Raleigh, N.C. — Want to shop local for holiday gifts this year, but not sure where to start? Nicole Bogas, founder of NC food gift box company NC Made, shares her favorite local food gift ideas from around the Triangle.
Bitters and Mixers for Aspiring Barkeeps
For the tippler on your list, consider gifting one of the many great cocktail ingredients available in the Triangle. Raleigh’s Crude offers gift boxes for the holidays, featuring 1-ounce bottles of their Good Food Award-winning bitters. Alley Twenty Six has bottled their unique tonic mix, flavored with cinchona bark and lemongrass, and made it available online or at their gorgeous bar in downtown Durham. Pick up a bottle of Durham Distillery’s Conniption Gin at your local ABC store for a “totally Durham” gin and tonic.
Gift Card to Ashley Christensen Restaurants
Let your recipient splurge with a gift card to renowned restaurateur Ashley Christensen’s latest venture, Death & Taxes. The James Beard award-winner’s newest establishment focuses on food cooked over a huge, custom-built wood-fired grill, such as porterhouse steak, whole North Carolina fish, and Southern-influenced side dishes. Housed in an early 20th century bank in downtown Raleigh and with local touches like ash-glazed serving dishes from Alamance County ceramics studio, Haand, this gift is sure to impress any food lover. Gift cards are also available to Christensen’s more modest eateries, Beasley’s Chicken & Honey, Chuck’s Burgers, Joule and her flagship restaurant, Poole’s Diner.
Here in the Triangle, we’re lucky to have lots of delicious options for the sweet-toothed folks on your list. Special for the season, Raleigh’s Videri Chocolate Factory is offering a Holiday Chocolate Pack featuring chocolate-covered espresso beans, a sea salt chocolate bar, a bag of their cocoa mix, and a Videri ceramic mug. Or consider the fine-quality, nicely-packaged peppermint bark from The Apothecary’s Kitchen. Handcrafted in Raleigh, it has been featured in Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. Available in charming Carolina-blue boxes, Chapel Hill Toffee is a world-class confection of buttery toffee enrobed in chocolate and sprinkled with pecans for a Southern twist. Find a box for your candy lover at specialty food retailers across the Triangle.
NC Made Artisanal Food Gift Boxes
When you want to support local food but don’t have much time to shop, consider NC Made’s handsomely-packaged gift boxes featuring small-batch, handcrafted North Carolina foods. Choose from themed collections like the Pine State Snack Box (in three sizes) featuring sweet and salty snackables like North Carolina-made cheese straws and chocolate, as well as the North Carolina Beer Gift Box, including specialty items made with North Carolina craft beer. Or go for one of their new Gift Crates, featuring locally-made, reusable wooden crates filled with North Carolina favorites like Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Butter, Farmer’s Daughter Brand Preserves, and much more. Order by Dec. 20 at noon to ensure Christmas delivery.
New Cookbooks Written by Triangle Authors
Any gourmand would be pleased to open one of these gorgeously-photographed new cookbooks from Triangle-area authors. Chapel Hill’s Nancie McDermott celebrates the South’s contributions to soups and stews with the aptly named book, Southern Soups & Stews. Featuring recipes from renowned area cooks like Sheri Castle, Bill Smith, and Ken and Karen Barker, it will be a welcome addition to any library this winter. Did you know the Triangle is home to one of the foremost experts on Latin cuisine in the country? Cary author Sandra Gutierrez’s newest cookbook, Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America is a graphic primer on the history and techniques of empanadas. Including recipes like Chorizo and Potato Pies with Tomatillo Salsa and Fried Cassava and Cheese Turnovers, this book will delight the adventurous foodie on your list.
Pretty Dishes for Serving
Every home cook needs attractive serving pieces to display their hard-won kitchen masterpieces. Consider locally-made pottery and ceramics. Alamance County-based Haand has earned a national reputation for their “modern farmhouse” porcelain dishware. Don’t miss their sleek selection of serving bowls and platters in bold colors. Find Durham’s The Lulu Bird’s functional pottery at area boutiques, like their uniquely glazed coffee mugs and pour-over sets. Raleigh’s Arrow + Sage creates handbuilt ceramics that will shine in any kitchen, like gold-flecked mugs, dessert plates, and carafes.
Slingshot Coffee Box
Slingshot’s famous iced coffee is now available in a handsome refrigerated box which will look great in the fridge. Including eight servings, your loved one can have Slingshot Coffee’s tasty brew on tap always. Find it at Triangle area stores like Parker & Otis in Durham and State of Beer in Raleigh.
The Great NC Beer Map
The folks behind The Great NC BBQ Map have released their newest guide -- a tribute to North Carolina craft beer. Charting the state’s 180 craft breweries and 43 craft beer festivals, the beautifully-designed Great NC Beer Map will be the perfect glove box companion for any beer lover on your holiday shopping list. Find it at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, Deco in Raleigh and other Triangle-area locations.
The Produce Box Gift Certificate
Give the gift of local produce, delivered directly to your recipient’s door, with a gift certificate from Raleigh’s The Produce Box. Recipients can choose an assortment of conventional or organic and “most popular” or “adventurous” local produce, or they can compile their own box from the company’s list of what’s currently in season. From seasonal fruits and veggies to locally made specialty foods like cheese, butter, and bacon, The Produce Box will make a nice treat for any locavore.
Tin Roof Teas Gift Samplers
Run by the Hinson Family out of their Cameron Village storefront, Tin Roof Teas carries one of the largest selections of fresh, premium teas in the country. How lucky we are to have them in Raleigh! Head to their store to assemble your own gift collection of teas, tea accessories, and honey, or check out their online offering of gift samplers at tinroofteas.com.
Fresh-Baked Treats and Take-Alongs
Finally, don’t go empty-handed to all those holiday celebrations you’re attending! Pre-order baked goods from the special holiday menus at Durham’s Scratch Baking or Raleigh’s Yellow Dog Bread Company. Or pick up locally-grown ingredients to make your own contributions from area farmers’ markets that are hosting specially-scheduled holiday markets, like the Durham Farmers’ Market on Dec. 23 and the Carrboro Farmers’ Market on Dec. 22.