Locally made chocolates at Fran's Chocolates. (Courtesy Fran’s Chocolates)
Starbucks might be the most famous and widespread food or drink brand that was started in Seattle, but it’s far from the only one. From creating chocolate treats to cocktail ingredients, Seattleites are getting to work in the kitchen handcrafting tasty creations for all to enjoy.
Like several popular food products, Jonboy Caramels got started at farmers markets around the city. (Rachel’s Ginger Beer also started at farmers markets, and it now has two Seattle locations, including one at Pike Place Market.) These caramels use local ingredients—making some varieties seasonal—and no corn syrup. Find unique flavors like absinthe with black salt, balsamic berry, Ceylon cinnamon and whiskey with smoked salt. Find the caramels at Seattle-area Whole Foods stores and at specialty shops, or online.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
When visiting Pike Place Market, don’t forget to peek into the windows at the corner of Pine Street and Pike Place. It’s the kitchen for the original Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, a market staple since 2003. See local milk transformed into the Flagship, Marco Polo or Just Jack cheese. Head inside for paninis, soups or the decadent mac and cheese. Beecher’s also has locations at Bellevue and Sea-Tac Airport (find it in Concourse C to stock up before flying home) and a store in New York City.
Bitters can add the finishing note to a cocktail, and in his search for the perfect ingredient, Seattle bartender Miles Thomas developed his own line of bitters in 2008. Now Scrappy’s Bitters, still made in small batches in Seattle, is available in stores around the world. Varieties include the flagship lavender blend, grapefruit, orange, cardamom, celery, lime and even chocolate. There are two gift sets available, with small quantities of four flavors—a great option to find your favorite.
San Juan Island Sea Salt
Bring a bit of the area’s ocean home with you in the form of San Juan Island Sea Salt. After leaving his San Juan Island home for college in Seattle, Brady Ryan returned to the family farm and started making salt by evaporating seawater in greenhouses. The resulting product makes a fabulous finishing salt for food and a fun gift for anyone who loves to cook. Find the salt in Seattle at Sugarpill, The Pantry, The London Plane and more locations, as well as online.
One of the sweetest Seattle-made products is created by hand in Georgetown. Fran Bigelow and her company, Fran’s Chocolates, have been perfecting the art of chocolate since her first shop opened in 1982. Now, truffles, chocolate bars, caramels and more are churned out daily from the brand's headquarters. Visit the shop to see the production process, sample some chocolate and buy gifts. There are also boutiques downtown, at University Village and in Bellevue.