'Tis the season for holiday cheer and what brings more cheer than food-inspired gifts created right here in the Triangle. This is a guide to great gifts in Chapel Hill for those who dream of sugar plums, gingerbread houses and eating their way through the holiday season.
For the master chef:
Blue Sky Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegar - Blue Sky's fresh extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars are from select artisans around the world and make for a unique and useful gift. Choose from over 30 flavors including fig olive oil, dark chocolate balsamic, mushroom and sage olive oil and cinnamon pear balsamic. A four-pack sampler of 100ml bottles ($26) should delight anyone who loves to experiment in the kitchen.
For the meat lover/grill master:
Farmhand Foods Meat Box - Instead of that jam of the month club or a box of fruit, why not give them a box of sustainably-raised, locally-sourced meat from Farmhand Foods? The box will include three cuts of fresh pasture-raised beef and pork delivered once a month for three months. Folks can pick up their meat boxes at 3 Cups in Chapel Hill. It costs $135 for three months (larger option is available).
For the chef in training:
A locally produced cookbook - Warm their kitchens as well as their hearts with a cookbook from one of the great chefs in town. I like Seasoned in the South from Bill Smith of Crooks Corner, The Lantern's Andrea Reusing's Cooking in the Moment and Mama Dip's Kitchen by Mildrid Council. All are available at Fly Leaf, A Southern Season and The Bulls Head bookstore on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For the food lover who has everything:
Truffles - The Chocolate Door is a tiny gem of a chocolate shop on West Franklin Street filled with tasty confections. Choose from flavors like eggnog truffle, mayan (milk chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne), blackberry honey, coconut cashew curry and many more. A six pack of artisan truffles from the Chocolate Door costs between $8-$15, depending on the flavors.
For the host/hostess:
Everyone shows up with a bottle of wine; why not bring your favorite host or hostess something to be enjoyed at a later date? We love to bring a box of Chapel Hill Toffee ($7.99 a box) or a jar of Farmer Daughter's jam ($9 per jar). My favorite flavors are the spiced fig jam and 12 pepper jelly. Both the toffee and the jams are produced locally and both are wonderful. Find Chapel Hill Toffee at A Southern Season and Farmer's Daughter's Jams at 3 Cups Coffee shop.
Chris Reid is a North Carolina native with a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A copywriter by day, she pursues her love of all things edible in her spare time. She writes for Durham-based a food blog Carpe Durham.