Editor’s Mixing Bowl

Above: Karen Urbanek of flying noir hand paints bonbons in her Oakland chocolate kitchen. (Photo by Jon Milavec) Check out our Facebook page and Instagram @edibleeastbay for our special stop-motion video series showing local chocolatiers at work.



Never before has Edible East Bay come up with such a basketful of sweets, and since an indulgence is good for the soul on occasion, go ahead and take some slow, sweet time with this magazine. We hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as we did while putting it together.

More than a tour of East Bay sweets, however, this issue is a celebration of the human hand: a most important tool for the chef, artist, and craftsperson and also the world’s best reusable eating implement. Don’t miss writer Anna Mindess’s fascinating story on diverse world practices of eating with the hands.

Hands are at work in our feature on East Bay chocolate makers and chocolatiers. While getting to know these culinary artisans, we learned that quite a few have backgrounds in painting, ceramics, fiber arts, metal work, or jewelry making. Photographer Jon Milavec visited several of them—as well as our own local chocolate baking guru Alice Medrich—to capture their extraordinary work in photos and videos that we’ll be sharing on social media.

You’ll find heaps of handcrafted whimsy in artist Gary Handman’s charming culinary notebooks and also in a new cookbook by YouTube personality, Piedmont native, and now Stanford college student Rachel Fong, who creates irresistibly cute cupcakes, cookies, and other temptations in Kawaii Sweet World. East Bay cookbook author Hannah Kaminsky’s artistry and ingenuity are on luscious display in Sweet Vegan Treats, and those who want to put their own hands to work can try two of Kaminsky’s recipes shared in this issue.

Don’t untie that apron: We think you might be baking some cookies. Plus, you’ll find three recipes for DIY gifts offered by East Bay Herbals, three more in our What’s In Season column, and yet another in our highly informative piece on how to buy and enjoy California’s exceptional olio nuovo (new-pressed olive oil).

Craft surrounding the home can be found in our Gardener’s Notebook article on how to create your own grove of perennial edibles. And don’t miss the inspiration on the back cover: A couple of us recently visited with designer/builder Daryl Rush in his Emeryville workshop, where we saw blacksmithing, joinery, and wood carving in action.

As you read through this holiday issue, remember that it’s our advertisers who make this magazine possible. They are among many locally based providers making and offering things to delight us and enhance our daily lives. Supporting them makes our local community stronger.

Pursuing creative endeavors is an important part of the human story, and the holidays are a good time to celebrate our joyful, creative nature.

Cheers to the season!
Cheryl and Rachel