When you want to prepare a recipe but can't find that exotic or unusual ingredient we suggest that you look to our source list for assistance. Our StarChefs have provided you with helpful information and vendors of hard-to-find products so that you can make dishes as authentic as possible.

Please scroll through the list below.

Asia Market
72 1/2 Mulberry St
New York, New York
Tel: (212) 962-2020
Fax: (212) 962-3391
Asia Market is where Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Vong gets his lemongrass and other hard-to-find ingredients.
424 Avenue Of The Americas
New York, NY 10011
Tel: (212) 673-2600
Balducci's is hailed as a New York institution selling the best of the best, including a variety of specialty oils, including basil olive oil, lemon olive oil, cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, coconut oil, and almond oil.
Big Flavor Foods
Tel: (305) 854-9717
Fax: (305) 854-2232
Our spices are designed for the healthy eater who wants to make great tasting food in a matter of minutes. Based on traditional ethnic seasonings, our spice mixes are roasted before grinding to impart extra flavor. Our mixes contain no additives, preservatives, sugar, MSG, ethylene oxide, anti-caking agents, or irradiation.

BEIJING BLAST is a colorful blend of black and white sesame seeds, pink and green peppercorns, poppy seeds, and hot chiles. This mix is salt free.

DESERT DUST is an aromatic assortment of North African spices based on a traditional Tunisian spice mix.

HANOI HOT is a fragrant blend of lemongrass and other Southeast Asian spices.

SANTA FE SMOKE is a delectably different chili powder made with chipotles (smoked jalapeños) and orange peel. This mix is salt free.
Cheng-Kwong Seafood Market
73 Essex Street
Boston MA 02111
Tel: (617) 423-3749
Steve Johnson of The Blue Room in Boston also recommends Cheng-Kwong for a great selection of Asian specialties.
The CMC Company
PO Box 322
Avalon, NJ 08202
Tel: (1-800) CMC-2780
Fax: (609) 861-3065
Rick Bayless offers this specialty house if you are looking for: Avocado leaves, dried and canned chiles, masa harina, canned tomatillos, piloncillo, Mexican oregano, Mexican chocolate, anchiote paste, tortilla presses, molcajetes, comals and hot sauces.


Chef Craig Shelton of The Ryland Inn in New Jersey orders French specialties from D'Artagnan. D'Artagnan provides fresh foie gras and specialty meats to the top chefs around the country.


Dean & Deluca
560 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Tel: (212) 226-6800
A gourmet market with just about everything, including these hard-to-find ingredients: pink peppercorns, black mustard seeds, dried chipotle, de Arbol and equín chiles, truffle oil, and white or black truffle powder and cream.
French Feast
214 East 89th Street, #5E
New York, NY 10128
Tel: (212) 860-7716
Fax: (212) 202-7512
French Feast offers hard-to-find French products, including, rillettes, rouille, verjus, fleur de sel, duck confit, cassoulet, tapenade, cornichons, and chestnut jam.
King Arthur Flour Baker's

PO Box 876
Norwich, VT 05055-0876
Tel: (1-800) 827-6836
Fax: (1-800) 343-3002
Crystallized sugar, Sour salt, unhulled sesame seeds, Mexican vanilla, coarse salt, masa harina, baking equipment and thermometers.
The Mansion on Turtle Creek
2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard Dallas, TX 75219
Tel: (214) 520-5846
Fax: (214) 520-5873
Chef Dean Fearing of The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, TX has a line of marinades, barbecue sauces and vinaigrettes, including Smokey Bacon BBQ Sauce, Mango-Ginger Sauce, and Marigold Mint Vinaigrette, which can be purchased through The Mansion on Turtle Creek.
Mo Hotta MO Betta
P.O. BOX 4136
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
Tel: (1-800) 462-3220
Fax: (912) 748-1364
Betty Fussell's Corn & Chile recipe calls for dried chiles such as ancho, chipotle, mulato or pasilla. If you like your food hot and have trouble getting chile peppers in your area we suggest that you contact MO HOTTA MO BETTA. They have dried chiles, pickled chiles, hotter than hell sauces such as Spitfire Pepper Sauce and Fire & Damnation. And for those who like a little kick in your tea - how about honey with chiles?
Murray's Cheese Shop
257 Bleecker Street
New York, NY
(212) 243-3289
Rare and hard-to-find cheeses from all over the world.

Plantin America, Inc.

518 Gregory Avenue, 

Suite B208

Weehawken, NJ 07087

Tel: (201) 867-4590 

Top chefs, including Rocco DiSpirito, Sylvain Portay and Christian Delouvrier, order winter (tuber melanosporum), summer (tuber aestivum) and white truffles from this company based in France since 1930. Herv┌ Poron is the owner/buyer and prides himself on picking the best truffles in the country. They also sell dried morels, porcini and black trumpets.
Sinha Trading Company
121 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 683-4419
Fax: (212) 251-0946
If you are planning an authentic Indian menu, Chef Raji Jallepalli of Restaurant Raji in Memphis recommends Sinha Trading Company in NYC for both retail and wholesale distribution of any and all Indian spices.
South River Miso Co.
South River Farm
Conway MA 01341
Tel: (413) 369-4057
Recommended by Dana Jacobi: South River Miso Company. Artisinal certified organic miso, unpasteurized miso tamari and brown rice koji.

The Spice House
1941 Central Street
Evanston, Illinois 60201
Tel: (847) 328-3711
Fax: (847) 328-3631

The Spice House
1031 N. Old World Third Street Milwaukee, WI 53203
Tel: (414) 272-0977
Fax: (414) 272-1271

Ile de Rey salt, curry powders, ajowan seed, epazote, Tahitian vanilla extract, Turkish bay leaves, orange flower water, white poppy seed, and many more hard-to-find spices, extracts and powders.

Sunrise Sun-Ripened Tomatoes
29 Meserole Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222-2607
(212) 725-1775

Chefs keep Lucky Lee as their secret to having sun-ripened tomatoes all year round. Forty-eight hours after being picked from the vine, guests at New York's finest restaurants (Lutece, Daniel, Le Cirque, Le Bernadin, Lespinasse) are lifting these red juicy tomatoes to their mouths.
Urbani Truffles USA
29-24 40th Avenue
Long Island City, NY. 11101
Tel: (718) 392-5050
Fax: (718) 392-1704
Emeril Lagasse recommends Urbani Truffles USA, the largest distributor of all truffles in the United States. Current owners, Rosario and Andrew Safina, formed the company in 1983, purchasing the business from Paul Urbani, who introduced the truffle to the United States over 40 years ago.

Today, Urbani Truffles USA markets fresh truffle and wild mushrooms throughout most of the year, including Truffle du Perigord, the black winter truffle imported in December, and rare white truffle, which is imported each September. Urbani Truffles USA's complete product line includes fresh truffles, canned and frozen truffles which can be enjoyed year round, wild mushrooms, Bottarga di Tonno, smoked Sicilian tuna and swordfish, imported and domestic caviars and smoked salmons.
Verril Farm
415 Wheeler Road
Concord, MA 01742
Tel: (978) 287-0361
Steve Johnson of The Blue Room in Boston recommmends Verrill's for fresh local farm produce.
World Variety Produce, Inc.
Tel: (1-800) 588-0151
Fax: (323) 588-9774
World Variety Produce, Inc. has unusual fresh produce such as star fruit and blood oranges, as well as dried persimmons, ginger, yellow tomatoes and more.

Stephanie Zonis' Special "For Chocolate Lovers Only" Section:
Non-Chocolate Gift Foods
We all know and love someone who can't or won't eat chocolate. But what do you do when the holidays roll around and you want to find something fun and unusual in food for that person? Here is a list of great foods, condiments and beverages of all kinds from small companies worth getting to knowů

Bone Suckin' Sauce
Tel: (1-800) 446-0947
Web site:
Calling all barbecue lovers!
Bone Suckin' Sauce is simply a terrific, flavorful barbecue sauce with the added benefit of being all-natural. Every year at the Fancy Food Show in New York, I make it a point to try some of this sauce, by itself or on a cracker, just because I like it. It's available regular or hot, and there's now a thicker style of both types, too. Ford's Fine Foods, the manufacturer, also makes a Hiccupin' Hot Sauce and Big Chunks Salsa; you can even purchase t-shirts, hats or aprons proclaiming your devotion to their products.
Bellwether Farms
Tel: (1-888) 527-8606
Web site:
Bellwether Farms produces fine-quality, handmade cheeses according to traditional methods from the milk of both sheep and Jersey cows. This family-owned and operated dairy has a modest selection of cheeses, with instructions on-site about pairing their offerings with wine. I haven't tried all of their offerings, but my favorite to date is the Bellwether Blue, a full-flavored cheese without the biting saltiness that overwhelms too many blues. This is a true multipurpose blue, great for the cheese course of a dinner, a salad, or dessert with some fruit and whole-grain crackers. If you're a pepperhead, try the pepato, a sheep-milk cheese aged 2 to 3 months, with whole black peppercorns throughout. No online ordering as of this writing, but call for prices or a brochure.

The Tasmanian Honey Company
American Distributor: Ambrosia International,
Tel: (1-800) 780-2850,
(ask for Charles)

"Honey as it can be" is the slogan of this small organization, which produces minimally-processed, cool-extraction Leatherwood and Meadow honeys in Tasmania, Australia's island state. I haven't had the Meadow honey, but the Leatherwood is richly flavored, almost spicy in taste, and it would be absolute heaven on toast or in some teas. Tasmanian Honey also makes what they call "Honey Nouveau," in flavors such as ginger, chocolate, hazelnut and apricot. All of the honeys are of a very softly set consistency, which makes them ideal for spreading; to render them pourable, you merely heat them slightly. I don't know who designed the breathtaking packaging for these products, but clearly that person is an artist at heart. Perfect for an unusual gift, perhaps with some tea and English muffins.
McEvoy Ranch Olive Oils
Tel: (707) 769-4122
Web site:
So what's the big deal here? Olive oil is olive oil, right? Nope. This is extra virgin, to begin with, which means it's a first pressing of the olives, resulting in a more substantial oil that smells wonderfully fresh and has a slightly peppery, lasting flavor. Even the bottles and accompanying packaging have been beautifully done. Learn about the ranch and olive oil in general on site, or try some of the recipes developed with these oils; the McEvoy Ranch folks suggest using it as a "finishing" oil on top of pastas, grilled vegetables, meat or fish. All oil is certified organic, too.
Try some--you won't be disappointed.
Gerhard's Napa Valley Sausage
Tel: (707) 252-4116
Web site:
Gerhard Twele and Company make sensational poultry sausage in a great selection of flavors. Personal favorites of mine include the Chicken Apple and the Chicken Provencal with Leek, but if you're a bit more adventurous you might try the Thai Chicken with Ginger, the Chicken with Habanero Chilis and Tequila, or the Smoked Turkey and Duck with Fennel. The sausages use no fillers and no MSG, and none have any artificial flavors or preservatives. I've been sampling these sausages for years at various food shows, where the company representatives can't cook them fast enough to keep up with demand. The sausages are available on; a site link will take you there directly. Delicious!
Lotus Foods
Tel: (510) 525-3137
Web site:
I have to admit I was never a huge fan of rice when I was younger. That's changed a lot, though, with the introduction into the American market of rices in so many colors and textures and flavors. Lotus Foods specializes in rices and rice products (including gluten-free pastel-colored rice flours!). Try their Bhutanese Red or Forbidden Rice (China Black); both are distinctly out-of-the-ordinary and would be a great base for a pilaf or soup or a signature paella. They carry rice perfect for risotto, too, including Cal Riso. Organic Jasmine Rice is available in both white and brown varieties. If you think rice still comes in only one color, you owe it to yourself to check out their Web site.
d'Oro Foods Yellow Tomatoes
Web site:
Here is a gift for the cook on your list. These are diced, canned tomatoes vibrant in color and flavor. They are canned in their own juices, low in salt and acid, and high in beta-carotene, but most importantly they are delicious. Most diced, canned tomatoes are soggy, pale imitations of the fresh variety at best, but these would brighten anyone's day. Their sunny color would be a great asset in recipes (think of the color contrast with, say, green peppers in a chicken dish). To order, call the HEB Central Market in Texas, toll free, at (877) 268-6968.
Eweberry Farms
Tel: (541) 466-3470
Web site:
(then click on "E" for Eweberry)
If you've never been to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, you really ought to go sometime; it's a beautiful area. Beautiful, too, are the berries grown here, including the local eweberries and tayberries. Eweberry Farms makes syrups and jams from these locally grown favorites (and some other fruits). I especially like the sweet-tart flavor of the tayberry jam, but there are also boysenberry, blackberry, orange marmalade, and several others from which to choose. The prettily designed jars and bottles are ideal for gift giving to that preserve-lover you know (or maybe to yourself!).
Rishi Tea
Tel: (917) 256-1830 or
Toll free (877) 342-7767
Web site:
Rishi is an unusual company. They are direct-origin importers of tea, meaning that their tea guru travels to the tea farms, meets the farmers, and evaluates hundreds of different teas. This allows Rishi to create a relationship with tea farmers and to develop teas according to their own specifications. Because of this, Rishi believes they offer very different products from those of most other tea companies, who import through brokers. In addition, Rishi buys tea seasonally, not for the year as do most outfits. This means they can offer customers fresh tea, and allows them to select the best of each harvest. I have met Rishi's tea guru, and his devotion is something incredible. Take a look at the Web site for their loose leaf teas, tea and herb blends, and chai. The tea gear (tasting cups, decanting/sharing pots, bamboo scoops, and more) is also extraordinary.
Vermont Butter & Cheese Company
Tel: (802) 479-9371 or
Toll free (800) 884-6287
Web site:
I love good-quality butter and cheese, and this company produces both from cows' milk as well as goats' milk. How about a goat feta for a change of pace, or a lusciously creamy mascarpone to serve with fruit or spread on your morning bagel? If you like specialty cheeses, look for the basil or salmon torta--layered, decadent creations that would make pretty gifts. And you must try their cultured butter, which is out of this world; I would recommend it spread on a good-quality white-flour bread with a little honey (preferably white truffle or lemon honey) drizzled on top. For those concerned about fat intake, their fromage blanc and quark are attractive options. Check them out!

Formula 9 Gourmet Ketchups
Web site:

Ketchup in a gift food section? Why not, when it's really good?
This ketchup bears little resemblance to the bland stuff that masquerades under that name in your local market. Instead, it is an honest condiment, with lively, genuine flavors that can really perk up a sandwich or recipe. My favorite is the Roasted Garlic, but you'll also find Ginger, Cranberry, and Roasted Red Pepper varieties. The site includes a history of the product and some recipes, and there are live links to several sites offering online shopping for Formula 9. Great for anyone seeking to enhance the flavor of their favorite dishes!
Perona Farms
Tel: (973) 729-7878 or
Toll free (800) 750-6190
Web site:
Smoked salmon lovers, unite!
Perona Farms gets this delicacy right; their salmon is always moist and tender and never too salty. If you ever get bored with their regular smoked Atlantic salmon, you might try the pastrami style, the Moroccan style, the rum and pepper painted, or even the smoked salmon dip. Their gravlox (salmon cured with brandy, fresh dill, sugar and salt) is impeccable. Many of their products are certified kosher. If you live in the Andover, NJ area, you can even visit Perona for Sunday brunch, and they do catering, too. Give them a try!
Earth & Vine Provisions, Inc.
Tel: (916) 652-4762 or
Toll free (888) 723-8463
Web site:
(may not be completed yet)
Ron and Tressa Cooper, the proprietors of Earth & Vine, describe their dream as being able to bring "the very best of nature to the tables of America." They have chosen to do so through exotic preserves, chutneys, sauces, marinades and more. If you're weary of your usual flavor combinations, you can make your taste buds sit up with Spicy Apple Garlic Jam or Mango Tequila Jalape˝o Grill Sauce. How about a Cranberry Shallot Relish in a smoked turkey sandwich, or Raspberry Nectarine Sauce over vanilla ice cream? I took a great liking to their Guava Grapefruit Preserve, with its beautiful color and unusual, tart flavor. Whatever you choose, you'll know it's something you won't find at your local market. Gift packs, too--call them for a brochure.

Copyright © 2000 StarChefs. All rights reserved.