Artisanal LA: Bacon Bourbon S'mores And 10 Other Cool Things At This Weekend's Show

By Jessica Hamlin

The 2015 spring show for Artisanal LA, the large bi-annual event that showcases local makers of food, home and body items, is this weekend at downtown's The Reef (formerly the LA Mart). Perfect timing if you want to get a unique Mother’s Day gift.

Maker demos and workshops and the popular urban farm pop-up will be back with rescued goats and a baby pig from the Soledad Sanctuary. Samples galore of Kombucha, jerky and baked goods, to name a few, will also be on hand.

But there are a lot of new kids on the block too, with 60 of the 150-plus vendors making their Artisanal LA debut this weekend. Here’s a list of highlights for this year’s spring show, from the healthy to the decadent to the drought- and dog-friendly.

Bacon S’mores: Recently named the “best dessert innovation” at Coachella by Rolling Stone, Mallow Mallow kicks the campfire classic up a few notches with homemade graham crackers, marshmallows and milk and dark chocolate. The marshmallows come in flavors such as peanut butter, strawberry, vanilla, and bourbon—the last served with bacon in a s’more aptly named, “The American.” (Just maybe don’t let the urban farm’s baby pig see you eating the patriotic concoction. Talk about an omnivore’s dilemma.) S’mores will be for sale, as well as s’mores kits and packs of their homemade marshmallows. You’re killing me, Smalls.

Aztec Chocolate Almond Butter: Up your sandwich and snacking game or just grab a spoon and dig in to Solstice Canyon’s almond butters. Their regular almond, Aztec chocolate almond and cardamom and clove almond butters “are made using certified organic, raw, unpasteurized European almonds and other raw, organic, low-glycemic super ingredients,” Solstice Canyon explains on their website. But “taste receives equal amounts of attention,” they add. Tasty and healthy is as dynamic a duo as, well, chocolate and nut butter.

Gourmet Dog Treats (that are okay for humans): Don’t let your furry friend feel left out after you spend the day noshing on Artisanal LA samples. Your dog can eat as well as a healthy human with Bobby and Bambi’s Gourmet Dog Bakery treats made from 100 percent human-grade organic ingredients that are completely free of gluten, wheat, corn, soy, sugar, salt and preservatives. “Human-grade,” as in, you won’t be faulted for trying a pumpkin peanut butter dog biscuit since the ingredients list could easily be found on a healthy box of cookies meant for people. It’s okay, we won’t tell Fido where the rest of his treats went.

Modern Milk & Cookies Corner: A welcome combo for all ages, milk and cookies get the grown-up gourmet treatment. The cookie corner will include Califia Farms almond milk with cold brew and fresh baked vegan, naturally sweetened cookie dough from returning vendor Conscious Cookie, plus Soft Peak Confections playful yet elegant French macarons and Small Batch homey cookies in flavors like salted butterscotch and banana split. If you want to wear your cookies, Inedible Jewelry will have cookie earrings and necklaces.

Brew Tea Like a Boss: Tea time! Copa Vida, which specializes in expertly-brewed coffee and tea in Pasadena, will teach various tea brewing methods on Sunday’s main stage. Can’t make it? They’re also teaching a “Brew Coffee Better Than a Snob” program on Saturday.

Pickled Brussels Sprouts: We can pickle that! New vendor Pacific Pickle Works has the pickled front covered, from takes on the cucumber classic to other jarred creations like Brussizle Sprouts, Unbeetables and Carriots of Fire. Their pun game is also on point.

Hand-painted Dinnerware: With a desire to add more whimsy to the dining table, Meku Designs founder Meena Kumar creates hand-painted dinnerware such as cocktail glasses spiffed up with colorful mosaic bowties or teacups and saucers illustrated with Alice in Wonderland elements. No drab dining allowed.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread. For the no-wheat crowd, Bread Srsly is San Francisco's first gluten-free sourdough bread company. Their luscious-looking loaves (classic, seeded or kale) adhere to strict Celiac Support Association standards, using “traditional fermentation of organic rice and millet, sorghum and a bit of arrowroot with a wild sourdough culture.” Now to figure out how to make a bread bowl out of it…

Cocktail Crafting Demo: The craft cocktail trend isn’t going anywhere. Pick up some mixology skills with Jonathan Del of Magnolia House, the beautifully renovated Pasadena Craftsman bar and lounge, on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Snack Attack: PureNola, maker of tasty, sprouted, crunchy cluster snacks that double as nourishing cereal or frozen dessert topping, will team up with Mylk almond milk to sell mini combo packs of the two at Artisanal LA. A match made in snack heaven. PureNola also has a new flavor: coconut banana chip.

Drought-Friendly Landscaping: The water situation in California isn’t getting any better and everyone’s being asked to conserve. Fortunately, Gardenerd will be on hand for some drought-friendly landscaping tips at Artisanal LA’s Sunday Garden Classroom from noon to 1 p.m.

Artisanal LA is Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Reef (1933 S. Broadway) in the 2nd floor Magic Box. You can visit Artisanal LA's website for more information, including tickets, vendor line-up and a full schedule of the weekend’s workshop and class offerings.

Jessica Hamlin is a journalist, web producer and editor born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. So she’s, like, a bonafide Valley Girl. Jessica formerly worked as an editor for AOL’s hyperlocal news start-up Patch and her work has appeared on KPCC’s website and in LA Downtown News, Pasadena Weekly and Pasadena Magazine. A Kombucha addict passionate about wellness and nutrition, Jessica likes making and discovering tasty and healthy food and started taking pictures of meals back when everyone used film cameras. You can find her work on her website, Twitter and Instagram.