon — meaning it's an ideal addition to your morning coffee, French toast, charcuterie board, or ice cream.