10 Original Artisans

Who was slowly crafting quality goods before all the artisanal jam joints started popping up around Portland and Brooklyn? These guys. Stock up on them and start impressing people.

We're definitely not mad to see our fellow millennials rejecting office jobs in pursuit of building a better hot sauce, but we thought we should take a minute to recognize the O.G.s of artisanal food products. No disrespect to pickle startups in Portland, but these food purveyors have been doing the handcrafted thing for centuries, so you know they're really, really good at it.

Here, a list of artisan operations with rich histories, whose products are currently making us very hungry!

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The True Italian Classic

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from La Cà dal Nôn Acetaia, price upon request, balsamico.farm.

What's in the Bottle: A traditional Italian balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy

Years in the Biz: 133

Why It's Legit: This is true balsamic vinegar, which means it's made from one ingredient: cooked grape juice. This is one artisan product that can't be rushed, because in order for it to be considered "traditional," it must be aged a minimum of 12 years. Luckily, the Montanari family at La Cà dal Nôn is very patient. Their top-of-the-line vinegars are aged for 25 years and come from century-old grape trees in their own backyard! Plus, their acetaia (the place where the vinegar is produced) is also their home, so they basically live at the office—that's dedication on another level.

The Mediterranean Staple

Gallo Olive Oil, price upon request, gallooliveoil.com.

What's in the Bottle: A critically acclaimed olive oil from Abrantes, Portugal

Years in the Biz: 97

Why It's Legit: Inspired by the Portuguese tradition of olive-oil production that has been around since the year 506, the company continues to handcraft their oil with a level of care and precision that produces a broad range of flavors and wins them worldwide recognition for the mastery of their trade. For an extra-virgin olive oil experience unlike any other, try their "first crop" variety: an oil made of the olives harvested earliest in the season, marked by a spicy bitterness.

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A Burgundy Original That's Better Than Wine

Dijon Mustard by Edmond Fallot, $5, supermarketitaly.com.

What's in the Jar: The best mustard in Burgundy, France, and probably the world

Years in the Biz: 176

Why It's Legit: The company has remained independent and family-owned since its inception in 1840. The grandson of founder Edmond Fallot currently oversees the mustard's production, creating expertly ground mustard seeds that are sure to make you rethink that old bottle of French's in your fridge.

Santorini's Finest Vines

Vinsanto Koutsoyannopoulos, $16, santoriniwineshop.com.

What's in the Bottle: A wine unique to Santorini, Greece

Years in the Biz: 136

Why It's Legit: Test out Vinsanto Koutsoyannopoulos, a rust-hued dessert wine from Santorini's oldest vineyard. Even if you think you don't like sweet wine, give Vinsanto a chance: it's a product exclusive to the island, made from white grapes that are sun-dried for two weeks. The result? An aromatic, richly flavorful wine that strikes a fine balance between sweetness and acidity. The Koutsoyannopoulos brothers, who founded the winery in 1870, would be proud.

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A Soy Sauce Like No Other

Kishibori Shoyu by Takesan Company, $17, surlatable.com.

What's in the Bottle: A truly elevated "shoyu" or soy sauce made in the Shōzu District, Kagawa, Japan

Years in the Biz: 53

Why It's Legit: Rid yourself of preconceived notions of soy sauce in advance of sampling this shoyu, which is slowly fermented in 100-year-old barrels on a small island in Japan's Seto Inland Sea. There is an earthy complexity to it that just can't be found in the commercial versions. This is, in part, due to the high-quality salt available in the Seto area and to Takesan's commitment to a simple authentic production method involving only water, whole soybeans, wheat, and sea salt. And if you were wondering—yes, this shoyu does achieve "umami," the perfect flavor balance between sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.

The Holy Grail of Ales

Chimay Red, $2, beerofbelgium.com.

What's in the Bottle: Beer brewed by Trappist-Cistercian monks in Chimay, Belgium

Years in the Biz: 154

Why It's Legit: One of just 10 authentic Trappist ales in the world, Chimay is a true staple in the Belgian beer scene. Having brewed their first ale in 1862, the monks of Chimay are still going strong, with six types of ale being brewed all year long. Our pick? The Chimay Red, or, as the Belgians call it, Chimay Rouge. The coppery red ale is silky, smooth, and a touch bitter, and it has a subtle fruity, apricot-like flavor. It's what we'd prefer to be drinking right about now.

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Heavenly Vinegar

Hudson Valley Aromatic Monastery Vinegar, price upon request, ourladyoftheresurrectionmonastery.webs.com.

What's in the Bottle: Vinegar made by Benedictine monks in Lagrangeville, New York

Years in the Biz: 39

Why It's Legit: Led by vinegar champion Brother Victor, the monks of Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery produce eight different types of vinegar, including a rosé wine vinegar, a cider honey vinegar, and a rare sherry wine vinegar. These vinegars are made with the help of medieval recipes and align nicely with St. Benedict's values: living a modest life in harmony with the seasons.

A Jam That's Truly Worthy of Your Toast

Peck's of Maine Jam, $7, pecksofmaine.com.

What's in the Jar: Jam in its most pared-down form, made in Calverton, New York

Years in the Biz: The jam-making tradition spans four generations in the Peck family.

Why It's Legit: A company that believes that real jam involves chunks of actual fruit, Peck's of Maine sources their fruit locally and never loads their products with sugar. The operation pays meticulous attention to the way their spreads are made, which predictably results in a delicious product. In addition to traditional jams like apricot and strawberry rhubarb, Peck's of Maine also offers delightful savory flavors like roasted garlic and cajun hot pepper. A jam for every occasion!

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Not Your Supermarket's Miso

Yamaki Jozo, price upon request, yamaki-co.com.

What's in the Package: The most delicious miso ever, from Saitama, Japan

Years in the Biz: 114

Why It's Legit: Fermented paste is made with pride at Yamaki Jozo, where organic brown rice is used rather than soybeans—which is extremely rare. Brown rice miso is much more difficult to execute and cannot be done safely unless the rice is organic. But Yamaki is committed to sticking with Japanese traditions, which coincidentally makes for an extremely delicious miso.

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