3 Local Products to Try in 2023

Marilyn HawkesJanuary 11, 2023
Share This
Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon
Giant Cookies

After Katy and Zach Leeds’ chubby-cheeked daughter Charlie was born in 2019, friends sent them a delivery from a Valley cookie shop. The couple was so enamored of the cookies they continued to order more until Zach, who has a tech background and no prior baking experience, started making his own. His new hobby was so well-received by family and friends that he decided to take it to the next level. Today, he bakes nine “giant” cookie varieties ($4 each or four for $14), including such exotic offerings as Nutella swirl, salted caramel chocolate chip and stuffed carrot cake, along with mainstays like chocolate chip. His sweet treats have the texture of cake in cookie form – delightfully light and loaded with rich and swoon-worthy ingredients. He’s rolling out a few new varieties, including lemon and orange Creamsicle, but won’t debut them until he perfects the recipes. “I don’t put out any mediocre cookies,” he says. Find Chubby Cheeks Cookies at Uptown Farmers Market, Second Sundays on Mill or on the company website. 

Chubby Cheeks Cookies

Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon
Adult Coffee Cereal

In 2010, Valley emergency room doctor Tim Kieborz was driving to work and didn’t have time to stop for coffee. “I was eating chocolate Cheerios out of a cup, and I thought, ‘They make 13 flavors of Cheerios, why don’t they make one with coffee?’” Kieborz’s idea percolated, and nearly a decade later, Espress-O’s became a reality. With the tagline, “The first cereal made just for adults,” Espress-O’s ($3.99 per 2-oz. cup) comes in two flavors: Mocha Latte, made with whole-grain oat-ring cereal coated with powdered espresso (from Roastery of Cave Creek), drizzled Guittard chocolate syrup and coffee nibs; and for a non-coffee alternative, Chai Latte, oat rings mixed with Masala chai, Guittard white chocolate, cloves and other spices. Pour milk in the cup and eat on the fly, or enjoy dry while hiking or studying, Kieborz says. “I wanted Espress-O’s to be something exciting for an adult to eat and look forward to.” The doc is busy brewing up other flavor ideas, including Mexican mocha and prickly pear fermented honey. Find Espress-O’s at select AJ’s Fine Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Espress-O’s Cereal

Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon
Organic Pasta

Joe Intiso had long worked front-of-the-house restaurant jobs, so when the pandemic nearly closed down the industry in 2020, he had to contemplate his next move. A self-taught pasta maker, Intiso began to fabricate noodles in his home kitchen, and started selling his wares at a local farmers market. Intiso uses USDA-certified organic stone-ground flour that’s milled at a cooler temperature to retain fat and oil in the grain, and bronze dyes to give the pasta a rougher surface, which allows the sauce to cling. He dries the pasta slowly for two to four days depending on its thickness, rotating racks and flipping the noodles gently so they don’t break. “It’s an extremely labor-intensive process, but I believe it yields much better results,” he says. Intiso fashions about a dozen shapes, including fettucine, bucatini, tagliatelle, ziti, fusilli and spaghetti ($9-$10), a few spinach options, and squid ink tagliatelle ($12). “This started out as a passion project to see if I could gain some traction, and I’ve just kept growing.” Find Phoenix Pasta Co. at Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, Monsoon Market and Main Street Harvest.

Phoenix Pasta Co.


For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.