3 Local Products to Try this Fall

Marilyn HawkesSeptember 1, 2022
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Try local chocolate corn nuts, bottled artisanal juice and cheese curds this September and October. 

Chocolate Corn Nuts

As a 16-year-old boy in Barcelona, Alex Olmos Axelson studied pastry, and then worked for Oriol Balaguer, a high-profile pastry chef who taught him the fine art of working with chocolate. Axelson made his way to Phoenix and started Noi Cacao in 2019. As a kid in Barcelona, he ate untold amounts of flavored corn nuts and wanted to recreate the memory, but with chocolate. He uses deep-fried, salted corn nuts, coats them in imported Belgian chocolate and finishes with a dusting of cocoa powder ($10). “Salt and chocolate work well together,” he says. “The corn nuts are really addicting.” His raspberry almonds follow a similar process – toasted, dipped in dark chocolate, followed by a coating of freeze-dried raspberry powder and finished with powdered sugar. He’s busy working on a new item that pairs white chocolate with Cocoa Puffs. We can’t wait.

Noi Cacao Chocolatiers

Chocolate Corn Nuts. Photo by Angelina Aragon
Chocolate Corn Nuts. Photo by Angelina Aragon

Bottled Artisanal Juice

When Michael Lamonté was between jobs five years ago, he started selling fried turkey at a Show Low farmers market. After a few weeks, he added beverages to the menu. The drinks were such a hit that he dropped the food, started Juice Box and now produces and sells more than 12 varieties of refreshing blended juices with no added sugar, including mango-peach, strawberry-guava and strawberry-raspberry ($12/bottle; $20/Mason jar, with $10 refills). Many of Lamonté’s customers use the fruity blends for cocktail and mimosa mixers. “My daughter and I play around with flavors using whatever fruit is ripe and available. If it tastes good and gets a good response, that’s how we decide what to sell,” Lamonté says. Find Juice Box at Uptown, Chandler, Arrowhead and High Street farmers markets.

Juice Box Drinks & Salads
Instagram: @juiceboxdrinks

JuiceBox bottled artisanal juice. Photo by Angelina Aragon
JuiceBox bottled artisanal juice. Photo by Angelina Aragon
Cheese curds. Photo by Angelina Aragon
Cheese curds. Photo by Angelina Aragon

Cheese Curds

Cheese curds may be considered a Midwest delicacy, but there are plenty of Arizonans who are crazy about the salty cheese snack. For those unfamiliar with the tasty morsels, they’re best described as irregularly shaped blobs of young cheddar that haven’t yet been aged. Tempe-based Arizona Farms Cheese sources its milk weekly from United Dairymen of Arizona dairy cooperative, artfully curdling the milk until it reaches the perfect pH level. “The curds are literally milk in the morning and cheese curds by the afternoon,” says UDA spokesperson Roxy Helman. A bit of added fun: When you bite into a fresh curd, you’ll hear a little squeak against your teeth caused by protein in the cheese. Arizona Farms makes four varieties: plain, jalapeño, garlic and black pepper, and garlic and dill ($6.50), all available at its on-site Milk ’n’ More Store.

Arizona Farms Cheese
2008 S. Hardy Dr., Tempe,
480-968-3992, arizonacheese.com


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