Friday, November 22, 2013

Christmas Gifts: 2013 edition

I was going to wait another week or so for this particular post, but one of my gift suggestions has free shipping through the weekend.  Usually everyone on my list will get at least one food oriented gift a year.  I think food gifts are perfect for everyone, especially those who are difficult to shop for.  I like to find unique products that someone (like my parents) wouldn't buy for themselves on a regular basis.

Alright, lets get to the goodies.

1.  The Southern Vegetarian--You probably know my love of The Chubby Vegetarian's blog by now.  earlier this year Justin Fox Burks released his first cookbook, and it is amazing.  Sure it is vegetarian, but there are some simply fantastic recipes in here that are sure to please.

2.  Locally Roasted Coffee--This has been a growing trend over the last few years.  Micro-roasters have been popping up as fast as micro-breweries.  Importing fresh coffee berries and roasting them on site can produce some truly terrible coffee.  But it can also produce coffee that is probably magic.  The Nashville area is clogging up with some really good roasters.  I happen to live about a mile from Just Love, which is one of the best within an hour of me.

3.  Micro-brews, spirits, and local vineyards--Speaking of micro-breweries....  Nashville also has some incredible beer:  Blackstone, Yazoo, Fat-bottom, Mayday.  Mayday is actually in Murfreesboro, a few miles from me.  If you pick up a growler of Evil Octopus (a black-BLACK!-IPA), you will not be disappointed.  Micro-stills are also poking their heads through the woodwork.  Middle Tennessee clearly is home to Jack Daniels, but we also have Short Mountain (my favorite moonshine) and Corsair Distillery.  And let's not leave out Arrington Vineyards.  However, I suggest finding business local to you... I mean, unless you want to sample the awesomeness of Middle Tennessee (and we are pretty freaking awesome.)

4.  Oils and Vinegars--Upscale oil and vinegar "taprooms" are making appearances in many high end shopping centers.  I am a big fan of Seasons.  Every single oil and vinegar I tried (and I tried, like, 30) was delicious.  The price per bottle may seem steep, but their premium products are worth every penny.  And they have recently introduced gift boxes!  Through Sunday (Nov 24) , they are offering free shipping on orders over $30.

5.  Cackalacky--This is a North Carolina original.  I met these guys at the bluegrass convention in Raleigh in September.  This is hands down the best hot sauce I have tried this year.  Maybe one of the best I've ever had.  It isn't aggressively spicy, and it has a thicker consistency than many hot sauces which makes it perfect for dousing a chicken breast or piece of fish straight from the bottle.  They have also started making a Cheerwine BBQ sauce that I'm sure is stupidly tasty.

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