Twenty years ago it was a tough task to build a tasty collection of American artisan foods, let alone one strictly from around the Great Lakes.
Times have changed. Today there’s such a bounty the tables have turned. The difficult job is not finding enough foods: it's editing the selection.
Here are seven delectables that I think represent some of the ingenuity and resources of artisan food makers from our region.
We stuff our cartooned gift box with Peanut Butter from Koeze in Grand Rapids, Strawberry and Pepper Jam from Farrell Fruit in Ann Arbor, Freshly Roasted Zingerman's Coffee, Mo’s Bacon Chocolate bar from Vosges in Chicago, Marieke Gouda from Thorp, Wisconsin, Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon from Wisconsin and our Pecan Raisin Bread.
"The huge box full of goodies -- that amazing raisin-pecan bread, bacon, Gouda, peanut butter, strawberry-pepper jam, coffee, and chocolate in that fun, colorful box filled with pleated brown wrapping shards -- was without a doubt the best gift we have ever received (and we are OLD. We graduated from Michigan 50 years ago.) We got so addicted to the bread (the best bread I have ever tasted in my entire life) that as soon as we finished it, I turned right around and ordered two more loaves for us by mail!"
Mary Jane B., Washington, D.C.