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Foodzie for Foodies

Foodzie co-founders, from left: Nik Bauman, Emily Olson and Rob LaFave. (Foodzie)

It was the single-malt Scotch bar that got my attention. Odd, since I'm a fan of neither Scotch nor chocolate. (I know. I know.) But there was something about the two together, bound by thick caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt, that made it sound irresistible.

There are a lot of products that tantalize on Foodzie, an online market for small-food producers. Founded in 2008 by three Virginia Tech graduates, the site now offers artisanal food from more than 100 vendors. There are cardamom tea cookies from Napa Valley, hazelnut pancake mix from Monmouth, Ore., and fig barbecue sauce from Atlanta.

Need I say more?

OK. One more. Wildflower honey caramels from Los Angeles.

Co-founder Emily Olson got the idea for Foodzie while working at a specialty grocer in North Carolina after graduating from college. There were many great, small producers, but they were too small to get into distribution channels, and packaging and marketing were often too expensive. With her partners Nik Bauman and Rob LaFave, she created an open platform where producers could hawk their wares.

Producers pay nothing to open a store on the site. Foodzie collects a 20 percent commission on sales. There are no explicit standards, but the site caters to small vendors who use organic, natural or local ingredients and have limited distribution. "We don't want anyone who's selling their food at Wal-Mart," Olson says.

So far, Olson says, chocolate has been a top seller. Apparently, no matter how bad times get, people will still pay for this treat. Even me. As soon as I finish blogging, I'm ordering the single-malt Scotch ones.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  May 20, 2009; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Shopping  | Tags: Jane Black, Web sites  
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I love this idea! Has anyone tried the Gourmet Maine Sea Salt? I'd love to know if it really is comparable to fleur de sel. Sounds great...

Posted by: zaatarweeblycom | May 20, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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