A similar operation, gourmetfoodstore.com, offers fewer cheeses but a wider product range, including a full line of Moroccan seasonings. And they don’t seem to run out of stuff. My latest purchase included a huge jar of olive oil–bottled anchovies (I use these, mashed into the pan, instead of salt in sautéed Mediterranean dishes and sauces like pasta puttanesca), excellent boudin noir (blood sausage), rose syrup, chestnut-fed Piedras Negras Iberico lightly smoked belly-pork slices (OMG!), French-made duck rillettes, remarkably cheap Alaskan salmon caviar, crème fraîche, refrigerated blini and crepes, and — take that, Von’s! — water-packed bottled fresh porcini (cepes) and chanterelles. (Next time, morels!) They delivered with preternatural speed. Shipping was, of course, exorbitant.
Finally, bacon, everybody’s new best friend: Flavorful fats are invaluable allies. My favorite bacon source is the encyclopedic gratefulpalate.com, offering numerous cuts, smokes (applewood, maple, oak, corn cobs, etc.) and cures (even Cajun), including the exquisite Vande Rose brand. I usually buy a year’s worth of different types and freeze them. Chefs and southern cooks know to save and freeze precious rendered fat from premiere bacons and smoked hams to add outsized flavor-boosts to beans, greens, green beans, potatoes, fried eggs, and more. (And if you roast a duck, freeze that rendered fat from the pan for a gold mine to be used in sautéed potatoes sarladais, etc.)
Uh-oh, music’s coming up, out of space — but wait, just a few more: penzeys.com for great dried herbs and spices (have shocked chefs that I know their secret source); importfood.com for Thai ingredients (lately, fresh mangosteens!); tienda.com for Spanish goods such as Basque red pepper, Iberico and Serrano ham, bottled piquillo peppers, and white anchovies for instant tapas; and richters.com for an awesome assortment of fresh herbs to grow yourself. (And I want to thank my copy editor Karen, my proofreader Russ, and especially…gaah, it’s the hook!)