2013 Heavy Table Local Gift Guide

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Here it is: The only local food and drink gift guide you’ll need until roughly a year from now. We’re pleased to present a roundup of some of the best-tasting, classiest-looking, cleverest, coolest goods and eats for your holiday gifting pleasure.

The Appetizers: Gifts <$10

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

As far as charming stocking stuffers go, the miniature-sized bottle of BLiS Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup ($6) from Golden Fig is way up the list — it’s compact, it sports a charmingly designed label, it says “bourbon” but can be enjoyed be all ages, and it goes great with pancakes. The slightly boozy front to the syrup’s flavor is a nice offset to its sweetness, and its multidimensional flavor profile raises the bar for things to pour on sweet breakfast foods. And if you’re committed to the bourbon maple syrup lifestyle, you can always get the big 12.7-oz. bottle for $26. -James Norton

For the Scandinavian (or non-Scandinavian) in your life, stop by Ingebretsen’s for a touch of holiday charm. Stay on the Nice List by treating your loved ones to Lingonberry Chocolate Fudge, where sweetness meets tartness, by The Sweet Swede. While keeping with Scandinavian tradition, pick up Sturdiwheat’s Limpa Sweet Rye Bread ($5.50) and Aebleskiver Dessert ($6) Mixes — authentic dishes with half the work. -Cecely Meller

Sprinkle around some Poorboy caramels ($6 / package at Bibelot). They’re rich and creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness. (Make sure to sneak one yourself, too, for a shopping job well done. They’re worth it.) -CM

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The bakers in your life will chuckle at the Minnesota-shaped cookie cutter ($1.75) — attach it to an index card with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Or, if they’re more inclined to bake a cake, pick up the table saw ($7.25), which can slice through several layers with ease. Either gift can be paired with a whimsical 2014 calendar tea towel ($8.75). All items are available at the Mill City Museum gift shop. -Jill Lewis

With few exceptions, people don’t accept Minnesota-grown shiitake mushrooms in their stockings — all the more reason to do it by springing for a box of Birch Creek dried shiitakes from Golden Fig in St. Paul ($8). Among other things, they’re great with soba, udon, or ramen, each of which is in turn great with Minnesota’s doggedly determined winter. -JN

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Wooden spoons typically aren’t gift-worthy, but these serving utensils ($7.50 each) are carved by local artists at Talisman Designs with intricate nature-inspired designs. Pick up several at the Mill City Museum gift shop (don’t forget the ultra-cute measuring spoons), along with a bottle of wood conditioner ($9) to keep them looking fresh. And with a slightly bigger budget, add a Wood from the Hood cutting board ($31 for the 8″x14″ size), made from locally reclaimed wood. -JL

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

We like that Triple Crown BBQ sauce ($8) is made locally in Northeast Minneapolis, but we love that it’s actually delicious — it’s a deft balance of tomato, garlic, vinegar, and smoky flavor and, most crucially, it’s palate-pleasing but not too sweet. You can find it at the Golden Fig, among other places. Stuff your favorite grillmaster’s stocking with one of these, please — the only sauce we think competes is Show Me Sauce from Missouri. -JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Minnesota Honey Company‘s new store at 50th and Xerxes offers dozens of varieties of local honey in all shapes, sizes, flavors, and varieties, and in permutations ranging from single-flower honey to bath products to honey candy. It’s stocking stuffer heaven for the Minnesota locavore. -JN

Small Plates: Gifts $10-25

Heavy Table Guide Guide 2013

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The displaced New Yorker in your life may feel more at home with these “Brooklynese” salt (sawlt) and pepper (peppa) shakers ($16). If you time your shopping trip to Bryn Mawr’s Cockadoodledoo Gifts right, you may find the coordinating butter (butta) dish, too. But if your recipient is a Minnesotan in exile, surprise him or her with a state-shaped basket with a locally inspired dish towel and jar of spices ($24 at I Like You). -JL

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Strawz! They’re connectable drinking strawz — er, straws — that let you sip liquid from a variety of configurations, which is important if you’re eight, or if you’re a petroleum engineer hoping to demonstrate an critical but rather basic principle of fluid dynamics. At $11 a pack, they’re a steal. Buy lots at Kitchen Window. Combine them. -JN

Ferndale Farms

Ferndale Market

Sponsored by Ferndale Market: Share local foods this holiday season!  Choose from our unique selection of delicious boxes filled with local and artisanal foods to share with friends and family and know you’re supporting independent local food producers at the same time. From breakfast to dinner and snacks between, there’s something for everybody on your list!  Order online today and we’ll take care of the shipping: www.ferndalemarketonline.com

Heavy Table Guide Guide 2013

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

There are a lot of reasons to visit Northeast’s I Like You, but gardening tools likely isn’t the most obvious one. But we fell for these brightly colored garden markers ($4 each) crafted from forks that will easily stand out among your herbs and veggies next summer. Buy several and stick them in an eye-catching herb pot ($24) that will be welcome on any kitchen counter. – JL

Locally made Abdallah Chocolate Mints ($11) aren’t single plantation or hand conched or cancer-fighting or anything like that — they’re just simple, smooth milk chocolate meltaways with a kiss of peppermint on the back. Available at the Golden Fig. -JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

With its light wood / bright color design scheme and bent-nail action element, the Areaware Bottle Opener ($14) looks like a piece of croquet equipment and contains two magnets: one to catch the falling bottle cap, and another so that it can stick to the fridge. The bent-nail aspect of the opener is a bit touchy, but it would gain style points in just about any stocking. Sold at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts gift shop. -JN

Heavy Table Guide Guide 2013

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The national obsession with jars doesn’t seem to be fading away any time soon, so ride the wave with these mugs ($12) and flask ($13.50) featuring creatures from Snow White’s woodland forest. Or choose a smaller Mason jar mug nestled into a leather sleeve ($25) that can be attached to a carabiner and toted around town with ease. All available at I Like You. -JL

On the coffee front, the inspired beans put out by the good folks at Peace Coffee are a prime option for the locavore java lover: The Peace Coffee story is a stirring one, and the coffee’s reliably good. The Biking Viking blend ($15 / 1 lb. bag, pictured up top), exclusively sold at Ingebretsen’s, has a medium, smooth taste fit for any coastal raider. -JN and CM

Duluth-made Talmadge Farms Hot Green Tomato Pickles ($15, pictured two photos down) from the Golden Fig have a kick, a great depth of spice, and a phenomenal crunchiness. They’re super pickles, perfect for the super pickle freak in your life. -JN

Chocolat Celeste

Chocolat Celeste

Sponsored by Chocolat Céleste: Give the best! Chocolat Céleste is where modern culinary artistry meets traditional hand craftmanship. Our products feature premium extra-fine chocolate couverture, fresh local dairy cream, and butter. These are beautiful visual creations, created one at a time. Visit us online: www.chocolatceleste.com

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

There’s no point in messing around when it comes to cocktails. Cocktails are hospitality; they are solidarity; they are civilization. With that perspective, the Golden Fig’s $16 price tag for Mess Hall Cocktail Cherries (above right) from Chicago makes sense. Demerara sugar, bourbon, and spices make these things addictive, which is a shame because they’re best used as the literal and figurative cherry on the sundae of a great cocktail — one at a time, unless it’s New Year’s Eve. -JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The BPA-free Lékué ice cube tray ($19) can’t be pronounced, but it can be relied upon to pump out wave after wave of big, legitimately cubic cubes perfect for cocktails and good brown liquor. The cubes are large enough that they can contain goodies (a raspberry, a cranberry, a penny) and they pop easily out of the tray. Sold at Kitchen Window. -JN

Add a touch of contemporary whimsy to any kitchen with Milkhaus Design’s polka dot tea towels ($22 each). These screen-printed linens are not only handmade, but also eco-friendly. Made in Madison, WI. Found at Forage Modern Workshop. -CM

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

We make no secret about our fondness for Andy Sturdevant around here, so you’re right to view our exhortation to buy his new book, Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow ($22), at the MIA, with trepidation. But the fact is that Sturdevant’s dryly witty writing and spare, charming illustrations combine to make an irresistible riptide of droll entertainment that any lover of humor and / or cultural history will enjoy struggling helplessly against. -JN

secret-atlas-325The Heavy Table’s Secret Atlas of North Coast Food ($25) tells tales of food and drink from Minneapolis to Madison to Duluth to Iowa and beyond. Assembled by a talented team of writers, designers, illustrators, and cartographers, the book is a collection of maps, comics, essays, illustrations, and reviews — a treasure trove of food lore that’s a perfect gift for anyone into Upper Midwestern food or for Minnesotans and Wisconsinites far from home who might like a taste of the homeland. Find it online or at stores including Kitchen Window, Golden Fig, and Common Good Books. -JN

Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee’s Snowshoe Duo of mug and coffee ($25) is just right for the season: Snowshoe Brew is the company’s annual winter coffee, evoking the warm savory smells of the holiday kitchen. And the sweet mug that comes as part of the set is the figurative icing on the cake. -JN

Laser-cut cherrywood MoonSpoons (top) do it all: mix salads ($40), serve small loaves of bread ($34) or teeny-tiny loaves of bread ($24), stir honey ($12)… well, they do those four things, at any rate, and they look dang fancy in the process. Available at the MIA. -JN

Lift Bridge Brewery

Lift Bridge Brewery

Sponsored by Lift Bridge Brewery: Stop by Lift Bridge Brewery’s taproom in Stillwater and buy some swag for that special someone and a growler to share for the holidays. When the growler is empty you can sign up for a free tour of the brewery online at www.liftbridgebrewery.com and get that growler refilled.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The locally made Talisman Designs Explore Minnesota UFF-D4H beechwood cheese board and serving tray ($25) is no Provence Platter (see bottom), but that’s sort of the charm of it. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you’re eating decent blue cheese off a license plate. -JN

MIA

MIA

Rooftop Gold Honey from the MIA ($14 for an 8-oz. jar; $18 for a 12-oz. jar) has one of the funkiest stories of anything on our list. This honey was brought into being with the help of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad using MIA rooftop space and flowers from the Whittier neighborhood. It’s light, clean, bright, and almost citrus-kissed in flavor, great for toast or granola. -JN

Festive Entrees: Gifts $25-50

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Cutting Slabs ($28 small, $46 medium) by woodcrafter John Danicic have all the class of his mixed-wood Stirsby stirring utensils and sport a classy-yet-low key inlayed look that make them as Spartanly attractive as they are functional. For sale at the Golden Fig. –JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table and handout

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table and handout

For most Minnesotans, it’s never too early to start daydreaming about warmer weather and seasonal fare. Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley ($30 at Ingebretsen’s) and The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen ($35 at Patina) provide hometown pride paired with exquisite recipes. -CM

Heavy Table Guide Guide 2013

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

These lidded bowls ($32 each) from Circa Ceramics can hold sugar, butter, or candy, and look best in groups. Pick up two or three in the classic primary colors. The coordinating spoon rest ($25) is a no-brainer add-on. For a more delicate touch, choose these sweet bee-themed measuring cups ($26), which make you think you’re whipping up elegant tea cakes, even if you’re just mixing together pancake batter. All are available at the Mill City Museum gift shop. -JL

Birchwood Cafe

Birchwood Cafe

Sponsored by Birchwood Cafe: Give the locavores on your list something to look forward to in 2014! After the success of its Kickstarter campaign last month, the Birchwood Cafe is poised to reopen its expanded and remodeled sustainable food eatery in the Seward neighborhood next spring. These gift cards (available in $25, $50, or $100 amounts) will give your local food lover the chance to be among the first to experience the new cafe, where its delicious, made-from-scratch food is sourced almost entirely from organic farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Plus, the cafe will give you something in return: for every $100 you spend on gift cards, you’ll get a $20 gift certificate to use in January. Cards are available online here, in person at the cafe, or by phone 612.722.4474. Here’s to eating Good Real Food in the New Year!

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Yarai Mixing Pitcher and Hawthorne Strainer ($33) relies on a grip-enhancing weave pattern, wide spout, and two-cocktail capacity to work its way into your heart as your best bartending buddy. It’s got a pleasant heft to it and could come in handy in either a mixology contest or a bar brawl. -JN

Northern Clay Center

Northern Clay Center

We’re big fans of the Northern Clay Center, which is part art gallery, part teaching space, part retail shop. It offers visitors a chance to browse a ridiculously varied array of pottery handmade by a variety of artists both local and national. Theme, price, and practicality varies from piece to piece, but we’ve always managed to find a one-of-a-kind piece to impress, and we love that NCC’s stuff sits so squarely at the intersection of “art” and “craft” and “decorative” and “useful.”  -JN

Heavy Table Guide Guide 2013

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Local ceramics artist Joanna Buyert of Fringe and Fettle crafts earthy, softly hued pieces that are both functional and display-worthy. The berry bowl / strainer ($24) cleans up a snack for one, while the juicer ($38) can squeeze enough OJ for a brunch party. Though not made by Buyert, the garlic crusher bowl ($18) seems at home with the other pieces. Rub some garlic along the spiked bowl and top with olive oil for a dinner-party dipper. Sold at I Like You. -JL

Heavy Table Guide Guide 2013

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Soft, rollable placemats from St. Paul-based Seedling Design contain a set of wooden utensils ($30), a perfect gift for the picnic enthusiast, elegant camper, or the rare person who takes a few minutes away from his or her keyboard for a civilized meal. Pick up the mats in various colorful prints at I Like You. -JL

If you’re one of the many champing at the bit to jump into the enchanting world of fermented foods, Kitchen Window has you covered on both the physical and intellectual ends of the game, with equipment (like this charming 5-liter earthenware crock ($110, pictured up top) and teaching tools like the boldly illustrated and supremely informative Mastering Fermentation ($30) by Mary Karlin. –JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

After enjoying a Maple Grilled Cheese at Parka, mosey on over to Forage Modern Workshop where domestic meets industrial. The wooden salt and pepper shakers by Reed Wilson Design ($40) make for the perfect structured stocking stuffers; while Stak Ceramics’ sugar and creamer set ($40) with matching spout bottle ($38) will add a touch of sophisticated modernism to any home. -CM    

Tasting Menu with Wine Pairing: Gifts $50 and Over

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The photographic still lifes of Sharon Core’s Early American ($50) are based upon well-known painted still lifes by Raphaelle Peale from the early 1880s, and they contain a charged vitality and gifted eye for composition. These photos are both gorgeous and far from airbrushed perfection — the food of this book bears the bruises and marks of the real deal. It also looks good enough to eat. Sold at the MIA gift shop. -JN

Heavy Table Guide Guide 2013

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Fans of vintage colored glass will find a treasure trove of goodies at Cockadoodledoo Gifts. These green nesting bowls ($70) look like they come from Mad Men’s early years but wouldn’t be out of place in a modern kitchen. The striking cake stands are sold separately but so tempting to group — you’re limited only by your budget (blue stand $50, pink stand $65, white stand $80). -JL

For a unique yuletide greeting, pick up the origami-inspired aluminum bowl by Tandem Made ($85) at Forage Modern Workshop. Light in weight and undeniably sleek, this will be a pleasant surprise to any recipient this holiday season. -CM

The Sample Room

The Sample Room

Sponsored by The Sample Room: “Bringing great food to Mpls.”
– Anthony Bourdain, CNN’s Parts Unknown host, chef, and bestselling author
Buy $100 in gift cards, receive $126
lunch, dinner, cocktails daily • sat & sun brunch
www.The-Sample-Room.com

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

This American-made Caskata serving platter ($60) and bowl ($40) sport an eye-catching, sleek-n-shiny fish motif and wouldn’t be out of place in the floating palace of an elven king. Available at the MIA.. -JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Minneapolis owned Escali company makes scales, including the app-tethered SmartConnect Kitchen Scale ($75), which syncs up your food-weighing needs with your nutrition analysis / food journaling / volume measuring / unit converting needs. It’s smart, it’s now, it’s more scale-related power than most mortals can comfortably deal with. Can you handle the Escali SmartConnect Kitchen Scale? -JN

Ready to join the third wave coffee revolution? Kitchen Window has an array of options — to be honest, an absurdly broad array of options — including the well-regarded Hario pour-over system ($65 for the kettle; $35 for the carafe; $25 for the glass cone). -JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Sleek-looking Lunares cheeseboards ($90) are made from sand-cast aluminum, which gives them a pleasant heft and makes them capable of withstanding oven temperatures (up to 350 degrees). This means that brie, juusto, and anything else you care to throw on them can be brought up to toasty warm temperature before serving. Plus they look sleek and modern. Sold at the MIA. -JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Wisconsin-made cast iron pans from the American Skillet Company ($125) let you take your love of local food to an almost excruciatingly tangible level — not only are they made by a Madison-based artist, you can get them in either Minnesota- or Wisconsin-shaped incarnations. The company sent us a couple to try out, and we very much enjoyed them. They’ve got a pioneer-era heft and the gingerbread we baked in them came out beautifully. Plus, what can we say, we’re suckers for maps. As an added bonus: Check out with the American Skillet Company online before Dec. 20 with the promo code IRONTABLE and take 20 percent off the cost of your order! -JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

We also fell in love with the beautiful craftsmanship and classic design of Faribault Woolen Mill Co.’s blanket ($170) at Bibelot — ideal for a picnic outdoors adorned with fresh, local eats. (It’s never too early to dream, right?). -CM

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

American oak. Iron handles forged in a Brooklyn foundry. Massive size. Such are the constituent elements of this $420, heavier-than-you’d-expect barrel top-based serving platter by Provence Platters, available at the MIA. This would serve as a noble foundation for a Midwestern cheese and meat board, or as a serving platter for grilled steaks. -JN

Thanks to the following stores and organizations for their assistance in compiling this year’s gift guide: Golden Fig, Kitchen Window, Bibelot, Forage Modern Workshop, Patina, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Mill City Museum, I Like You, Cockadoodledoo Gifts, and Ingebretsen’s.

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The Heavy Table team of writers, editors, and photographers has been documenting food and drink in the Upper Midwest since 2009.

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