Best Bites: Spinelli’s Sauces
We’re usually skeptical of jarred spaghetti sauces—all too often, they’re overly sweet and bear no resemblance to the tomatoes that make up the sauce. But, pop the top on Spinelli’s Sauce Company‘s marinara, puttanesca, or tomato-vodka and discover robust, true flavor. Spinelli’s, a Park Hill market that has served gourmet foods and Italian specialties since 1994, now bottles the sauces they serve and sell. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives—just fresh tasting blends right out of the bottle. Recipe tip: Combine Spinelli’s roasted garlic fra diavolo with locally made Canino’s Italian sausage for a hearty, fiery sauce—perfect for a quick Italian dinner. 4621 E. 23rd Ave., 303-329-8143,

Impulse Buy: Exotic Chocolate
When I stumbled upon Mo’s Bacon Bar at Marczyk Fine Foods, I was already familiar with Chicago-based Vosges Haut Chocolat—my favorite bar being the D’Oliva, a wacky sounding combo of Venezuelan white chocolate and dried kalamata olives. A little strange, yes, but totally cravable for the blend of creamy and briney. But here at Marczyk’s was an even stranger pairing of milk chocolate and applewood smoked–bacon. I ponied up the $6 and took the bar home.
Vosges isn’t chocolate that you sit down and eat all at once; rather, you break off a tiny square and savor the unusual flavors. The bacon bar is no different, a small nibble and I discovered a surprising balance of salty-sweet—not unlike chocolate-covered pretzels. Next up: Vosges’ Red Fire, a bar of dark chocolate mixed with Mexican ancho and chipotle chiles and Ceylon cinnamon. 770 E. 17th Ave., 303-894-9499,;

In the News: Peggy Markel, New Belgium, the Kitchen
The Front Range continues to tip the national culinary scale. To wit: The January issue of Food & Wine magazine mentions Boulder-based cooking instructor Peggy Markel‘s enviable culinary trip to the Amalfi Coast, and Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery‘s green practices. And the Kitchen gets a nod in the February issue of Bon Appetit for its use of wind power and biodegradable napkins, to-go utensils, and containers.

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.