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A Taste Of Artisanal LA, III: Cocobakes, Bloom Honey, & PUREnola

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This weekend—April 26 and April 27—Artisanal LA returns for their Spring showing. The seasonal foodie fair brings small batch makers from all over the city to share their goods in one mega culinary destination. If you haven’t been before, you have to go. It’s delicious fun! To get you excited for it and to get to know some of the makers sharing work, we did a series of interviews with local artisans to find out more about them—and what they’ll be bringing to A.L.A.

For our final round of interviews, we bring it to desserts and speak with a few sweet and snack makers: check out what Cocobakes, Bloom Honey, and PUREnola have to say about their goods!

Artisanal LA Cocobakes 3

Tell us a little about what you make and how you got into this field. What sparked you to become a (food) maker?

I make natural, delicious gluten and dairy free baked goods. I also have been making vegan/ gluten free and refined sugar free baked goods as well. I started making these types of treats after I, myself realized I was gluten and dairy intolerant. I was working at Huckleberry at the time for the master of butter and sugar, Zoe Nathan Loeb. While at Huckleberry, searching for gluten and dairy free, I realized that there were little to no baked goods with only wholesome ingredients, found in a person’s pantry. I am opposed to using things in my baked goods that I wouldn’t eat, like margarine, or xantham gum.

I love the idea of homemade anything, especially baked goods. So, my philosophy it to make wholesome, natural, great gluten free vegan or dairy free baked goods hand crafted in small batches. When I say handcrafted, I mean literally, I don’t use my mixer, I whisk my batter by hand, it allows me to feel the consistency and make sure its right, every time. And I don’t use any preservatives, natural included, so my treats are best eaten fresh, within three days, just like you would with homemade cookies.

What does it mean to be a food maker (or maker in general) in Los Angeles? How do you think making in this part of the world differs from anywhere else?

Being a food maker in general is an incredible feeling. I know that I am doing something positive from the time I pick carrots from my local farmer at the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesdays to the time a customer approaches my table. There is nothing better for me than when a customer comes to my booth at the Brentwood Farmers Market and asks what on my table is gluten free or dairy free, their faces light up when I say everything, that look is what makes me know that I am lucky to be a food maker in a city where people need it and appreciate it. I wish I had that feeling when I eliminated gluten and dairy. As for Los Angeles, its such an incredibly food city with so much to offer, that being mentioned or noticed would blow my mind.

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Are there any goods you’ll be bringing to Artisanal LA that visitors should be on the lookout for? Any specialty, small batch, or experimental products visitors should be aware of?

I am constantly experimenting, quite honestly, my whole company is the big experiment. As far as baked goods, yes, I will introduce my rosemary pine nut chocolate chip cookie. Its always fun to see the look on people’s faces before and after the try the cookie. The cardamom citrus will also be for sale, along with a homemade nutella brownie. I make nutella, without all the sugar, dairy and preservatives and swirl it into my brownie batter and sprinkle hazelnuts on top. I might just come up with something new the night before so please, come stop by!

Is there any other vendor or happening you are particularly excited to see or try at Artisanal LA?

This is my first time at Artisanal LA as a vendor or customer so I am so excited to just be there, honored actually. Sauce LA does such an incredible job, so I am really excited to see everything and everyone!

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Tell us a little about what you make and how you got into this field. What sparked you to become a (food) maker?

At Bloom Honey our mission is to make our pure, raw varietal honey an everyday part of your healthy lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it. Raw honey sourced straight from the beehive is one of nature’s perfect foods. It is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, and also contains live enzymes, local pollens, amino acids, and vitamins & minerals. At Bloom Honey, we extract varietal honey straight from the beehive and deliver it to you the way honeybees created it, 100% raw and pure. It’s that simple. We were introduced to bees as a byproduct of managing our family avocado farm, Jefferson Farms in Somis CA. We started keeping bees to ensure sufficient pollination of our avocados. After all, bees are responsible for 30% of the entire food supply, including California avocados. Over the years our operation grew and a few years ago we started harvesting our own honey. In 2013 we launched Bloom Honey. The response has been overwhelming! Today Bloom Honey offers the finest seasonal varietals sourced from our own beehives and from select artisanal beekeepers.

What does it mean to be a food maker (or maker in general) in Los Angeles? How do you think making in this part of the world differs from anywhere else?

Los Angeles is a mecca for creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit. This is embodied by all the Makers and artisans who will be at Artisanal LA this weekend. I grew up in LA, and now I also have deep roots with the agricultural communities just north of Los Angeles. At Bloom Honey, we make and source honey from all over the United States (True Source certified)—but our home base and roots are here in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

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Are there any goods you’ll be bringing to Artisanal LA that visitors should be on the lookout for? Any specialty, small batch, or experimental products visitors should be aware of?

We specialize in varietals that are healthy, come from a superfood, or are rare and unique. We invite everybody to come see us and sample any or all parietals you like. Different people are drawn to different varietals, so come see which is your favorite. They truly are unique and amazing, each in their own way. We will have our newest offering, Wild Cherry, which will also be featured in the July issue of Cooking Light magazine.

We will have 3 oz taster sizes to get your feet wet with Bloom, plus our traditional 8oz, 16oz, and some 3lb jars for the adventurous among you.

Is there any other vendor or happening you are particularly excited to see or try at Artisanal LA?

The Bloom Honey booth will be swamped both days so I will be very busy! If our booth is too crowded when you come by please please come back by and try us again! We want to meet you and let you try our amazing raw honey! I will definitely try to get a chance to walk the floor, and when I do I know I will be amazed by the positive energy from everybody—vendors and attendees alike and the quality offerings made by all the artisans. You do not want to miss the Artisanal LA Spring Show 2014!!!

Artisanal LA Purenola 1

Tell us a little about what you make and how you got into this field. What sparked you to become a (food) maker?

PUREnola is a modern reinvention of the traditional cluster snack food. Made from only organic raw nuts and seeds, which have all been soaked, sprouted, and dried into different flavor combinations, this healthful, Artisanal food product is grain free, gluten free, dairy free, raw and vegan with an incredible crunch. When my twins were born a few years ago, I found myself eating whatever snack foods I could find to keep my energy up throughout the day—this lead me to eating more nuts and seeds, which in turn began the creation of PUREnola – a more healthful snack food packed with nutrients and whole ingredients that I could feel good about eating and ultimately feeding to my children. After sharing with friends and colleagues as I perfected my formulas, PUREnola caught on and we officially lanched in November 2013.

What does it mean to be a food maker (or maker in general) in Los Angeles? How do you think making in this part of the world differs from anywhere else?

As a West LA Native myself, I find it to be a wonderful market full of many open minded and well educated people who care about what they put into their body. Los Angelenos like things that taste great. The new Cottage Food Act in California has opened the door for many Artisan food vendors like me to become a part of the growing small business community in Los Angeles.

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Are there any goods you’ll be bringing to Artisanal LA that visitors should be on the lookout for? Any specialty, small batch, or experimental products visitors should be aware of?

We will be bringing with us our two latest and limited seasonal flavors Citrus and Salted Chocolate, in addition to our Coconut, Rosemary Spice and Regular Chocolate.

Is there any other vendor or happening you are particularly excited to see or try at Artisanal LA?

All of them, though I am not sure I will have a chance to leave my booth!

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