Since 2010, Beau Bien Fine Foods has been producing world-class preserves and condiments with Michigan’s finest fruit. Using classic foundations and principles of preservation, we have created our recipes to combine flavors that we find exciting and relevant to the modern palate and pantry.
We work directly with regional farmers to choose the highest quality fruit available. We craft each flavor in small batches, taking time and care to make sure every jar is consistently good, fine-tuning the product along the way.
Our company calls Detroit home, where we are part of a vibrant group of fellow food entrepreneurs dedicated to fostering a community of cooperation and collective growth. We couldn’t ask for a better place to build a business.
When we met in 2010, one of us was a musician and food writer (Noelle Lothamer) and the other a graphic designer (Molly O’Meara). Raised in Michigan and both Detroiters at heart, we were already savoring the quietly growing local food scene. Immediately upon meeting, first via Twitter and in person soon after, we bonded over our mutual love of cooking and good food. At the time, the U.S. was in the midst of an accelerating food revolution. Exceptional, locally sourced food was becoming the ideal, and grassroots food scenes were invigorating urban centers around the country. We knew Detroit deserved to be a part of this trend. We also realized a budding market would offer us the freedom to be creative and to build solid relationships with local farmers and customers. The economy uncertain, our employment uninspiring, we longed to build something reflecting our tastes and values. We were hungry to translate our love of food into tangible products. We already knew what we liked: luscious fruit, limited sugar, and ingredients of highest quality – preserves that would complement sweet and savory foods alike.
Having lived in France (Noelle) and Argentina (Molly), we had both acquired an affinity for seasonal, fresh food, born of tradition and simplicity. After Michigan passed the Cottage Food law, allowing the sale of foods produced in home kitchens, we teamed up and began making jam in Molly’s Lafayette Park kitchen.
With some creative scheduling, we began developing our own original recipes. We sought out superior produce from local farmers, including the pectin we make ourselves from Michigan apples. Through trial and error, we retained only the recipes that fully captured the succulent flavor of seasonal fruit.
As we often prefer savory to sweet foods, it was important for us to create products that pair well with foods we love. We wanted Beau Bien to appear not just on breakfast tables, but also alongside cheeses and cured meats. To this end, we soon added mustards and chutneys to our repertoire. Because we love to play in the kitchen, we also make limited runs of cocktail syrups, infused vinegars and finishing salts available by special order.
Our enjoyment of sumptuous fare developed through travel and over time.
My love of fresh food and farmers markets began when I was young. My dad took my sister and me to Detroit’s Eastern Market on many Saturday mornings. It was only a short drive from our Grosse Pointe home, but we always left before the sun came up. I loved the wildness of the place: vendors shouting, chickens clucking and stacks of fruits and vegetables towering above my head.
Though my first career wasn’t in the food industry, it did take me to some truly wonderful food cities before I returned to Detroit. I’ve called San Francisco, New York and Buenos Aires home. While the first two are culinary meccas in their own right, Argentina is where I learned the true meaning of casera (homemade). Time, care and quality ingredients make everything taste amazing. I brought those ideals and a mean chimichurri recipe back home with me.
I studied graphic and industrial design at the University of Michigan and am a graphic designer by trade. I have developed branding for many companies over the years, including Beau Bien Fine Foods.
My connection with home-grown food and farmers markets is lifelong; my grandfather was a farmer, and I used to be his helper at the markets when I was a kid. Though I grew up in the Lansing area, I’ve lived in and around Detroit for many years. Armed with my French degree from Michigan State, I spent a year teaching in Toulouse, France, where my love of cooking blossomed.
After college, I spent a decade playing in various Detroit rock bands before “retiring” and shifting my creative energies towards food writing and cooking. In many ways, the artisan food movement has many parallels with the music scene in its vibrance, creativity, and tight-knit community, so I feel right at home!
For both of us, coming “home” to Detroit was a wise move. We discovered how easily exceptional ingredients can be found here. In fact, Michigan is one of the nation’s largest food hubs for fruits, including berries and tree fruits. We also loved the idea of using local ingredients to help transform Michigan’s once-faltering economy. We’re committed to helping our city and our farming partners, and we knew that Beau Bien’s success would accomplish both. Even though Beau Bien is a smaller company, our impact is still significant.
Very quickly, Beau Bien Fine Foods has become a steady presence at Detroit’s Eastern Market and at better grocers, boutiques, cafés and wine shops throughout the metro area. We’ve migrated our enameled cast iron and copper pots to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra kitchen. We’ve enjoyed delighting palates, and are happy to welcome our many returning customers and meet new faces in stores and at the markets. We’re proud of our work and we look forward to adding our beautifully well-made recipes to your table.
Where is your store?
Right now, we don’t have a retail storefront, but you can find us in stores all across Michigan. If you don’t see one near you, we can ship your order. We hope to have our own storefront in the future, so follow us on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll keep you posted!
How do you come up with your recipes?
We love to cook and we love to improvise and play with flavors. Using classic foundations and principles of preserving, we have created our recipes to combine flavors that we find exciting and relevant to the modern palate and pantry.
Where does your name come from? Are you located on Beaubien Street?
When we chose our company name, we wanted locals to recognize us as a Detroit brand, without having to call ourselves something generic like “Detroit Preserves Company”. Because of Noelle’s French background and its influence on our products, we adapted a well-known French street name in Detroit. The literal French meaning of the words– “beau” is beautiful and “bien” is well– are echoed in our brand’s tag line, “Beautifully well-made preserves & condiments”.
You say you use less sugar but it still tastes sweet. Do you make any sugar-free products?
Our recipe uses half the sugar of conventional jam recipes, so you will still taste the sugar; however, if you were to sample our products next to your typical grocery store jam, the difference becomes very apparent! We pride ourselves on the concentrated, bright fruit flavor we achieve through using double the amount of fruit to the sugar. For those watching their sugar intake for health reasons, we do post nutritional info on our labels. We have opted not to make sugar free products because we don’t want to use any artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Where do you source your fruit?
Our fruit is sourced as close to home as possible. We work with many farms in the greater Detroit area (and even in the city itself), as well as farms on the west side of the state, where most of the blueberries and cherries are grown. Occasionally, Mother Nature requires us to source some items out of state; in those cases, we still try to stay within the midwestern food shed.
Where are your other ingredients sourced?
The majority of our other ingredients such as herbs, spices, honey and wine are sourced locally from Michigan vendors; additionally, all of our spices and mustard seed are certified non-irradiated.
Although we are all about local, for the time being we have chosen to use cane sugar rather than Michigan beet sugar, because all Michigan sugar is currently made with genetically modified “Round-Up Ready” beets. We’re jam makers, not scientists, but until we have more information we’d rather just avoid genetically modified foods.
Why don’t you have fig preserves / mango chutney / marmalades?
Because there is such a bounty of great fruit here in Michigan, we have opted to use only fruit that grows locally. So, you won’t see mango chutneys or pineapple jams in our repertoire. But we encourage you to try something new… if you like figs, why not branch out and try a plum preserve? Or a peach chutney instead of mango? You might just discover a new favorite flavor.
Can you create custom flavors and/or packaging for a corporate event or wedding?
Absolutely, thanks for asking! You can read all about it on our custom orders page. [link]
Do you offer seasonal preserves?
Occasionally we do create special flavors that are only available at farmers markets or on our website; please visit our store to see what we currently have available.