Charlene has worked for Williams-Sonoma for over 30 years, and she is still an active member of the Old Town WS team! Clients always ask her for product recommendations, so she's compiled a list of her TOP FIVE WS food products:
1. Pernigotti Cocoa
Charlene considers this to be "the best cocoa out there!" The cocoa undergoes Dutch-processing which helps neutralize the cocoa's natural acidity. Thus, Pernigotti Cocoa has a distinct, rich flavor that will elevate any cake, brownie, or warm mug of hot chocolate.
2. Fini Balsamic Vinegar
Have you ever had one of Charlene's salads? They are to die for. Charlene is a firm believer in using the highest quality ingredients in her salads, and you can taste the difference. Fini is a luscious balsamic vinegar made from sweet Italian grapes. It is thicker than your average store-bought balsamic vinegar because it is aged in multiple barrels over a 12 month period. Each barrel, whether oak or juniper, lend to Fini's complex flavor profile.
3. Williams-Sonoma House Olive Oil
Speaking of salads: what salad is complete without a drizzle of olive oil? WS House Olive Oil is an unfiltered, extra virgin olive oil made from Sonoma grapes. Charlene is adamant when it comes to olive oil, and she knows that there are different uses for every variety. This smooth, fruity EVOO is not meant for cooking. Use it in marinades, salads, or dips and taste the difference!
4. Maldon Sea Salt
"Flake sea salt is an absolute must!" I know you're probably tired of hearing this, but you really can taste the difference. Maldon Sea Salt has a distinct clean taste that enhances the flavor of whatever your seasoning. Charlene explains that this is not to be confused with the kosher rock salts that require a grinder; Maldon Sea Salt is a pyramid shaped flake that is meant to be crumbled by hand. (Charlene tip: you know you've purchased a low quality flake sea salt if it does not crumble by hand!)
5. Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
Unlike other vanilla extracts, Nielsen-Massey's Vanilla Extract is not watered down. As soon as you open the bottle you are greeted by an intense vanilla aroma that is out of this world. This bottle's distinction comes from Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans which have a mellow, smooth, and sweet flavor. Put this vanilla extract in your waffle batter on a lazy Sunday morning for an elegant treat!