Detroit is a melting pot of cultures, sounds, aromas and flavors. In, 1701, the French found the lakes and rivers to be well suited for a rich fur trading area. The Frenchman Cadillac built fur trading post and called it Detroit. They traded furs trapped by the local American Indians for desperately needed wares. Fast forward 100 years and find a tidal wave of immigrants descending on the ever growing area. These immigrants thought of this area as the ‘promised land of opportunity’. Another touch of the ‘remote time travel button’ takes us to the early 1900’s with Detroit eventually building an auto industry that is recognized worldwide.
These concepts of creating a great city and consistently growing Detroit into a better place started with visionary type ideas, professional business plans and precise calculations. All of which resulted in a wonderful recipe that we call the Motor City.
The eventual onslaught of foreigners brought a cavalcade of unique cultures to this area and each began to grow their own business plans. The best, howeve,r being recipes, food and dining experiences. Soon French, Polish, Arabic and Far Eastern types of cuisine began to dot the landscape and those living here benefited tremendously. These global cuisines spread and evolved into the numerous startup ventures seen on store shelves today.
Today we celebrate the innovators, the flavor hounds, and those men and women of vision and their wonderful locally produce products:
McClures Pickles – These folks started making these pickles, relishes and bloody mary mixes in a small Michigan kitchen and now continue the tradition with a bit more room just outside of Detroit, Michigan. Every jar is hand packed, the cucumbers hand sliced in their own factory, not from a private labeler.
Better Made Potato Chips – Potato chips, pretzels, pork rinds, popcorn, puffs, beef jerky and tortilla chips are some of the items this wonderful Detroit snack company produces. Their snacks come in bags, cases, commemorative tins and even in special packages.
Kowalski Sausage – Agnes and Zygmund Kowalski immigrated from Poland to America for a way to a dream life. They both believed in this dream and began their careers as owners of a small grocery store on Chene Street in Detroit, Michigan. Wanting to bring their favorite foods from the old country to the USA they added a smokehouse to the store and started to produce Polish Kielbasa and other tremendous sausages. Soon the demand for their meats became overwhelming and a factory was built on Holbrook Ave. in Hamtramck, Michigan.
Dearborn Brand – For the past 5 decades, the Dearborn Sausage Company has been smoking, baking, spiral cutting and glazing hams. Just reading the list of products makes your mouth water. Located in Dearborn, they offer sausages, kielbasas and hot dogs as well.
Saunders Chocolates – Since 1875, this Detroit landmark has been serving up chocolate candies, hot fudge and baked goods. To this day, all Sanders candy makers follow the strict formulas created by Fred Sanders all those years ago.
Strohs Ice Cream – Serving local Detroit children and adults alike since 1964, the Strohs Ice Cream Parlour in Bloomfield Hills rates among the best in the area. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, cakes, pies and hand packed half gallons to go make this a Detroit area landmark.
Valentine Vodka – Launched in 2009, this Ferndale based company was founded by a Michigan native who left his Wall Street job to ‘craft the perfect martini’. The pinup girl on the bottle is a very nice addition to this soon to be Michigan must.
Although, Detroit has been getting some bad press here lately, our resolve and commitment to tradition still hold true. Detroit is on the rise and these companies, new and old, will definitely be the foundation of a better tomorrow.
Try your luck with any one of their wonderful products and help bring back Detroit to the city we all know and love.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and don’t forget your bib.