Photo: Randy Mayor
With great joy we tasted the handiwork of food artisans from every corner of the country. Most of these products can be ordered online; a few require a trip to the producer but are so good we had to include them. Note: We tasted by region, not by category, looking for examples of local excellence. A winning Vermont cheddar was not compared to a Michigan raclette; both are equally excellent. We focused on five main categories: cheese, spirits and beer, meat, condiments, and sweets, with a few miscellaneous (and irresistible) picks.