Purely Elizabeth and Engine 2 granola
$5-$7 for a 12-ounce bag; Whole Foods Markets
If you believe there can’t be too much granola, try this disparate pair. Purely Elizabeth granola could walk into a party and wow guests with its sophistication. It’s refined, svelte and wealthy, with ingredients including oats, pecans, cranberries, amaranth cinnamon and sea salt. On the other hand, Engine 2 granola would be more likely to crash that same party. It contains steel-cut and rolled oats, applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla extract and freeze-dried blueberries. Both are delicious.
Chicken of the Sea crab-claw meat
$12 for a 16-ounce can; Save Mart Stores; chickenofthesea.com
The Dungeness crab season is on hold because of contamination in the crustaceans from toxic algae blooms in the Pacific. What are we seafood-lovers to do while we wait for the possible season opener? One option is to dive into a 1-pound can of Chicken of the Sea brand crab-claw meat, harvested from wild-caught blue crabs. It’s on special through Dec. 29 at all Northern California Save Mart stores, marked down from $14 to $12. It’s a great option for crab cakes and other recipes.
Honey Bear Ranch
$3.50-$17; Honey Bear Ranch (2826 Barkley Road, Camino); www.honeybearapples.com
One under-the-radar bakery-winery-cafe among the Apple Hill orchards is Honey Bear Ranch, where Sue Folk puts up a mini-cornucopia of goodies that will be the co-stars at any holiday table. Folk sources mostly local ingredients for her cranberry applesauce, carrot cake jam, cranberry-apple salsa, corn salsa, pickled beets, pickled jalapeños and more. Finish with her luscious apple and marionberry pies, pineapple-zucchini cake, sweet potato bread and almond-coconut crunch. Open until Dec. 15.
R. W. Knudsen Sparkling Juices
$2.99 for a 25.4-ounce bottle; Raley’s; rwknudsenfamily.com
Give your party guests a beverage as bubbly as the season itself with these non-alcoholic juices from California natural foods pioneers R. W. Knudsen (that’s ka-noot-son in case you’ve wondered). Try fall flavors such as Crisp Apple Cider and Pomegranate.
The Salami Store by Zoe’s Ghost Pepper Salami
$7.99 for 8 ounces; Nugget Markets; zoesmeats.com
Put a kick on your appetizer plate with this fiery offering from artisan meat-maker Zoe’s. The salami uses Indian Bhut Jolokia chilies (dubbed “ghost peppers” and known as the hottest in the world), which pack a punch 500 times hotter than a jalapeño. The heat arrives on the back end, and doesn’t doesn’t eclipse the rich, meaty flavors.
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