sofi Awards 2015 – the Oscars of Artisan Food

Every year in June artisan makers from all over America, and the world for that matter, flock to New York for the Fancy Food Show. At Mantry we love visiting makers on their home turf whenever possible, but for us the Fancy Food Show is the best chance to catch hundreds of amazing makers in two (very busy) days.

Run in parallel with the show are the sofi awards, which are basically the Oscars for artisan food. Split into 30+ categories, the awards receive over 2,700 entries – that’s a lot for the judges to taste!

We tried most of the finalists’ products this year, and wanted to highlight a few of our favorites (who knows, they might end up in a Mantry crate this coming year…) So in no particular order:

Owl’s Brew White and Vine – Winner (Cold Beverage Category)

Owls Brew White & Vine

photo courtesy of specialtyfood.com

Owl’s brew didn’t have to fly far to attend this year’s show, and head honchos Jennie & Maria upheld hometown pride by bringing home gold. We sent their concoction ‘The Classic’ out in January and a recipe to make boozy Arnold Palmers, and our members loved it. ‘White & VIne’ is another tea infused take, featuring white tea with pomegranate, lemon peel and watermelon juice. We tried it, and think if any drink has can take the title for the official drink of summer, this is it.

Lark Burnt Sugar & Fennel Shortbread – Finalist (Cookies, Brownies & Cakes Category)

Lark Burnt Sugar Fennel Shortbread

photo courtesy of specialtyfood.com

The love of licorice is often reserved for aging men and the Dutch, and taste cousin fennel can be enough to give adventurous snackers pause. These delicious shortbread cookies by Lark Fine Foods challenge even the pickiest eaters to say they don’t like fennel. Expertly paired with the taste of burnt sugar (think toasted marshmallow), the fennel in these cookies comes across as delicate and tasty.

Callies Cheese & Chive Biscuits (Winner Breads, Muffins, Granola or Cereal)

callies cheese and chive biscuits

photo courtesy of specialtyfood.com

Capturing the essence of fresh hot soul food in a pantry product can only be achieved by the greats, and Callie’s Biscuits out of Charleston is the Meryl Streep of the artisan food world. Combining sharp cheddar and fragrant chives in a light and flaky pastry, Callie’s stole out hearts (and our stomachs) from the first bite.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we look forward to featuring even more sofi finalists and award winners in our coming themes for the Mantry subscription service. I can’t wait until the winter show in San Fran, and in the meantime, check out some recipes from 2014 sofi winners featured in last year’s Mantry crates: Coop’s Hot Fudge Sundae and Pok Pok Tamarind Drinking Vinegar Cocktail

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