Local Firms Churn Out Ghee and Chocolate Tea

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East Bay companies were a strong (and sweet and savory) presence at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade's "Fancy Food Show" in San Francisco last week.

Among the local outfits displaying their wares were Oakland's Just Desserts, Hooper's Chocolates, and Peerless Coffee; Hercules-based Naia gelato; Clayton-based Elaine's Toffees; the madeleine bakery Donsuemor, which was founded in Berkeley in 1976 but relocated recently from Emeryville to Alameda; and Oakland's Numi Teas, whose new bagged offerings include magnolia-flower puerh and chocolate puerh (with cocoa and organic Theo chocolate nibs). Created by a UC Berkeley MBA, Berkeley-based Vignette Wine Country Soda is lightly carbonated non-alcoholic artisanal pop, sophisticatedly sweet and picnic-perfect, made with wine grapes -- now available in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rosé. Richmond-based Rubicon Bakery -- whose newest product, CocoaBerries, are Guittard chocolate-coated fruit meringues -- is part of Rubicon Programs, Inc., a nonprofit that provides jobs, training, housing, and other support services to thousands of East Bayites in need. Distributed in Berkeley, Taiwan-based Noyu Teas are vitamin-enriched, honey-sweetened bottled oolongs and greens gently flavored with peach, pomelo, and lychee. Manufactured in Berkeley according to Ayurvedic principles only during full and waxing moons, accompanied by the Mahamrtunjaya mantra, velvety Ancient Organics ghee uses Straus Family Creamery organic butter. However tough the rest of life gets, for the foreseeable future this region will still be a thriving font of treats both sustainable and irresistible. Ingenious, too. Stock up now before you lose your job.

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