Holiday Gifts to Eat, Drink, & Give Merrily

Holiday Food GiftsWhat do you give the person that has it all?  The person you barely know?  The person down the street?  Something they can use, they can share, or they can eat? I’ve seriously debated getting all the neighborhood kids gift cards to the local doughnut shop (instead of toys they may already have or have already outgrown) for their birthdays.  You’re welcome parents!  As it is, I can barely judge what my own child will and won’t play with. So, my gift to you this holiday season is a list of my favorite items (both store-bought and homemade) to eat, drink, & give merrily! 

  • Storico Fresco Pasta – This Buckhead alimentari (and restaurant) sells specialty Italian goods (real deal imported panettone). Homemade pasta, ravioli, and, most impressively, timballo (think pasta pot pie)!  Who doesn’t want a night off during the holidays?  Note that these dinner items, complete with sauces and sides, are equally awesome for meal brigades. Hey, you’re not drowning in free time either.       
  • Bitters Basket – For the cocktail or mocktail lover, visit 18.21 Bitters in Ponce City Market.  In addition to locally made bitters, tinctures, & shrubs, they offer a Holiday Syrup made with cranberry, rosemary, & orange that will make their champagne toasts ones to remember.  Round out the gift basket with oils, vinegars, & other locally made goods from Strippaggio and King of Crops next door. 
  • Brewery Tour/Wine TastingWild Heaven and Three Taverns are now offering both “Drink Here” and “To Go” tours, making them the perfect gift. Even if the recipient is short on spare time.  Sweetwater & Monday Night Brewery are two other favorites for those looking for a bigger experience.  For the wine lover, I highly recommend the newly opened City Winery in Ponce City Market, which offers various themed tasting classes and events.
  • Local Coffee – Give the gift of extra energy this holiday season via one of our local roasts.  Dancing Goats offers specialty bean sampler packs this time of year which pair nicely with one of their branded mugs or a pour-over coffee maker for a fresh cup all your own.  Pair with homemade biscotti for an extra treat!  
  • Cooking Classes – A new skill is a gift that keeps on giving!  Try Irwin Street Cooks or Cooks Warehouse, which offers classes for both young & old.  The Young Chefs Academy is another solid choice for children’s cooking classes.  Alternatively, invite guests over for a private in-home teaching experience with a caterer and you can share in the fun.    
  • Locally-made Chocolates – Sounds run of the mill. But Cacao’s new store Twigg & Co. in Inman Park allows you to build your own bar so you can give that special someone a custom treat!  Also, check out their Virginia Highlands location for the full selection of locally-made confections.  Xocolatl in Krog Street Market is another option that offers various small batch bars, drinking chocolate, and gift boxes complete with a tour & tasting at their micro-factory.
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate Jars – These layered DIY hot chocolate jars are both a great project for older kids and a great gift to give to children of all ages.  Simply layer the ingredients in mason jars, write out instructions, & tie it with a bow!  If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even find custom label templates on Pinterest.  
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Spread – Who doesn’t love Nutella!?  Or an easy protein-packed toast-breakfast during busy season?  Make this easy spread for your co-workers or neighbors instead of the usual grab-bag of cookies.  They’re sure to thank you for it! 
  • Homemade Granola – Give people a gift to keep them going – granola!  It’s healthy, unlike the usual gamut of holiday treats, is easy to make, and travels well!  I sure was happy to get a batch from my culinary school roommate last December.  Here’s her recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Granola which is perfect for making breakfast a little special.
  • Christmas Cookies – An oldie, but a goodie!  As much as I love a completely random sampling of sweets, I’ve learned that giving them all together, in one box lacking varying compartments, becomes somewhat of a mess. Instead, for easy gifting, I recommend choosing one pretty, unique, & easily stacked cookie variety and wrapping them in clear plastic treat bags tied with a pretty accent ribbon and tag.  Two easy favorites are Martha Stewart’s Rosemary Butter Cookies, which can be made in advance, sliced, & baked to order, and Bon Appetit’s Triple Ginger Cookies which I like to decorate with edible metallic sprinkles. 

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