One of the biggest food fairs of the year is here: the Emporiyum, held at Union Market’s Dock 5 on Saturday and Sunday. Co-founders Sue-Jean Kang and Mindy Schapiro travel the country—and parts of the globe—to find talented chefs and artisans to bring together at the two-day marketplace. Here you’ll find gifts fit for food lovers and ready-eat drinks and dishes, pantry items and bottles for the bar cart.
Locals like Bullfrog Bagels, Taco Bamba, and Maketto participate alongside names from further afield. We asked Kang to pick out of a few of her favorite finds, and we also couldn’t help weighing in on some of ours. Here are a few (of the many) can’t-miss vendors this year.
Callie’s Biscuits (Charleston, SC)
A must-buy for biscuit lovers: Carey Morey’s buttermilk biscuits, much loved in her native Charleston. You’ll find both freshly-baked and frozen version to take home, plus pimento cheeses and tasty cheese crisps.
One of the most popular ready-eat items at past Emporiyums have been Swizzler’s grass-fed hot dogs. Combinations go well beyond mustard and chili—try the Leonardo Dog Vinci with pesto, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic glaze.
Floede Bolle (Denmark)
Yes, they are actually coming all the way from Denmark,” says Kang. “We found these guys at the Fancy Food Show [in New York] and were blown away by their floedebollers, a popular Danish sweet,” says Kang. “It’s essentially a chocolate covered marshmallow but the mallow is much lighter, almost like meringue-like.” No surprise: the English translation is ‘cream ball’.
Bees Knees Spicy Honey (Brooklyn, NY)
This chemical-free wildflower honey comes from a family-run apiary in the Hudson Valley, and packs a generous amount of heat thanks to an infusion of chili peppers. Try it on a cheeseboard, drizzled over fried chicken, or atop peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
Butter and Scotch (Brooklyn, NY)
“These guys were with us last year and sold out of their s’more pies within hours on both days of The Emporiyum,” says Kang. This year the Brooklyn-based bar/bakery will bring cocktail-inspired caramel corn in flavors like dark and stormy or green chile margarita.
A Better Batch (DC)
Vegan cookie dough won’t sound appetizing to butter lovers, but even omnivores will like this one (and they may not notice it’s dairy-free). Kang first spotted the prettily-packaged sweets in Charleston at one her favorite stores, Southern Season.
Righteous Felon Jerky Cartel (West Chester, PA)
Serious jerky fans should check out this equally serious-sounding company out of Pennsylvania. Like most good food, quality starts with the ingredients—dry-aged Roseda Beef, “jerkified” in small batches with unusual spicing. Try the chili and cumin Che-Potle Guevara).
Mt. Defiance Cider Distillery (Middleburg, VA)
We’ve stopped by this Middleburg cidery for bottles of their delicious farmhouse-style cider—unfiltered, unsweetened, unpasteurized, and truly refreshing. Look for seasonal varieties made with fresh ginger root or blueberries. They’ll have samples of their spirits that could include rum, brandy, and absinthe.