As summer slowly ebbs away and we fold up the swim trunks, sweep out the last grains of tracked-in beach sand, and brace for the long hunkering toward winter, there’s still time for one final fete. Don’t stash the sunglasses yet — you’re going to Europe! Or rather, inviting its best over to dinner. Stamp your passport the globe-trotting gourmand way, with sauce stains and coffee rings, one plate at a time.
Herb Pancetta // Aux Délices des Bois // New York, NY
If a little bacon makes any dish a five-star meal, French bacon turns it downright Michelin-approved. This unsmoked, read-to-eat pancetta is salty, fatty, and perfumed with thyme and rosemary — perfect for mixing into soups and sauces, or adding some Parisian swagger to your burgers and BLTs.
French Absinthe & Herb Vinaigrette // Race City Sauceworks // Charlotte, NC
This Carolina outfit is know for its tongue-numbing hot sauces, packed full of Scoville units and southern swagger. But its vinaigrette takes on a subtler Gallic charm with sweet roasted garlic, a bouquet garni of fresh herbs, and imported absinthe — the real stuff, full of licorice-y, and reportedly hallucinogenic wormwood. It likely won’t send you to sleep with the green fairy, but drizzled over sliced veggies and topped with grated parm, it’ll make a mind-blowing, if not mind-altering late-summer salad.
Everything Bagel Fusilli // Sfoglini Pasta Shop // Brooklyn, NY
Who says pasta has to be last-minute carbo-fuel? Turn ordinary noodle night decadent with these classy corkscrews. Sfoglini gives new-school twists like local, seasonal herbs to their old-school shapes, punched from vintage bronze dies (dig those sauce-catching dimples). These get a dusting of spices from their Park Slope neighborhood bagel shop.
Nonna’s Smoky Sauce // City Saucery // New York, NY
City Saucery’s hearty blends are New-York-born by way of the founder’s grandma’s native Calabria — the toe of the boot, known for great wine and tongue-kicking cuisine, all spicy pickles, rich meats, and roasted veggies, especially eggplant, which gives the smoky base note to this gourmet gravy.
Dutch Stroopwafel // Rip Van Wafels // San Francisco, CA
Update your coffee break from a paper-cup-and-pastry affair to the stately Dutch koffietijd, a mid-day ritual of patience, pleasure, and oh yeah — a gooey caramel filling. Balance this rich, buttery waffle on the rim of your mug and let the steam slowly melt its syrupy core as you gaze over the rippling Herengracht canal, or the latest cat video making the office rounds. Go Dutch, but don’t share a bite.
Garlic & Cracked Pepper Cervelat // Schaller & Weber // Long Island City, NY
This century-old, family-run charcutier is the real deal — the best of the wurst. When you picture a classic German sausage shop — plump, meaty butchers smiling behind the counter; plump, meaty links swaying in the window — you’re salivating over this: a traditional, slightly smoky dry-cured salami, studded with tangy garlic and pepper. A taste of the old country, no time-change, or time travel, required.