On a 6-acre farm in rural Georgia, Bella Cucina owner Alisa Barry and her team of chefs cook produce from their organic garden into small batches of artisanal sauces, spreads, and olive oils. Their "unbelievably delicious" artichoke-lemon pesto earned a spot on Oprah’s O List in 2004, and Atlanta: 365 Days, 365 Thing To Do calls the full roster of sauces "mouthwatering."
But the food is only one part of Barry’s mission to empower gourmands. She also stocks shelves with dozens of Italian cookbooks that brim with slow-food recipes and designs a line of ceramic cookware that respond to junk food by defensively sealing their lids.
You could easily spend every Saturday in Atlanta driving all over town, hitting up different farmers markets to stock up on produce for the week. One sure place to visit is Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Green Market in Midtown; just get there early if you want to park anywhere remotely near the 12th Street entrance. Depending on the season, the vendors in this market will offer whatever local fresh specialties are on hand. The standard vegetables and fruits are complemented by exotic teas, flavored goat cheeses and freshly brewed coffee. There are even food trucks on hand, serving breakfast or lunch to hungry market-goers. The Green Market at Piedmont Park also makes a fun first stop on your way to an arts festival or other rotating events at the park. And while it’s not the largest of Atlanta’s farmers markets, it provides an inspiring sampling of local products.
Hundreds of exotic and native plants spread across more than 30 acres of growing space at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Under the careful watch of the garden's horticulture team, these species provide a serene backdrop for garden visitors even as they educate them on the wonders of the natural world. The botanical discovery doesn't stop after the sun goes down. At night, visitors can explore the verdant pathways lit by millions of twinkling bulbs for the second annual Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, or decamp to the conservatory for a look at a mammoth collection of species orchids and the chirping poison dart frogs that keep them company. Amid its ever-changing visual display, the Atlanta Botanical Garden hosts frequent events such as concerts, holiday light shows, seasonal festivals, and an annual member-plant dance.
First opened in 1994, Return to Eden neighborhood natural market has been offering the best natural foods and supplements for years. With a friendly staff, great raw food and vegetarian options, and the metro area's largest selection of gluten free foods, don't miss out on this Atlanta original.
When discussing Nigerian cooking with reporters from Atlanta Goodlife Magazine, Kunmi Oluleye beamed, "it's something that I do blindfolded." After all, Kunmi has been cooking since the age of 8, whipping up meals for her parents and three younger siblings and baking traditional breads, meat pies, and sausage rolls at her father's bakery in Lagos, Nigeria. Today, she brings her time-honored family recipes and lifetime of expertise to her own catering company—Sheba Foods.
Aided by a staff of African chefs, Kunmi folds traditional spices into authentic dishes from the continent. Deep in the Sheba kitchen, the chefs simmer meaty stews and fry plantains while plump sausage rolls rise in the oven. They deliver the fresh, dried, and prepared foods to homes around the world and cater freshly made feasts at local special events and parties. Their products have been in the shelves of mainstream supermarkets for years, and they continue to expand into new markets and grow from the branches of lunchbox trees around the country.
Each delectable chocolate at Yum Yum Candies brims with flavors that only homemade treats made by a trained chocolatier can possess. Along with gourmet chocolates, such as turtles, peanut-butter cups, and marshmallows dipped in chocolate and topped with M&Ms and sprinkles, bakers also craft gooey cookies in flavors such as chocolate chip, lemon pucker, and Bailey’s cream. Handcrafted fudge satisfies customers' sweet teeth with delicious tastes of dark chocolate, white chocolate, walnuts, and slow-roasted diced pecans, and Yum Yum’s café serves up drinks, such as smoothies, hot teas, and coffees. Additionally, Yum Yum’s shelves teem with nostalgic novelty candies, such as jellybeans, candy buttons, Wonka Bottle Caps, and Pez.