Story by Dave Eckert | Photos courtesy of Kearney Culinary Academy
Interest in local products, most notably local artisan food and beverage products, has never been higher. With that in mind and with the holiday season upon us, I’ve dedicated this article to some of the best, tastiest and most thirst-quenching Kansas City-produced items to be found. These are items sure to satisfy the foodie in your life even if that happens to be you!
Let’s start with the Kearney Culinary Academy. There are so many ways to take advantage of what the KCA offers that it’s hard to know where to start. I’d begin with their array of classes which offer an amazing variety of themes geared to everyone from kids to individuals to couples. The Academy has also recently teamed with Shatto Home Delivery for meals that can be cooked in less than 15 minutes and are delivered right to your door. You can also find the meals along with a terrific selection of baked goods at the Academy which is located at 105 South Jefferson in the heart of Kearney. And, you can get all the information about the classes by visiting their website at kearneyculinary.com
I love acquiring rubs, salts, and sauces. My spice drawer and pantry are filled with them, and there’s always room for more. Anyone can run up to the local supermarket and pick some things out, but it takes a bit more effort to find the little local guy or gal mixing up something truly special. Ever heard of spicy chutney from Jyoti’s Kitchen? I hadn’t either until I met Jyoti Mukharji in Prairie Village. Turns out this retired physician, who loves to cook, teaches Indian Cuisine in her home kitchen where she also makes her chutney, a fantastic spicy alternative to mayonnaise.
For a taste of New Orleans look no further than Chef Anita Moore’s Bourbon Sweet Wing and Bayou Hot Pepper Sauce. Moore, the force, and I do mean force, behind Smithville’s Soiree New Orleans Bistro, has just started bottling the wing sauces, and they are both excellent! She says it’s about as close to New Orleans as you can get without going there. I concur, unless, of course, you’re talking about swinging by Soiree for a meal which will also satisfy even the heartiest hankering for the food of the Crescent City!
How does Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce sound to you? Yeah, well, me too! And, the thing is the sauce from Borgman’s Dairy Farm is even BETTER than it sounds. I first met owner Janet Smith and tasted the Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce at the Cultivate KC “Dig In” Benefit in late summer. It was love at first taste, and I can’t recommend that sauce or Smith’s Goat’s Milk Cheesecake highly enough!
Finally, some love for that man or woman you know who just can’t wait for that new craft beer to be released. There’s no shortage of craft breweries in the Kansas City metro, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that consistently brews more highly praised and sought-after suds than Raytown’s Crane Brewing. You’ll find a wide range of award-winning beers from Michael Crane and crew, but in December you can snap up the latest release of Crane’s Festiweiss, which Crane describes as a cranberry-ginger Berliner Weiss. How about a few bottles of that to spice up your holiday season?
It’s never been easier to find these and other great and delicious KC items as new, exciting, and dedicated purveyors are popping up all the time and the number of area stores carrying locally-made products is growing.
But, if you’d like to find dozens of producers, including all of the above, sampling and selling dozens and dozens of their products under one roof, may I suggest attending the first annual KC Foodie Festival. The KCFF will be held December 2 from 10am-5pm at the iWerx event space at 1520 North Clay Street in North Kansas City. Tickets are just $5 in advance, $10 at the door. You can purchase tickets by visiting iwerx.org and clicking on the events page! I, for one, wouldn’t miss it!