McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

 

Venice Cold Brew

9 gifts to ace all your LA picnics and barbecues this summer

By Kat Odell

It’s just too easy to roll up to a barbecue or picnic with a basic bottle of booze or a generic brand of chips and salsa—don’t be that person. With so many amazing culinary artisans residing in and around Los Angeles, it would be almost criminal not to take advantage of their wares, from exotically flavored charcuterie to rare ingredient jams. Here are 9 of our faves out there right now—awesome gifty things that any food-minded human will love.

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams
You’re at a barbecue, it’s summer—ice cream is a must! Look no further than McConnell’s, the dairy known for its quality pints made from Golden State ingredients. While flavors change on the regular—as they should at any reputable ice creamery—right now you can snag strawberry rhubarb, banana and salted caramel, and good old cookies and cream.
Price: $12
For Sale at: McConnell’s
Neighborhood: Downtown, Los Feliz, and Studio City
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Venice Cold Brew
If you’re bringing a beverage to a barbecue, it’s likely that it’s a bottle of wine. But have you ever thought instead to gift… artisanal coffee? Thanks to Chris Mueller, Venice Beach has its own signature beverage in the name of a snazzy bottled cold brew, sold black or with almond milk. It’s the drink everyone didn’t know they wanted—until you arrived. Oh, and that bottle of rum? Grab it and add a shot!
Price: $5
For Sale at: Erewhon Market
Neighborhood: Venice
MAP

Di Stefano’s Burrata
Aside from those with dietary restrictions, it’s safe to say there are zero people in the world who do not like burrata. Disagree? When was the last time you saw burrata on a menu and someone at the table didn’t want to order it? Exactly—which is why you’ll want to show up to your next barbecue with a few fresh orbs of the stuff, locally made no less. Some of the richest, creamiest stuff on the planet is being produced out in Pomona by Puglia-native Mimmo Bruno at Di Stefano, a dairy outfit that also makes other white cheeses. Nancy Silverton is a fan, so you—and everyone at the barbecue—will be too.
Prices Vary
For Sale at: Di Stefano Cheese
Neighborhood: Pomona
MAP


Gindo’s

Gindo’s Spice of Life Hot Sauce
Los Angeles chef Michael Voltaggio was one of Gindo’s earliest supporters back in 2011, when he added the company’s Original Fresh & Spicy sauce to his cold fried chicken sandwich sold at ink.sack. Founded by former bartender Chris Ginder, Gindo’s—which now offers an ever-growing line of hot sauces in varying levels of heat made from a spectrum of red and green peppers—has won over Angelenos for its vinegary, fresh pepper–flavored sauces that won’t totally burn out your taste buds. Sauces like the Original match extremely well with grilled proteins, from chicken to burgers. Find Gindo’s hot sauce online or at local LA shops, like all locations of Erewohn, or Harvest Bar in Sherman Oaks.
Price: $10, or a gift box for $32
For Sale at: Gindo’s website


Dewatsuru Brewery Sakura Emaki
Summer and rosé are indeed a happy match, but if you’re looking to offer up a twist on the typical way to drink pink, try rose-hued sake. Fermented from heirloom purple rice, Dewatsuru Brewery’s Sakura Emaki is one of Japan’s very few rosé sakes. With rice grains polished to 60 percent, the medium-bodied sipper pairs alongside everything from grilled veggies to ribs.
Price: $20
For Sale at: Mission Wine
Neighborhood: Pasadena, Glendale, Sherman Oaks, and South Glendale
MAP

Valerie’s matcha and rose petits fours
As one of Los Angeles’ most respected sweets providers, Valerie Confections has been long lauded for its petit fours—chocolate-covered cubes filled with layers of cake flavored with rose, lavender, even Champagne. Win over any barbecue host with a box of owner Valerie Gordon’s beautiful matcha and rose petits fours. Think layers of vanilla cake and passion fruit ganache, and cake with lemon verbena ganache cloaked in white chocolate.
Price: $53 for 12
For Sale at: Valerie Confections
Neighborhood: Silver Lake, Downtown, and Echo Park
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Gwen

Gwen’s charcuterie
Aussie chef Curtis Stone’s butchery and restaurant, Gwen, is one of LA’s best bets for locally made charcuterie. While cured meats change regularly, you’ll always be able to drop by for salami made with leek ash and porcini, in addition to lavender-imbued saucisson sec. Win your next barbecue by bringing a current Gwen special: wagyu salami. Just to clinch it, maybe toss in a few fudgy salted caramel macadamia nut brownies on the side.
Price Varies
For Sale at: Gwen
Neighborhood: Hollywood
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Milla Chocolates
You can never go wrong with chocolate. And if you drop a box, bar, or jar of Christine Sull Sarioz's Milla Chocolates on any host, you're guaranteed to be invited back. Made in LA from single-origin couverture, Sarioz's beautifully-designed, gilded bon bons - flavored with brut Champagne and classic Manhattan cocktail ingredients, among others - and Weck jars of caramelized roasted pistachios cloaked in 70 percent dark chocolate and dusted with Valrhona cocoa and mesquite sea salt continue to win her a slew of praise. But what you really don't want to miss is her award-winning hazelnut praliné bar wrapped by hand in gold foil. Think Nutella on crack.
Price: $10 to $48
For Sale at: Milla Chocolates boutique at ROW DTLA
Neighborhood: Downtown, various other locations (check website for details)
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Lemon Bird Preserves
Boasting exotic mashups like strawberry plus lemon basil, tomato plus vanilla bean, and hay-smoked limes, Amy Deaver’s preserve and pickle company, Lemon Bird Preserves, has the goods to elevate any cheese plate. Deaver’s inspired sweet and sour condiments are produced in small amounts, and made from often-hard-to-find ingredients carefully sourced from SoCal farms. Score jars around LA at DTLA Cheese and Milkfarm.
Price: $12 to $16
For Sale at: DTLA Cheese at Grand Central Market
Neighborhood: Downtown
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