Sometimes we pray for a snow-in. When the pantry is stocked and the fire’s blazing, we welcome weather that keeps us inside, where we can warm hands by the fireplace, and stoke hearths of another sort around the kitchen table. Food needn’t be fancy, as long as it’s plentiful. Against the icy bleakness of midwinter, we take comfort in excess: a bursting woodshed, a groaning fridge. So pile on the blankets, throw another log in the woodstove, and tuck in. It’s going to be a long, delicious winter.
Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter // Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters // Portland, OR
As morning-after stains attest, we’ve been known to, in a drunken pinch, squirt Sriracha on our late-night peanut-butter toast. Delicious? Yes. Debauched? Assuredly. Here’s maturity in a jar. Cleansed of sugars and other artificial fillers, it’s a step up from kid-friendly spreads; made with deeply spiced chipotles and healthy honey, its rich chew and lingering burn makes a PB to savor, not smear on your PJs.
Berry Pasilla Jam // Primo Specialty Foods // Denver, CO
Peanut butter and jelly: the ultimate stuck-at-home quick snack. Why mess with something so simple? Indeed, we wondered as much, until we tried Primo’s jam. Sweet-tart rasp- and blackberries brighten the wintry dark; the soothing, slightly smoky burn of pasilla peppers warms the heart. A jam no sandwich can contain — let it shine, unadorned, beside a sharp sheep’s milk cheese.
Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee // Dave’s Coffee // Charlestown, RI
From little ol’ Rhody comes a little ol’ roaster coaxing huge flavor out of familiar beans. Straight from coffee’s ancestral seat — the plant was born in Ethiopia — this coffee is big and bright with bass notes of cocoa and a high-hat shimmer of citrus, like a chocolate-covered candied orange. It’s a bracing way to greet the day, or to say goodnight, especially when mixed with an ounce and a half of good Irish whiskey (try Red Breast), a bit of sugar, and a dollop of whipped cream.
Lamb Ch’Arki // Ranchline All Natural // Roswell, NM
Lots of jerky companies tout their paleo roots, but it’s hard to imagine ancient Incans messing around with nitrates and MSG. But a time-traveling hunter-gatherer wouldn’t miss a beat scarfing a ribbon of Ch’Arki — the real thing, from its 800-year-old Quechua name to the Peruvian-raised lambs it comes from.
Black Licorice Toffee // Laurie & Sons // Harlem, NY
Surviving a shut-in requires more than just sustenance — let’s treat ourselves for braving the wild indoors. But save the chalky chocolate bars for campfire s’mores once the snow thaws. If we didn’t have you sold at chocolate toffee, read on, choosy beggar: black licorice, fresh ground star anise, Hawaiian lava salt and — not satisfied yet? — a dash of Pernod. Shackleton would cross an iceberg for this one; lucky you, you’ve got a whole bag. For now.
Azteca Hot Cocoa // Cocoa Santé // Concord, MA
Started by a pair of moms looking to satisfy kids’ sweet teeth and parents’ consciences at the same time, Cocoa Santé tucks you in with a better nighttime cocoa: organic beans from small co-ops and lightly processed, natural milk powder. Their Azteca blend adds vanilla, cinnamon, and the spicy glow of chipotle peppers. Mix a package of cocoa with a splash of añejo tequila, top with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick, and throw another log on the fire — you’ll want to stay up and savor this.