Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

PRODUCT: Mark & Stephen's Jam from Big Sugar Bakeshop

I decided this year that a lot of my gifts to people would be food gifts I make myself. This way, I could practice my skills, do something I love, and give people gifts that are labors of love and consumable, so they don't sit around taking up space.

I have a few birthdays coming up rapidly this month, and I had decided to make some marmalade. Well ... that didn't go so well. First of all, I had problems finding everything I needed for canning that would also work with my budget and kitchen space and existing cookware. Then, I decided to use a recipe for lemon lime marmalade from The Joy of Cooking. But it was this strange recipe where it started out giving a few instructions, and then directed you to another recipe for the rest of the procedure. But I think somewhere in trying to pull off that switcheroo I missed something or got confused because the marmalade just didn't jel very well. Basically, I ended up with a thick lemon-lime syrup and which I also thought was too sweet. Maybe it could have been okay for cocktails or something, but I didn't really want to subject anyone to it. So I decided instead to do the next best thing, which is purchase some locally handcrafted jam and support some small local artisans.

I had read that Big Sugar Bakeshop, which opened not too long ago on Ventura Blvd., near where I work, had a small gift selection too, and in the pictures on their website I caught a glimpse of jam. So I went over on my lunch break and picked up a few jars of Mark & Stephen's jam. Mark and Stephen are from Culver City and according to their label, Stephen scours the farmer's market seeking out the best fruit and ingredients and Mark prepares the jam. The ingredients list is refreshingly simple, just fruit, cane sugar, lemon juice and pectin. They also make vinaigrettes and mustards, and prices range from $5.75 to $8.50.

I might have also purchased some cupcakes. The red velvet cupcake had such a cute heart on it, how could I leave it behind? The cupcakes, by the way, were delicious. They tasted like real cupcakes, like you would have at someone's birthday party, not like the dense sugarbomb monstrosities that seem to be the thing at all the specialty cupcake shops everywhere. The frosting is very light, which I love, since I can't stomach most of the cupcakes around because of the big hard plops of frosting on top. Cupcakes are $2.25 apiece. Not exactly cheap, but not as expensive as some of the trendy stores.

I highly recommend, next time you need to do some gift shopping, to do it here. They have a variety of gourmet food gifts as well as some cute tchotchkes and cards and things as well. And cupcakes and cookies and "doughnut muffins." I don't even want to know.

Big Sugar Bakeshop
12182 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City


Something about pots of jam as gifts always reminds me of the movie Six Degrees of Separation. And the making of jam of my mother, who always had cupboards filled with mason jars and plenty of pectin on hand. Nice post.

said by 2nd-favorite at 11:48 AM Delete

Tag, you're it! Meme time!

said by Chubbypanda at 8:02 PM Delete

We got a few cupcakes and doughnut muffins for tonight. They smell cinnamonny and look a bit...fried?

Prepare yourself.

said by anyanka at 1:32 PM Delete

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