Everyone Wants Chocolate and Meat for Christmas

We’re always on the lookout for new boutique-y chocolate or fancy salami to buy online. Just in time for holiday giving, the finalists for the first annual Good Food Awards competition were announced yesterday, spotlighting some great small chocolate and charcuterie makers across the country. There were also winners in categories for beer, coffee, cheese, pickles, and preserves. If you’re not familiar with the Good Food Awards, it’s a new artisanal food contest out of San Francisco, with entrants who can prove their products were made with responsibly produced ingredients. I helped out with the beer committee. You can check out some pictures from the blind tasting of over 750 entries here. Winners will be announced in January. These are some of the finalists that sounded really good and interesting, whose products are available online.

Duck Mousse with Cognac from Alexian Pâté & Terrines, Neptune, New Jersey: How impressed would you be if you dropped in for a cocktail at a friend's house and she whipped out some duck mousse with Cognac? You can buy it on Amazon!

Salty-Sweet Cashew Bar from Charles Chocolates, San Francisco, California: CHOW.com has been a fan of Charles Chocolates for a long time, and this savory/sweet packed-with-nuts bar (pictured) seems like a must-try.

Milk + Black Lava Sea Salt Chocolate from Vice Chocolates, Oakland, California: We’ve been wondering about this fetish-y looking chocolate company for a while. It’s good to know there’s another heavy hitter in town. Didn’t see this particular chocolate on their website. Might be a new item.

Natural Buffalo Strips from Gary West Smoked Meats, Jacksonville, Oregon: Jerky always makes a good manly stocking stuffer. Good Food Award judges gave this one a big thumbs up.

Coppa from Pine Street Market, Atlanta, Georgia: A small, regional charcuterie maker that ships around the country? Hell yeah! They even have a gift sampler. And their coppa looks goooooood.

Dark Chocolate In-NIB-itable Bar from Patric Chocolate, Columbia, Missouri: Crunchy cocoa-nib-filled bar from a three-year-old chocolatier who's been getting tons of awards and buzz.