From farmers’ market-fresh veggies to kitchen equipment emporiums to markets swimming with fresh fish, Sarasota is becoming a foodie’s paradise. We found all sorts of innovative new companies and delicious products, such as Good to be Gluten Free, which sells baked goods and pizzas at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market, and Mote Marine’s caviar, soon to be sold under a joint label with gourmet food distributor Marky’s in Whole Foods Markets. There’s always something new in Sarasota to taste and try. Let the hunting and gathering begin!
Game On! Super Bowl is Feb. 5, the perfect time for a chili and beer party with NFL glass mugs ($24), lidded chili pot ($69.50) and Sedona chili bowls ($12.50). Pottery Barn, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 366-5351.
Slam-Dunkin It’s a no-brainer: Doughnuts you bake at home are healthier than fried store-bought brands. Look for delectable, no-yeast Stonewall Kitchen doughnut mixes, in new flavors like Apple Cider or Blueberry ($9.95), and Wilton doughnut pans (from $10.95) at Sur La Table, 22 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota (941) 365-0380.
Sticky Wok-It? Fear not, the hottest new nonstick pots and pans on the planet are by GreenPan of Belgium. Coated with Thermolon natural ceramic no-stick layer, they’re eco-friendly and healthy: No toxic fumes are released up to 500F, and the coating won’t blister or peel up to 800 degrees. Paris Wok ($79.99) at Le Gourmet Chef, 5133 Factory Shops Blvd., Ellenton Premium Outlets, Ellenton (941) 721-6226.
Tea & Toast The Brits were first to watch their muffins and crumpets brown to perfection (and remove toast before it burns). Now the Magimix colored vision toaster (cream, $199.95) has crossed the pond to give Americans a panoramic view of their toasting bread. Williams-Sonoma, 94 Southgate Plaza, Sarasota (941) 361-2400.
Home Gourmets swoon over culinary gear for professionals at SRE (Sarasota Restaurant Equipment), where we spied great deals on top-quality wares like this 10-piece block set of Mundial’s full-forged, full-tang knives ($150.82). SRE Culinary Equipment, 5330 Pinkney Ave., Sarasota (800) 434-1410.
Aw, Shucks! It’s an open-and-shut case: Food critics say Apalachicola Bay oysters from Florida’s Panhandle deliver the perfect balance of sweetness and brine. You’ll find them fresh daily, along with Gulf shrimp, stone crabs and New England faves (steamers, haddock, cod and this fish market’s namesake crustacean) at Lotsa Lobster, 8780 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 918-2529.
French Born and Bread Teresa Bencie’s chocolate almond croissants ($2.75) are flaky, buttery, crispy and as addictive as her baguettes ($2.25). A master baker from Poitiers, France, Bencie has patrons who swoon over everything from berry tarts to passion fruit mousse cake. “Every time I brought in cakes for my kids’ school bake sales, everybody told me I should open a bakery,” she says. “Finally, I took their advice.” Ooh La La French Bakery, 2705 Mall Drive, Gulf Gate Village, Sarasota, (941) 922-0169.