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Pickles, cheese and more: 9 top food picks from Bon Appetit

Nov. 22, 2013 at 10:53 AM ET

Pickles
Bon Appetit
Maille Cornichons Extra Fine Gherkins

Need to class up your offerings while entertaining? Staffers at Bon Appetit magazine share nine of the 25 food items that received their seal of approval. 

Maille Cornichons Extra Fine Gherkins

The Clapp family fridge is never without a jar of these crunchy, tangy little guys— crisper and zingier than the other brands. My husband stuffs them in a split baguette with butter and a hunk of pâté for a luxe Saturday lunch; I chop them up and mix into tuna salad for a solo dinner. They even show up as a snack with drinks. And I do love the little lift-up basket, I won’t deny it. ($6 for 14 oz.) —Allie Lewis Clapp, food editor

Dalmatia Fig Spread

A friend served this sweet, flavor-rich spread at a party years back, and since then I’ve never put together a cheese plate without it. I also pair this pleasantly seedy jam with fresh ricotta on an everything bagel and use it as the binder in granola bars. ($7 for 8.5 oz.*) —Mike Ley, deputy art director

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Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar

This is the category killer of everyday cheddars. Sharp, but not too sharp. Classy enough to serve to guests, but just as welcome in a grilled cheese. Available in pretty much any supermarket’s dairy aisle. Did I mention that it’s made by an actual cooperative in Vermont? ($2.75 for 8 oz.) —Scott DeSimon, deputy editor

La Quercia Prosciutto Americano

The prosciutto produced by this Iowa-based company would make an Italian weep with its award-winning balance of salty, creamy, sweet, and rich. When I’m not scarfing it out of hand or twirling it around a breadstick to serve to guests, I work ribbons of it into pasta, pizza, panini, and risotto. ($11 for 3 oz.*) —Christine Muhlke, executive editor

Haechandle Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste

The Korean chile paste gochujang has it all: spice, sweetness, and funk—I’m never running out of ways to cook with it. It goes with any protein, vegetable, or grain. I use gochujang as the base of marinades, barbecue with it in the summer, and add it to warming stews in the winter. It’s even great on a meatloaf sandwich. You don’t need to know how to pronounce it before you try it, but just for the record, it’s go-CHOO-jong. ($8 for 17.6 oz.*) —Brad Leone, test kitchen assistant

Anson Mills Antebellum Coarse Yellow Grits

When restaurant menus started listing purveyors, there was one company I saw again and again: Anson Mills. Their wonderfully creamy grits—with a true corn flavor—showed up beneath eggs and alongside pork chops, and soon I decided they had to show up in my kitchen, too. Now my weeknight shrimp and grits (and more!) are officially restaurant-worthy.($6 for 12 oz.*) —Meryl Rothstein, senior associate editor

Creminelli Sopressata Artisan Salami

There’s lots of so-called “artisanal” charcuterie on the market these days, but the ingredient labels don’t always live up to expectations. That’s why I’m partial to the slow-cured, hand-tied salamis from Creminelli, a small operation in Salt Lake City. Their heritage pigs are humanely raised and antibiotic free; what you see is what you get. I like to saw the expertly spiced soppressata log into coins and serve it with fresh figs, a few olives, and a hunk of salty Pecorino. ($13 for 7 oz.) —Ashlea Halpern, special projects editor

Red Star Yeast Flakes

Nutritional yeast haters, I was once like you: I thought, Why would a healthy omnivore mess around with this B6- and B12- loaded, non-leavening yeast? And then I tried popcorn dusted with the stuff. Eureka! Its Parmesan-y umami flavor seems to go with basically everything. Red Star’s large flakes are the right size and texture for sprinkling over things like kale chips, roasted vegetables, even bowls of pasta. ($6 for 5 oz.) —Alison R.

Navitas Naturals Raw Chia Seeds

A year ago, I thought chia seeds were something you put on a ceramic pet that grew Bob Ross’s hair. It’s the same thing, right? Now I’m disappointed if I can’t have them in my yogurt with honey every day for breakfast. This organic brand supports sustainable farming, which just sweetens the deal. I keep a jar full of them in my desk drawer to mix up my morning yogurt. I also make chia pudding, and sprinkle the seeds on top of peanut butter on toast. Delicious. It’s my lazy way of doing something a little bit healthy. ($17 for 16 oz.) —Elizabeth Spiridakis Olson, art director

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