The two-day Emporiyum event features dozens of vendors from across the country who need no introduction, including such big names as Momofuku Milk Bar and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. But the Emporiyum also provides an opportunity to sample the wares of local vendors you may not otherwise procure so effortlessly in one place.
Hilary Tomeny sells her gluten-free baked goods online, with the hope that she can open a storefront next year. She began pursuing wheatless baking in earnest during her furlough last year from the Department of Defense. Unlike many other gluten-free treats, Tomeny’s don’t contain brown rice flour. Instead, she makes her own gluten-free flour blend, baking with potato flour, tapioca starch and cornstarch. Her repertoire includes such nostalgic treats as chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cream pies, as well as a more contemporary salted caramel cream brownie sandwich. As a nod to fall, she expects to bring some pumpkin-spiced doughnuts to the Emporiyum.
The Emporiyum marks the debut of this collaboration between New York-based cookbook author Louisa Shafia and Washington lawyer Sabahat Chaudhary. The two have designed a “line of sustainable and fashionable kitchen textiles,” Shafia says, including an apron, tea towel, produce bags and food-preserver bowl toppers. The textiles are colored with natural dyes; materials include a cotton-hemp blend and recycled polyester blend. The products are handmade in Washington and, other than at the Emporiyum, are available only online for now. The pair hopes to expand with a pop-up or brick-and-mortar store, and partner with shops in New York and Washington to carry their products.
The pop-up biscuit shop recently found a more permanent home on weekends at Union Market. The Emporiyum, though, is where the brand will introduce its line of retail products, says chief executive Ayeshah Abuelhiga. She and her team perceived demand for frozen biscuits; those vacuum-packed biscuits probably will be available in packs of six or 12. They aren’t baked and will require a brief thawing before going into the oven. By way of endorsement, Abuelhiga is convinced that the baked-from-frozen biscuits are better than when they’re baked from fresh dough. Also available: preserves, such as cranberry or citrus spreads.
Pastry chef Heather Roth, currently on staff at L’Academie de Cuisine, has worked at such Washington establishments as Hook and Equinox. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, she took time off to focus on her health and looked to baking for solace. Now she’s going into business for herself, considering the Emporiyum her launch date. “After five years cancer-free, I’ve gotta do this. What am I waiting for?” she says. She’s working to place her sweet treats at local shops but hopes to one day open at a place like Union Market. At the Emporiyum, expect to see desserts along the lines of decorated sugar cookies, cupcakes and macaroons. Roth will also be taking orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas cookie wreaths.
This year-old business is based out of culinary incubator Union Kitchen. Ryan Keating started making his own almond milk when he was on the Paleo diet. Except for a version that includes honey for a touch of sweetness, Udderly Nuts contains only two ingredients: almonds and filtered water. “People say, ‘Wow, this really tastes like almonds.’ They’re not used to that,” Keating says. The almond milk, which Keating compares in consistency to one-percent cow’s milk, comes in 32-ounce plastic bottles, which are sold in a handful of locations in the District. Smaller bottles are under consideration and may be available at the Emporiyum.