Not content to sit atop a throne of taleggio as one of Los Angeles' most acclaimed cheese purveyors, Norbert Wabnig has fashioned himself into the artisanal food world's equivalent of (pre-stroke) Dick Clark, bestowing a set of annual awards to artisanal food producers. The proprietor of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, just announced the winners of the seventh annual American Artisanal Treasure Awards.
Wabnig, whose store has sold all manner of crafty eats since its inception in 1967, sees the awards as a way of saying "thank you" to these artisans. This year, for the first time, the awards include organizations helping to promote the artisanal movement. Full list of winners, along with Wabnig's take on them, after the jump.
"This totally unique Wisconsin cheddar has amazing depth of character and little crunchy crystal bits, like fine parmesan."
"Located in Southern Oregon, owners Cary Bryant and David Gremmels produce a variety of award-winning blue and hand-milled cheddar cheeses."
"Founder Soyoung Scanlan's cheese are designed to reveal the essence of terroirs where the milk and the cheese are produced."
"Shephard's organic Carpinteria Strawberries with cane sugar and Balsamic vinegar made by Chef Julia Crookston in Santa Barbara."
"Swiss miss Marianne and husband Eric Manes produce some of the Golden State's finest chocolate products of Swiss chocolate origin."
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"Savannah Bee Company founder Ted Dennard was first introduced to honey as a 12-year old boy on his father's Coastal Georgia retreat property when a battered old pickup carrying beehives rattled into his life."
"Nestled in the rolling hills of Washington between Wenatchee and Cashmere, Anjou Bakery is owned by Heather and Kevin Knight. Fruit Nut Crostini is the latest product made from the bakery's fruit-nut bread. The bread is baked, air dried, thinly sliced and re-baked for a crisp texture."