Chefs Take Gourmet Cannabis Edibles to Delicious New Highs
Pricey and pretty gourmet cannabis edibles offer discriminating palettes an elevated flavor experience.
Far from the crayon-colored chewy gummies that have dominated the edibles market, a new array of chef-driven cannabis cookies and confections illustrates weed’s culinary potential. These gourmet cannabis edibles focus on powerful flavors, and not just powerful highs.
The upscale edibles feature elegant packaging, sophisticated ingredients and artful execution that rival the best of artisanal confections and pastry. Though edibles are a fraction of the cannabis market, these elevated gummies, cookies and chocolates are made to entice the cannabis newcomer and the seasoned veteran alike, often with lower-THC doses.
The individual ingredients are newly scrutinized, as cannachefs focus their recipe development on the emulsification properties of the concentrates and how they can complement the distinctive herbaceous flavor of weed. The downside? These edibles are all so delicious it’s hard to eat just one.
Here’s a sample of some of the best new gourmet cannabis edibles to hit the West Coast.
Rose Los Angeles Makes the Gummy Gourmet
Rose Los Angeles is making a name with its Rose Delights gourmet cannabis edibles. Their low-dose gummies incorporate seasonal produce in wildly imaginative and flavorful combinations, as well as year-round staples. The delicate cubes are reminiscent of classic Turkish Delight and have captured the imagination of star chef collaborators, including Dominique Crenn, Natasha Pickowicz, Nicole Rucker and Enrique Olvera.
Using seasonal produce at peak freshness, the company says it creates recipes that read like an exotic cocktail—the Apple Ume Ginger blends Gravenstein apple cider with Ume plum syrup and ginger juice. Chef OIvera created a Delight based on the michelada, but replaced the bitter note of beer with cannabis and used fire-roasted tomatoes, Pujol-fermented chili paste and freeze-dried lime dust.
“The experimentation has reached new heights in our kitchen,” says founder Nathan Cozzolino. “It becomes like this treasure hunt focused on finding individual ingredients.”
Unlike other companies that deemphasize the origin and taste of their cannabis concentrate, Rose uses single-strain, whole-flower rosin that the brand says “captures the flavorful terpenes and the entire spectrum of cannabinoids and other beneficial plant compounds.” They press the flower into rosin themselves because “it brings our staff closer to the ingredients we use,” says Cozzolino.
Cozzolino further explains that his company is “pretty staunchly opposed to distillate. We’ve never used the stuff. Delights are known for being the first to exclusively use flower rosin in the recreational market.” Most distillate, he says, is homogenized byproduct from smokable flower.
“We want people to have an opportunity to have a relationship with a single strain,” Cozzolino says. With their inventive combinations of ingredients such as passionfruit, candy cap mushrooms, celery juice or even pickled red shiso leaves, the clever cooks at Rose Los Angeles are deliciously expanding the wide, wild world of weed.
Rose Delights are available throughout most of California in 2.5 or 5 mg doses, and in THC or CBD-only variations; prices range from $15 to $45 online, delivery and in dispensaries. CBD products ship globally.
Hervé Gives Infused Edibles a Luxurious French Twist
Brushed with real 23-karat gold, Hervė macarons are handmade by professionals who have mastered the techniques that make the iconic cookie tender, tasty and chewy. Each $20 box of these gourmet cannabis edibles contains a trio of macarons in fanciful colors and flavors, including pink raspberry buttercream, dark chocolate ganache, turquoise salted caramel and—a favorite for celebrations—red, white and blue birthday cake, featuring an equator of rainbow sprinkles. Each macaron contains 10 mg of a hybrid, sativa-ish distillate that imparts the faintest flavor of cannabis.
“It’s a premium product,” says Cheyne Nadeau, vice president of marketing for the company, which sells in dispensaries, online and delivery in California and Nevada.
“We all have our favorite gummies in the market, but we felt they were inconsistent and kind of juvenile. A lot of them were loaded with sugar to mask the flavor.”
Hervé is responding to an expanding cannabis consumer base that includes newcomers and nonsmokers. “We want it to be something you pick up for a special occasion, or maybe a dinner party,” Nadeau said. “It looks beautiful on display by itself, too.”
The macarons are best stored frozen for up to a year and allowed to come to room temperature before consuming—if you can wait that long.
Cloud 11‘s Artisan Chocolates
Chef and entrepreneur Nic Pritzker founded the cannabis confectionary company Cloud 11 with the intention of elevating the experience of cannabis itself. To that end, he partnered with respected pastry chef Manuela Sanin, a colleague and alum of New York City’s iconic three Michelin star restaurant, Eleven Madison Park.
Together, the chocolate masters developed three “delicately dosed” bonbon flavors, packaged them in an elegant tin and distributed them via white-glove delivery in select Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Printed with an ethereal image of cloud formations, the 11-sided tins hold one or two embossed trays of the artistically handcrafted chocolates. Shoppers can choose from salted peanut, strawberry pink peppercorn and black sesame with yuzu. A deep black swoosh distinguishes the pointy little pyramid of salted peanut, while the round, red strawberry bonbons shimmer beneath a dab of green. The black sesame’s faceted gem shape and solid black exterior gives it an air of mystery.
The chefs wanted no mystery to cloud the origins of their ingredients or the experience of their consumers, however.
“We seek out other suppliers who care just as deeply as we do about the ingredients we use,” Sanin says. They use the extra aromatic Harry’s Berries strawberries, a Southern California institution, and Japan’s Wadaman toasted sesame paste for their black sesame yuzu flavor. The salted peanut flavor is reminiscent of a peanut butter cup but improved by a silky ganache and Amagansett Sea Salt.
They claim an “advanced infusion technology” maintains the precision and consistency of their distillate’s dosage. Not for heavy stoners, each flavor is available in doses of 2 mg THC/2 mg CBD or 4 mg THC/4 mg CBD.
Single tins include 11 pieces for $90; double tins of 22 pieces are $170 and can combine flavors and dosages.