The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to come together with friends and family to share a year’s worth of highs, commiserate on our lows—and for the peripatetic among us—humblebrag about our travel adventures.
But what if you could somehow let your loved ones actually taste those pillowy beignets you sampled this year in New Orleans? Or bring back some of that slow-roasted barbecue brisket you ate in Texas? A Katz’s Deli pastrami sandwich from New York City—that would be a slam-dunk with carnivorous Uncle Bob.
Now there’s no need to stow these regional delicacies in your carry-on, thanks to Goldbely, which is helping small U.S. food artisans deliver to food lovers around the country. More than 300 businesses on the site cover almost every state, and offerings range from national obsessions (Birthday Cake from Momofuku Milk Bar) and famous seasonal offerings (Georgian peaches) to coveted, hard-to-get ingredients (big eye tuna from a fish company that supplies Le Bernardin).
“Our goal is to empower each of these small food makers to be able to scale their business on their own,” says Joe Ariel, founder of Goldbely. “It’s a revelation when people discover they can get a lot of things directly from food makers’ hands delivered to their door.”
Ariel, a native New Yorker, launched the company in 2013 when he realized he missed the biscuits, barbecue, and pie he grew to love while attending college in Nashville. He quickly learned he wasn’t alone on his craving for regional delicacies from tiny mom-and-pop operations: Goldbely’s customer base has grown to more than a half million people. Goldbely users are engaged and passionate eaters, says Ariel, and at least a third of new products come from customer recommendations.
Goldbely only supplies products that taste as good as the original version, according to Ariel, whose 15-person team works with partners on various preservation methods ranging from dry ice to specific preparation instructions. A flash sale of the iconic Cronut in December 2013 took months of quality control and dry-run mailings with Dominique Ansel’s team—they tried six different methods and shipped to 12 states before settling on a flash-freezing process approved by Ansel and his team. (They also sold out in an hour.)
The next flash sale: a pastrami-rubbed turkey from New York City’s Mile End Deli—which will be sold exclusively on Goldbelly, and will only be available for this Thanksgiving season.
“In every town in America, there’s probably a great artisan baker or food maker where locals will say, yeah, that’s really special,” says Ariel. “And we want to support them.”
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