ST. LOUIS — If you still have names on your gifting list to cross off this holiday season, there’s a chance you still just don’t know what to buy. That’s where the Abby Eats St. Louis Winter Treat Guide comes in!
Whether you’re searching for that perfect something for that someone who has everything, want to have some extra goodies on-hand for neighbors or socially-distanced visitors, need an extra special reward for your mailman in 2020 - or you’re just ready to treat yourself to something tasty - we have you covered. Listed here are some of Dori and Abby’s favorite local selections for the foodie in all of us.
Editor's note: this is not advertising. Neither the writers nor 5 On Your Side were compensated in any way for our selections nor will we be for resulting sales or clicks on the links below. Pricing and availability were, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of publication. All subject to change at the vendor’s discretion.
Make sure to listen to Abby and Dori chat about these selections and other food-friendly ideas for your shopping trip on the latest episode of the Abby Eats St. Louis Podcast.
GIFT BASKETS AND BUNDLES
They’re not just for trivia night silent auctions. This holiday season, gift baskets are a popular option for giving a variety of goodies supporting local businesses -without having to think too hard about it.
An order from Knead Bakehouse ($40-$150 or build-your-own) can include their bread and pastries, as well as items from local makers and companies like Big Heart Tea Company. Stop in to Parker’s Table to peruse their premade options ($50-$150 or build-your-own), which range from “Office Party” to “Beer Nerd” curations, or their folks can help you make one custom for the recipient. Bonus: both of these options will deliver locally.
If you’re buying for someone who doesn’t want to just eat like an epicurean but truly live like a chef, give them a peek inside the shopping list of one of the podcast’s favorite foodies. “Chef Rob’s Favorite St. Louis Things” gift box ($150) is a bit of a splurge but includes what you need for some Rob Connelly approved hygge. The set includes items from 10 local businesses, including non-food items like hand soap, a local CD, and Pulitzer Arts gift cards.
Since the holidays will come and go but #stayinghomeszn will last awhile, here’s something that will tell your favorite millennial you truly speak their love language A DIY charcuterie set from Volpi ($35-$100) will include all the fixings like breads, cheeses, and local deli melt-in-your-mouth deli meats.
For the person who’s really built up their cooking muscles during quarantine, help them expand their culinary horizons without leaving the house: cooking bundles from Global Foods (about $30) are internationally inspired but hand-selected by local chefs, like Lauren Nalic from Balkan Treat Box and Qui Tran of Mai Lee and Nudo House. The bundles include some of their favorite provisions from the aisles of the international grocer, plus recipes to put them to use.
Whether you have little sweeties to keep entertained during the holiday break - or a big sweet tooth to satisfy - a cupcake making kit from Sweetology (about $45) will make your pandemic baking more fun. These kits are perfect for kids because they include a plethora of sprinkles--and the cupcakes come already baked, so that’s a win for short attention spans.
Turns out you can celebrate responsibly and support local simultaneously: cheers to that.
Unsure if your recipient is an IPA gal or more into stouts? A holiday “mystery mix case” from Schlafly ($50) of 24 brews is like an advent calendar or two great 12-packs. This is a great option for a peer lover who wants to sample some wintry favorites and some new stuff like Boomerang.
If you’re looking for bottles to have on-hand to deliver to parents in your pod, or celebrate the end of a semester of virtual learning, check out the whiskeys from Switchgrass Spirits ($18-$33), a company in the Metro East that distills it right and knows how to design a gorgeous label.
Speaking of gorgeous, a bottle of Big O Ginger Liqueur (about $30) won’t just look good on your bar-cart: you’ll wonder how you ever lived without the versatile and flavorful spirit that’s made by a St. Louis family.
Several bottles of alcohol, as well as mixers and garnish—are included in each of the prepackaged cocktail kits from Intoxicology ($60-$150). They are taking the place in some ways of the cocktail classes they usually teach at the store. There’s a little something for every type of drinker, from the Bloody Mary kit to original cocktails with several different spirits. As a bonus, they often include elements from other local businesses, like Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions, Sump Coffee, and Kakao chocolate.
For someone who wants to get creative but keep it simple, consider the handmade and natural mixers and fruit shrubs by Heirloom Bottling Company ($15 for a bottle, gift sets available). From Blueberry Sage to Forest Fig and Vanilla, they have all sorts of different flavors to make you feel like you’re a lot fancier than you are.
Rather have someone else do the work? We get it. The cocktail kits from Filthy Animal, the CWE holiday popup bar at Lazy Tiger, have a shelf-life of 7 days. That means this could be a great idea for something to bring to your socially distanced holiday gathering and/or drop off for whoever coordinated the Zoom ugly sweater party. You can also get glassware included!
The stuff in your stocking doesn’t have to be a throwaway. How about filling it with ice cream without making a giant mess everywhere? Lions Choice is selling their wooden tokens redeemable for ice cream cones (4 for $1) when the weather is better.
Trying to stick with veggies instead? Tough break. Smother anything with the Rabid Rub from Devil’s Breath Chili Company ($4) to make it spicier, flavorful, and much more delicious.
Hot chocolate bombs may or may not be a trend that’s here to stay but while they’re hot, we’re all in. They make drinking hot cocoa a total experience because of the way they sink down and then explode into chocolatey goodness in your mug. You can traditional or peppermint at Clementine's. Options also include “naughty,” aka boozy, options like chocolate cherry bomb with cherry vodka and the boozy brunch bomb with amaretto and Irish Cream. ($10 for nice, $12 for naughty.)
Having a hard time deciding between chocolate and jewelry? The answer is obviously both: the pieces at Bijoux Chocolates literally look more like jewelry, and they taste even sweeter.
How’s your Elf on the Shelf game been this year? If he’s out of quarantine, maybe he’ll bring by some “Elf Dust” from Olde Towne Spice Shoppe on St. Charles Main Street ($7). It’s chocolatey and caramel-ly and comes in a shiny silver shaker: try it on popcorn, pancakes, or in your hot cocoa.
DIET FRIENDLY (NON-FOOD) OPTIONS
You won’t spoil any surprises leaving these options on the front porch for a quarantining friend. Help them wear their love of local food on their sleeve - or emblazoned across their chest - with a shirt from the “support local” section at Series Six. Designs feature brands like Mac’s, Syberg’s, Red Hot Ripplets, and more. All shirts are about $28 and mot go to a good cause, either a non-profit or to help support the staff of the featured restaurant.
Abby’s personal gift-buying motto: when in doubt, buy a candle. Since we’ve yet to find one that’s edible, aim for the next best thing: a candle poured into an “upcycled” bottle or jar from Twinkle Brews ($15-$20). They’re often sold at wine shops and breweries, but on the website, you can customize one by pairing your favorite beer with your favorite scent.
Cookbooks are always a beautiful gift, and these ensure you’re supporting local cooks while whipping up their recipes from home. Small Circle cookbooks ($15) are smaller, storybook style cookbooks that curate simply the top dozen or so favorite recipes of the chefs, making it easier for them to publish and for you to make (cookbooks are hard work!). Start your library with the first two “issues,” featuring Chef Ben Grupe of Tempus and Tara and Michael Gallina of Vicia and Winslow’s Home.
Go back and listen to our episode on Filipino food while whipping up a recipe from Malou Nivera’s “Connecting the Pots” ($30). It’s her modern take on not just the food of her home country but what it’s been like cooking it in all of the different American cities where she’s lived, ending up in University City.
Do not forget your furry friends. Seriously, don’t: they’ve been your therapist, best friend, and work supervisor this year, so treat them accordingly. The dog treats from The Crafted Bone (about $7) use the leftover grains from local breweries to make crunchy and delicious (we’re told) dog snacks that are the next-best-thing to drinking with your pooch.
Gift cards or certificates aren’t lazy: in fact, they’re an opportunity to help local businesses make it through a tough time with the promise of good times around the table there when things are closer to normal. Buy one for yourself while you’re there!
About the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast:
The Abby Eats St. Louis podcast tells the story of St. Louis based on what’s on the table. From the hunger for local ingredients, to the booming brunch scene and the craving for creative cocktails, Abby dives into the nitty-gritty of how St. Louis grew to become the foodie town that it is.
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More from the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast:
- Holiday pop-up bars: A guide to St. Louis' spots for a cup of cheer
- Need a drink this week? Try one of these creations from a St. Louis cocktail genius
- 'One of the craziest years ever' | St. Louis restaurant goes from shutting down to winning $25,000
- From goodbyes to a good buy: South Grand restaurant gets new owner after closing