A right in the St. Nick of time Guest Blog by the sisters who publish cltbests.com
Do you have a foodie on your gift list this year? Not sure where to start? We rounded up a few of our favorite local gift ideas for the gastronome in your life.
For the Chocolate-loving Foodie: Iva Jean’s Fudge
Iva Jean’s delicious small-batch fudge comes with the sweetest story behind it. Founder, Debbie Hanks, builds on her mother’s fudge recipe to create fantastic flavor combinations that will delight the chocolate-lover in your life. She uses locally-sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible to create enticing flavors like Peppermint Bark, Salted Pecan Pumpkin and Sugar Cookie. If you want to really go the extra mile in your gift-giving, Iva Jean’s offers subscriptions for the Fudge of the Month Club.
Where to find it: Iva Jean’s fudge is sold in many of your favorite local stores. For a list of stores, click here.
For the Home Chef Foodie: Chef Alyssa’s Smoked Chili & Rosemary Mustard Spread
Well-known and highly-acclaimed local chef, Alyssa Wilen, has certainly made her mark on Charlotte’s food scene and now she offers all-natural, preservative-free products to help make delicious meals at home. We like the Smoked Chili & Rosemary Mustard spread for our holiday party charcuterie plates, but it can also be used on sandwiches, as a rub for meats, or in salad dressings. This flavorful and versatile spread will be appreciated by anyone from the home chef, to the hostess needing some flare for her holiday spread. If you’re looking for a more experiential gift, check out Chef Alyssa’s upcoming cooking classes.
For the Boozy Foodie: Doc Porters Bourbon + Glassware
Local distillery, Doc Porter’s, now offers Vodka, Rye, Gin and, our favorite, Bourbon. Doc Porter’s offerings are perfect for holiday cocktails or, as we prefer it, served on the rocks in this festive Charlotte-themed glass. This combination gift will be sure to keep your loved one warm and toasty for the holiday season. As a bonus, consider gifting a distillery tour as well. This 45-minute tour includes a tasting and Doc Porter’s shot glass.
Where to find it: Doc Porter’s is available in most Charlotte-area ABC stores and in their distillery (check their website for operating hours). For a list of stores that carry their products, click here. The 704 glass is made by Sisters of LA and is available in four color options at Paper Skyscraper.
For the Artsy Foodie: Prints by David French Originals
The Charlotte food scene has some iconic restaurants worthy of a spot on a true Charlotte foodie’s wall. Local artist, David French, captures these renowned spots beautifully in his paintings. David’s work is well-known in Charlotte and includes paintings of notable Charlotte sights, including the skyline, Bank of America Stadium and panoramas of popular neighborhoods. Our personal favorite is this painting of Lang Van, the home of some of Charlotte’s most authentic and delectable Vietnamese food. Prints depicting Price’s Chicken Coop, Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop, Mr. K’s, Pinky’s Westside Grill, Open Kitchen Restaurant, Beef ‘n Bottle and Cabo Fish Taco are also available.
For the Foodie with a Sweet Tooth: Holiday Cookies from Suarez Bakery
If you’ve ever walked by the front window of Suarez Bakery, you know about the masterpieces they create inside. Their delectable cakes, pies, pastries, and breads are all perfect for the holidays, but our favorites are the hand-iced sugar cookies. This holiday season, they are offering beautiful and tasty Santas, Christmas trees, snowflakes, candy canes, snowmen, stockings and more. You can select your own assortment, have them wrapped up in a bag with a bow, and check another person off your list.
Where to find it: Suarez Bakery
For the Caffeine-loving Foodie: Enderly Bourbon Pecan Coffee
If you can’t tell, we are big fans of bourbon-flavored goodies for the holidays. Enderly Coffee makes tasty coffee of all types, but the Bourbon Pecan is one of our favorites. The smell of the beans, alone, is worth the purchase. They also offer a subscription service that allows you to pick your coffee type (whole beans vs. ground coffee) and set your delivery frequency. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. For an added bonus, throw in one of these Drink Local coffee stickers from 704 Shop.
Where to find it: Find Enderly Coffee at many of your favorite local shops and online. We picked up the Bourbon Pecan beans at Rhino Market in FreeMoreWest. For a full list of places to buy their products, click here.
For the Bookworm Foodie: Pecans from the Savor the South Cookbooks Series
Pecan pie and pecan cookies are obvious holiday favorites, but what about Baked Pecan Toffee? Or Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake with Strawberry-Pecan Butter? Or Smoky Garlic-Mustard Pecans? In this cook book from the Savor the South Cookbook series, food editor for the Charlotte Observer, Kathleen Purvis, shares her tips on finding, cracking and cooking pecans into delicious appetizers, main dishes, salads, sides and desserts. She even touches on the age-old debate of how exactly the word “pecan” is pronounced (she goes with “pee-cahn”). As a bonus, Park Road Books has autographed copies available in the store. They also carry the rest of the books in the Savor the South Series which includes cookbooks focused on bacon, okra, chicken and greens to name a few.
Where to find it: Park Road Books at Park Road Shopping Center
For the Queen Bee Foodie: Cloister Honey
When you think about honey, you probably think of the typical sugary sweet goodness, but Cloister Honey’s locally-made honey products run the gamut from gooey and candy-like to whipped and spicy. We like the Bourbon-infused honey pictured here, but Cloister has a whole line of exciting flavors and textures to try. You can select a variety of their products for your custom gift box, or follow their suggested pairings to make the perfect gift. Think Lavender, Lemon, Bourbon and Vanilla honeys for the tea lover, or Arbol Pepper, Ghost Pepper, Seeded Honey and wedge of Honey Comb for superb cheese pairings.
For the New Parent Foodie: Sushi Set + Restaurant Gift Card
This gift is perfect for the friend with a new little foodie at home. As new parents, we found that a great substitution for a night out is a night in, with just a little extra effort. We purchased a sushi set (pictured) so that we could put our babe to bed, have my husband pick up some sushi, clear off the coffee table, pour some sake and pretend to be “out”. O-ku has some of the tastiest and most unique sushi in town, so it’s the perfect meal for a date night in.
Where to find it: Send them an e-gift card or stop by to pick up a physical card. Sushi sets are available from a number of online sources, but we spotted a reasonably-priced set at Paper Skyscraper too.
For the Foodie Who Has it All: Donation to Community Culinary School of Charlotte
This is the season for giving, after all, so consider investing in Charlotte’s culinary workforce development on behalf of the foodie on your list. Community Culinary School of Charlotte (CCSC) is a non-profit organization focused on teaching job skills in the food industry to people who may otherwise have a hard time finding work, due to challenges including lack of skills, legal problems, drug addiction and homelessness. CCSC provides culinary training, food safety and sanitation education, and job readiness skills, as well as helps students find employment. Ongoing resources are available to alumni. CCSC is committed to breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty while increasing upward mobility of disadvantaged groups.
Where to find it: Click here to donate now.
Haley and Carly are sisters, friends, working moms, 30-somethings and Charlotte natives. We blog about all things Charlotte, from food to family-friendly events. After years of moving around, Haley has settled in South End, and Carly in Davidson.