From olive oil and jam to macarons and marshmallows, there is something for everyone in the Bay Area edibles scene.
If you ever wanted to eat cannabis, you would probably go to a park to buy a cookie or brownie from a stranger. How powerful would your purchase be? Was there even
cannabis in it? These were questions without answers, so the consumer played the role of test subject and hoped for the best. Today, enough edibles are made to fill a grocery store, from improved granola to sweet treats that are as art as medicine.
The emergence of edibles as the preferred method of ingesting cannabis comes at a time when the marijuana industry is trying to move away from the negative stigmas often associated with stoners. The modern edible is not for the tie-dye crowd, but for anyone who wants to experience the benefits of cannabis without having to smoke.
The Bay Area is home to many of the field’s innovators. From Madame Munchies’ luxury macarons to the artisanal granola produced by Flour Child, the market is ripe with new companies looking to combine their culinary crafts with their interest in cannabis-related products.
Gourmet marshmallows sprinkled with inventive toppings.
As someone with a low cannabis tolerance, Stephanie Hua was tired of guessing what dosage she was actually taking when taking cannabis.
“I should cut a single gummy candy into 10 pieces or nibble on a small piece of chocolate,” she says. “It just wasn’t satisfying.”
She wasn’t one to watch idly by, but decided to take matters into her own hands. The result is Mellows, an edibles company that specializes in medicinal marshmallows covered in toppings, such as rainbow sprinkles, pretzels, or shortbread crumbs.
Available in boxes of 12, each marshmallow contains 5mg of THC, making it easy for patients to control how much medicine they are consuming. Hua says she tries to walk the line between classic flavors with broad appeal — S’mores and Cookies + Cream — and options a little more unexpected, like Raspberry Rose Lychee and Brown Butter Sage. She also takes texture into account, describing how Mellow’s Orange Dreamsicle is “rolled on crunchy bits of vanilla meringue so you get that contrast with the soft, fluffy marshmallow.”
Of course, the first thing you probably notice about Mellows is the beautiful patterns and colors of the marshmallows.
“They must be beautiful,” Hua confirms. “We eat with our eyes first, and this is no exception.”
Besides being pleasing to the eye, a customer told her that Mellows had helped him better understand his child.
“He brought a box of Mellows on a family vacation and ate a few to relax,” Hua says. “At one point, after the impact hit, he turned to his 5-year-old and said, ‘I understand you.’ ”
Try this: Birthday Cake Mellow, because who can resist rainbow sprinkles?
Truffles, olive oil and much more.
For OmEdibles creator and owner Maya Elisabeth, products are only as good as the ingredients she uses to make them. That’s why her company, an all-women collective, founded in 2008, sources cannabis from organic farmers and incorporates superfoods, such as cocoa, into its edibles. From CBD-infused Raw Nipping Cacao to cannabis olive oil to cinnamon, maple and vanilla “Treehuggers” (that is, nut clusters), OmEdibles reflects Elisabeth’s belief that medicinal treats can be both delicious and nutritious.
The results speak for themselves.
“I’ve received great stories from patients about how our CBD miso has helped them with cancer, or how our elderberry syrup has helped people with Lyme disease,” says Elisabeth.
She is especially amazed at the feedback she gets from children who use her products.
“People have found that our lavender oil on a child’s chest or a small scoop of medicinal lavender Epsom salt or the CBD chocolate has helped countless children with autism and epilepsy,” she says. “That seems to be the feedback that touches me the most.”
Try this: Peanut Butter Puffed Rice Truffle, gourmet buttercups coated with Belgian chocolate.
“The cannabis space was created to be a place of healing,” said Jamel Ramiro, co-founder of MoonMan’s Mistress. “But many edibles on the market fall short when it comes to healthy options.”
Enter MoonMan’s Mistress, born of a desire to fill what Ramiro and his partner Liz Rudner saw as a great void in the cannabis space: products for people with autoimmune diseases, food allergies and other concerns.
MoonMan’s Mistress specializes in inventive cannabis cookies, such as vegan Lunar Lemon Maca shortbread cookies, CBD-only Solar Flare chocolate chip cookies, nut-free Cosmic Cacao peppermint cookies and nut-free, vegan, CBD-only Star Cluster Superfood cookies.
“Cookies are comfort food,” Ramiro explains. “If you have dietary restrictions, people tend to miss out on snacks and desserts.”
The company grew out of Rudner’s personal nutritional issues when a young woman was diagnosed with celiac disease and Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune thyroid disease). Realizing that Western medicine couldn’t help her ailing body, she became her own advocate and studied holistic nutrition. While learning to use real food as medicine, she simultaneously used cannabis to heal her body.
As Ramiro explains, the ethos behind MoonMan’s Mistress is a reflection of what he and Rudner have learned: “To live well, you have to move well,” he says. “And to exercise well, you have to eat right.”
Try this: Pumpkin Pecan Mini Space Cake, a seasonal treat the size of a large egg.
Artisanal granola and seasonal jam.
As a child, Stephany Gocobachi read her way through old issues of Gourmet and Bon Appétit. She took over planning and making Thanksgiving dinner when she was nine. Now she runs Flour Child, a company she mapped out while studying at NYU, and later when she worked as a product buyer for Bi-Rite Market in the Mission.
“I have a background in confectionery,” she says, “and I could have gone the way of high-end pastries or sweets and probably would have made a lot more money. But it makes no sense to me to put medicine in a car that is full of things you shouldn’t eat every day.”
What Gocobachi focused on instead was jam.
“Jams were the perfect solution,” says Gocobachi, because they’re made from natural ingredients and the dosages are easy to measure. “[Jams are] a way to be able to offer something seasonal that can sit on a shelf for another year without losing quality or making patients sick,” she adds. “Granola seemed like a perfect partner.”
The available flavors change seasonally. Currently, there are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and peaches, among others. Other options on the calendar include blood orange, quince, cherry, tayberry and apricot.
“I try to keep it to a maximum of four per season,” explains Gocobachi, “although it’s hard to limit it, especially in the bounty of summer!”
A few years ago, Gocobachi had the chance to see the effects of her work firsthand when her partner’s father suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with colon cancer shortly after. Although she says he was initially reluctant to try her jam, he eventually gave in.
“It helped him deal with nausea, loss of appetite, pain — everything,” she says. “His doctor noted how well his body responded to chemotherapy after starting the jam. We hear incredible stories all the time, and it’s always very moving to know that our work has helped someone so much.”
Try this: Strawberry jam, the perfect combination of tart and sweet.
French macarons, as good as Laduree.
Madame Munchie started in 2014 when Kim Geraghty met Ashley Martino. Geraghty had recently moved to the United States after living most of her life in Paris. Determined to help improve the image of cannabis, Geraghty and Martino founded a company that combined the gourmet quality of French pastries with natural, sun-grown cannabis.
Geraghty says the idea of going with macarons — the meringue-based cookies that are different from coconut-covered “macarons” — was her idea.
“What better product to change the image of cannabis than the highest quality, luxurious French pastry?” she says.
Each macaron contains 20mg of THC and comes in flavors ranging from Citrus à l’amande (made with orange zest and homemade almond butter) to Tropical Jungle (made with chocolate ganache and fresh banana puree) to fan-favorite Grilled PB&J (made with organic grape jelly and homemade peanut butter). Each flavor goes through several variations before making a final selection.
“It always involves a lot of fun taste tests,” Geraghty says.
Madame Munchie’s macarons are not only delicious, but apparently powerful enough to change people’s minds about the benefits of cannabis. Geraghty recalls a conversation with a woman whose husband Madame Munchies used to treat his Parkinson’s disease.
“He was amazed at the relief they provided,” she says, “and even more so because he had previously enforced anti-cannabis laws.”
Try this: Grilled PB&J macaron, an airy, delicate version of the original.