Raleigh, N.C. — Here are some of our favorite affordable gifts to impress the bakers, makers and eaters in your life. (Around the Triangle, it's easy to buy and support local shop owners. Everything on this guide can be found at an independently-owned shop in Durham, Chapel Hill or Raleigh.)
For the Revelers:
Durham's White Whale is making artisanal cocktail mixers out of exotic juices and garden-fresh herbs. Available in four flavors, White Whale mixers come packaged in gift-worthy, petite glass bottles. Each small bottle has enough mix to make eight cocktails. Find White Whale in Durham at Parker & Otis, in Chapel Hill at Southern Season and in Raleigh at NOFO.
For the Cookers:
Any one of the Savor the South cookbooks would make a great gift for someone who likes to spend time in the kitchen or appreciates all things Southern. Each book in the collection is devoted to a different Southern staple. The books treat their Southern delicacies with the reverence that they deserve. Choose from books devoted to bourbon, biscuits, buttermilk, pickles, okra and tomatoes. My favorite is Charlotte Observer food editor Kathleen Purvis' ode to pecans. Find them at The Regulator in Durham, McIntyre's Books in Pittsboro and Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.
For the Gardeners:
For those who like to keep their hands buried in dirt, I recommend one of Clyde Oak's lovingly-curated seed tins. Clyde Oak, a garden and goods shop based out of Raleigh, is encouraging folks to go back to gardening in an authentic way. In their own words, Clyde Oak "didn't set out to design gardens or sell cool products, but to celebrate the culture of growing things." Their seed tins, which contain a variety of hand-selected vegetable and plant seeds (beans, basil, parsley, peppers, lettuce, melon, cucumber, corn, carrots, jalapeño, etc) would make a great gift for the folks with green thumbs dreaming of backyard heirlooms.
Clyde Oak's hand-crafted tote bag with leather straps would also make an excellent farmer's market bag. Find Clyde Oak seed tins and other goods at the DIY pop-up shop under Motorco and at the Arrowhead Collective in Raleigh.
For the Eaters:
A two, three or four pack of Big Spoon Roasters hand-crafted, Durham-made peanut butters would make a great gift to anyone obsessed with all things edible. A special treat, Big Spoon Roasters has a wide selection of nut and almond butters in flavors to suit every palate. Pair an indulgent cocoa nib with the unexpected chai spice, or a classic peanut sea salt with the contrast of a pecan or cashew butter. You won't go wrong with any selection and you'll be supporting a small, locally-grown business. Find Big Spoon Roasters around the Triangle, including the Carrboro Farmer's Market every Saturday, Wine Authorities in Durham and Escazu Chocolates in Raleigh.
For the Drinkers:
I am a big fan of giving folks in other parts of the country a growler or six pack of a local NC brew. Fullsteam has created its lovely First Frost Winter Ale, which you can find at the brewery in Durham, the Weaver Street in Hillsborough and at other fine marts around the Triangle. Stop by the newish Mystery Brewing Tap Room to pick up a growler of their Breakfast Stout, great for a cold night. And the cool growlers at Carrboro's Steel String are a gift in and of themselves no matter which brew you choose to fill them with. For a variety of local brews and an incredible selection, Sam's Quik Shop in Durham, is, of course, the ideal stop. A wonderland of beer, if they sell it – Sam's has it.
On my list? The new Kinfolk Table book and a cool bull bottle opener from Vaguely Reminiscent.
Chris Rhyne 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 food blog Carpe Durham.