Once again, I’ve decided to post my annual list of Festive Food Finds early again this year, as I think we will be doing most of our holiday shopping online, and shipping may take a bit longer. As always, these are just some personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products or compensated me in any way, though I may earn a small commission from Amazon sales. Photos used are from the vendors. And for more gift ideas, check out my Amazon store.
High quality olive oil is always a welcome gift, and I recommend the bottles from Seka Hills, sustainably produced by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation on tribal lands in California. They also create lovely vinegars and honeys and have customizable gift boxes. For a really interesting twist to easy meals, these fabulous mole sauces from Guelaguetza are real treat and a creative gift. I’m crazy about New York Shuck rosey harissa seasoning, and this harissa gift pack will amp up anyone’s cooking. Lovingly handmade blueberry lemongrass jam from Mae’s Jams is perfect on toast or with a cheese board. Checkout their shrubs too.
If popcorn is your thing, I’ve got two great options. First, Opopop makes pre-seasoned popcorn kernels. That’s right, you just pop them in the handy microwave popper and it comes out seasoned as cake batter, fancy butter or Maui heat, among others. The starter kit makes a great gift. As you know, I love anything pimento cheese flavored, so Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn is a favorite of mine, and the variety pack makes a lovely gift, or a treat to have on hand for last minute holiday gatherings. If you like to pop your corn the old fashioned way, Beautiful Briny Sea’s truffle honey salt is a whole new level. Beer glazed potato chips. Need I say more.
Home Place Pastures charcuterie is my favorite for filling a board, so stock up for holiday parties and gifts with the sampler pack. Make sure you have the perfect cheese with a sampler box from North Carolina’s Boxcar Cheese. Go full Southern on your snack selection with Callie’s Biscuit Crackers. Everyone loves a cheese straw, but up your holiday snacking game with these lovely cheese bursts from Primo’s Bakery.
A few years ago, I recommended Carl the Hot Chocolate Snowman, and now Kate Wiesser Chocolates makes a smaller, one mug size melting chocolate snowman that is just too cute. I’m crazy about Memphis-made Shotwell Caramels, and the seasonal Gingerbread Cookie flavor and the new chocolate covered caramels are a dream. New Orleans favorite doberge cake gets a whole new interpretation with rainbow layers and funky flavors from Debbie Does Dobberge. Backhouse Foods makes the most decadent toppings for ice cream (or cake, or a spoon!). Pick a sampler box and share it with all your friends (or not!).
During this crazy pandemic, I became a fan of easy to drink and safe to serve canned cocktails and seltzers, so for parties at your house or to take to others, check out TipTop cocktails range of classic cocktails attractively packaged. If you are a mix your own person, give your cocktails a holiday boost with this mixer set from Yes Cocktail Co. (check out their bitter cubes too). Yes, you can make your own tonic water syrup and this spice kit makes it simple. Your G&T just went up a level. A pretty (and delicious) gift for making delicious Bloody Marys will help anyone get throughout the party season.
Of course, the best gift is giving to others, so consider donations to organizations doing great work in these crazy times. Feeding America supports a network of food banks across the country. Click here to find your local food bank, or donate directly here. The Lee Initiative, founded by Chef Edward Lee, has a restaurant worker relief fund. Chef Chris Sheppard’s Southern Smoke Foundation has turned its efforts to relief for food and beverage workers. World Central Kitchen created by Chef Jose Andres provides meals for those in need and jobs for restaurant workers, in addition to their regular mission of feeding people during natural disasters and emergencies.