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Holiday gift ideas for local foodies

Posted December 10, 2014

— Look no further than your backyard to find gifts to impress every loved one on your list. Nicole Bogas, founder of North Carolina food gift box company, NC MADE, shares the (mostly) Triangle-based gift ideas she’ll be giving this holiday season. 

Blakemere Company’s Cream Tea in a Box
The perfect gift for a tea lover or Downton Abbey fan, Chapel Hill-based Blakemere Company uses old English recipes and Maple View Farm milk to create their luxurious clotted cream. This gift set gives you everything you need for a cream tea, including homemade scones, lemon curd, jam, and clotted cream. 

Farmer’s Daughter Seasonal Jam Club
Members of this exclusive club get first dibs on highly-sought-after, limited run batches of Farmer’s Daughter’s seasonal preserves. Jams arrive in four shipments per year, and with flavors like Good Food Award-winning Bourbon’d Figs and Rosy Strawberry Rhubarb, the Seasonal Jam Club is truly a gift that will keep giving all year long. 

Fun Food Activities
Give a gift you can do together! Consider a gift certificate for a cooking class at Whisk Carolina; January classes include knife skills, sushi rolling, Thai cooking, and cake decorating. Other ideas: a triangle brewery tour with Beltline Brew Tours or walking food tour with Taste Carolina.

Johnston County Ham
Give the gift of excellent North Carolina ham or consider featuring it at a holiday meal. Based in Smithfield, NC (no relation to the Virginia pork producer), the Brown family has cured country hams since the 1940s. Splurge a little, and gift a reserve ham, hand-selected by the curemaster after being aged in the company’s original wooden loft.

Matthew’s Chocolates
Nestled into a lovely storefront on Churton Street in Hillsborough, Matthew’s Chocolates is a hidden gem worthy of your support. They offer nonpareils, handcrafted truffles, and chocolate barks and bars in traditional and unusual flavor combinations like hazelnut crunch and spicy Thai peanut. They don’t have a website, so you’ll have to head to downtown Hillsborough where you can order a sipping chocolate or one of Matthew’s exquisite gelatos while picking up your gifts. What a shame.

McRitchie Wine Club
Winemaker Sean McRitchie makes his award-winning wines at the lovely McRitchie Winery, nestled into the foothills north of Winston Salem in Thurmond, NC. The winery has a small production but a recipient of their wine club membership will get four deliveries of three wines per year. With any luck, a bottle of two of their excellent hard cider will be included.

NC MADE Gift Boxes
NC MADE selects the finest handcrafted North Carolina foods and packages them up into handsome gift boxes. New this holiday season are the Pine State Snack Box (featuring cheese straws, pecan cookies, Videri chocolate, blister-fried peanuts, and a bottle of Slingshot’s Cascara Tea) and the Old North State Barbecue Box -- the perfect gift for a barbecue enthusiast with both eastern and Piedmont-style sauces, hushpuppy mix, and the Great NC BBQ Map. 

Savor the South Cookbooks
Each Savor the South cookbook, published by UNC Press, celebrates a traditional southern ingredient. Many books in the series were written right here in the triangle, including Pickles & Preserves by N&O food writer Andrea Weigl, Biscuits by Edible Piedmont publisher Belinda Ellis, Sweet Potatoes by Farmer’s Daughter proprietor April McGreger, and Buttermilk by food writer Debbie Moose. Gift one or the whole set.

Topo Distillery Airplane Bottles
Chapel Hill’s Topo Distillery are now selling their award-winning organic spirits in mini airplane bottles, making the perfect stocking stuffer for adults naughty and nice. Available at your local ABC store.

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