Finding the best gifts for serious food people is no joke. You’ve got shops, catalogues, websites, and a half-dozen other ways to track down what you’re looking for, and time and money are sadly not infinite. Fortunately, you’ve got us working on your behalf. Here we present more than 100 different items for any price range, from “a little something” to “wow, I really do love you,” all with eating, drinking, and entertaining in mind and most with a serious Minnesota twist.
All capsule gift reviews written by Amy Rea and James Norton; beer and spirits capsules by Paige Latham Didora. This guide is presented by our underwriting sponsors: Afton Alps Ski & Golf, El Burrito Mercado, Crapola Granola, Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Golden Fig Fine Foods, Indeed Brewing Company, Lift Bridge Brewing, Minnesota Historical Society Press, Mississippi Market, Nordic Ware, Northern Clay Center, Running Aces, Sociable Cider Werks, Tattersall Distilling, Velvet Bees Honey Butter, Vision Wine and Spirits, The Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op, and Wisco Pop!.
The Appetizers: Gifts Under $10
Bizzy Coffee Shots | $2.50 each 2-ounce bottle | Lakewinds Co-op
A stocking stuffer that packs a punch. Brewed in St. Paul, each bottle has a double shot of organic cold brew with your choice of sweet flavors, like vanilla or caramel, or just plain black coffee.
Sweet Jules Minneapolis Pub Crawl Caramels | $4.50 for 4 caramels | France 44 Cheese Shop
Sweet Jules is based in Minnetonka and now offers caramels blended with local ales. Flavors included are Town Hall’s Gold; Surly’s Furious; Indeed’s Midnight Ryder; and Lift Bridge’s Chestnut Hill Ale. Additional ingredients include pretzels, chills, and popped quinoa, all well paired with the sweet, creamy caramels.
Sweet Pea Ricotta Dip | $6 for 7.2 ounces | France 44 Cheese Shop
Ricotta, mint, peas, basil–what a lovely, springlike dip or spread. It’s bright and fresh and would be great tossed with pasta. Serve it with crudites to lighten up your holiday table.
Chip Magnet Salsa | $6 for 16 ounces | Lakewinds Co-op
Made in Eau Claire, Wis., Chip Magnet not only has a cheeky name, it offers salsas in a range of flavors from Mildly Delicious to Garlicious to its bestseller, Cilantro Lime. While cilantro is a noticeable presence in the customer favorite, it doesn’t overwhelm the tomatoes but complements them in a mild but flavorful salsa.
Isabel Street Heat Fermented Hot Sauces | $6-$7.50 per 5-ounce bottle | Linden Hills Co-op
We’ve talked before about our love for St. Paul’s Isabel Street hot sauces, and our opinion hasn’t changed. Each hot sauce is an entity unto itself, with entirely different flavors and levels of heat from its siblings. Put out a series of these with chips for dipping, or use them for hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. There’s something for everyone here.
Belvoir Elderflower & Rose Lemonade or Ginger Beer | $6.50 for 25.4 ounces | Wedge Community Co-op
These grown-up organic sodas offer tasteful, sophisticated alternatives to regular carbonated beverages and stand alone well or can be paired up in cocktails. The Elderflower & Rose Lemonade is a gentle, sweet beverage, while the Ginger Beer offers up a punchy ginger kick. The latter would be an especially good base for a Moscow mule.
Sponsored by the Nordic Ware Factory Store: This would be a great gift for the waffle lovers in your life. This stovetop waffle iron makes beautiful Belgian-style heart-shaped waffles for special morning meals. The waffles made in this pan have extra deep pockets to capture butter, syrup, fruit, whipped cream, and more. Find more holiday gifts and ideas at the Nordic Ware Factory Store, a family-owned, American manufacturer of quality cookware, bakeware, microwave and grilling products and specialty kitchenware, now in its 71st year. The Factory Store in St. Louis Park is frequented by home cooks, chefs, and restaurant owners and hosts twice-monthly evening cooking classes. 4925 County Road 25/Highway 7, St. Louis Park; 952.924.9672.
Double Take Hot Sauces | $6.50 each 5-ounce bottle | Lakewinds Co-op
Minnesota-based Double Take Salsa produces a line of hot sauces, each marked with the encouraging phrase, “Flavor first, heat second.” But make no mistake — these are indeed hot sauces. The Ghost Pepper Pineapple has a sweetness to it, but in the end, you can’t miss the ghost pepper, while the Scotch Bonnet Mustard is searing. Perfect for the hot sauce aficionado.
Stranger Things Thunder Lizard Mug | $7 | Science Museum of Minnesota
If getting a copy of the hoodie Dustin wore in the first episode of Stranger Things’ second season isn’t enough for you, the Science Museum also has the now-beloved logo on a mug. A purple mug, of course, to match the hoodie.
Noteworthy Dive Bar Guides by William Lindeke | $7 | TCSidewalks Online Store
Join writer Bill Lindeke for a series of street-level cultural and historical tours of prominent dive bars throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul — everything from the Hexagon (in Noteworthy Dive Bars of South Minneapolis) to Porky’s (Payne and Arcade) to Dusty’s (Outer Northeast). Perfect for a fan of Minnesota folk history and/or old-fashioned drinkin’.
Antler Napkin Holders | $7 (napkins not included) | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. Fold your dinner napkins into these cheerful gold antlers, and voila, your table is immediately more gladsome.
Mama Doha’s Egyptian Jam | $8 | Lakewinds Co-op
The recipes sold under the Mama Doha come from family in Egypt and are produced in a kitchen in St. Paul. The pumpkin ginger is mildly sweet, with just a touch of ginger and lemon juice and would be delicious on a sturdy bread, especially something with grains or seeds.
Chemical Formula for Caffeine Mug | $7.50 | Science Museum of Minnesota
This will allow the fortunate giftee to come alive in the morning and feel erudite at the same time. Always good to know what’s in the cup.
Speculoos Cookies | $8 for 4.8 ounces | France 44 Cheese Shop
These cookies are so charming to look at that you might just want to leave them on display. But go ahead — try them. They’re delicate and crispy, with a mildly sweet taste that just begs to be dunked in milk, coffee, or cocoa. They’d also make a wonderful stocking stuffer.
Sponsored by Afton Alps Ski & Golf: Pictured above: the Epic Burger at Paul’s Pub, Afton Alps Ski & Golf, 6600 Peller Ave S, Hastings; 651.436.5245. A towering creation with an alpine twist on the classic bacon and cheddar burger; rooted in an American tradition and crafted to rival the glories of perfectly etched turns, exhilarating descents, and big air. Yep, you read that right. Pair it with a beer. Transform a boring day into a snow day. Give yourself permission to have fun. This is your winter … Afton Alps is your new backyard, leave the grilling to us. Keep your focus on enjoying our 300 skiable acres and 47 runs.
Animal Holiday Mug | $8 | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
There’s nothing wrong with a little cuteness at the holidays, and this series of mugs sold at the Arboretum manages to be cute in a restrained way. Each mug has a woodland creature of some sort with a cheery holiday greeting inside the mug. They’re sturdy and large enough to hold as much caffeine or hot cocoa (or hot toddy) as you need to get through December.
Jalama Valley Christmas Lima Beans | $8 for 1 pound | France 44 Cheese Shop
Produced by a third-generation family farm in California, Jalama Valley’s beans are grown without pesticides. They’re also dry-farmed, a technique that relies on the residual moisture in the ground from winter rains rather than summer irrigation — a risky proposition in drought-stricken California. But the end result is a flavorful, healthy bean that’s grown and harvested by the family farmer himself, sorted by his kids, and put into packaging designed by his wife, making it truly a family affair.
Uncle Simon’s Colombian Picante | $8 for 6 ounces | Lakewinds Co-op
The recipe is from Barranquilla, Colombia, but the picante is produced in Eden Prairie by immigrant family members who love their Uncle Simon’s dishes. The picante line includes mild, medium, and spicy. The spicy version contains habanero chiles, and they’re slow to kick in, but once they do, have some water ready. All are lively and full of flavor.
Keep the Faye Minnesota Hot Pads | $8.50 each | Linden Hills Co-op
Twin Cities artist Faye Passow created the designs for the tongue-in-cheek representations of Minnesota. A map based on hot dish? You betcha. A listing of Minnesota’s many marvels, including Paul Bunyan, Babe, and the Greyhound Museum? That’s … different.
Sponsored by Vision Wine and Spirits: Since 2006, The Bitter Truth forged the way for the re-emergence of cocktail bitters in our modern age with its range of all-natural cocktail bitters. Acting as the spice rack for your bar, The Bitter Truth Cocktail Bitters Travelers Set and Bar Packs are perfect for the home mixologist, providing varieties of classic- and modern-flavored bitters to enhance your cocktails with 2-3 dashes. To purchase, please stop by Ace Spirits at 4 Shady Oak Rd, Hopkins, MN 55343 or shop online at www.acespirits.com.
Martha’s Pimento Cheese with Jalapeños | $8.50 for 8 ounces | Lakewinds Co-op
Martha’s comes from Milwaukee and was created by a Texan transplant who came to love Wisconsin’s cheese scene but missed this classic Southern staple. This year, Martha’s specialty took a bronze medal in the Cheese-Based Spread category of the United States Championship Cheese Contest. And no wonder — the high-quality aged cheddar laced with pimentos and jalapeños is full of complex, complementary flavors. A version without jalapeños is also available.
Double Take Salsa Co. Salsas | $9 for 12 ounces | Linden Hills Co-op
Based in the Twin Cities, Double Take prides itself on salsas that focus on flavor first, heat second. That’s how we like it; heat without flavor isn’t worth the tears. But if heat isn’t your style, Double Take also has milder salsas. For a full flavor spectrum, try the Aces & Eights, a sweet corn salsa that has both sweet and spicy notes.
Nonna’s Best Antipasto | $9 for 16 ounces | Lakewinds Co-op
That’s not a stock photo on the label — that’s the mother of Nonna’s Best’s founder, and the inspiration for this Italian favorite. Made in Maple Grove, Nonna’s Best is a lovely collection of pickled vegetables, mild in spice but full of flavor. It’s great on a toasted baguette, but honestly, it’s pretty darned delicious eaten straight out of the jar.
Small Plates: Gifts $10-$25
Eden Apples | $10 for a 5 ounce bag | Golden Fig Fine Foods
These thin, crunchy dried apple slices make a surprisingly addictive addition to a holiday snack platter .They’re both sweet and tart, and they have just enough cinnamon flavor to compel constant noshing. The fact that they’re made in Eden Prairie makes them doubly punny.
Isadore Nut Co. | $10 per 4-ounce package | France 44 Cheese Shop
These flavored nuts are made by hand in small batches in Minneapolis. The Cayenne Kick is as advertised, with a wake-you-up punch that follows the crunch of the nut. The Lemon Rosemary goes more for flavor than heat. Isadore also makes sweet versions: Cinnamon Spice and Cocoa Kiss.
Sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society Press: Lake Fish: Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish by Keane Amdahl. Paperback, 256 pages, full color, 8 by 10 inches, $24.95.
“The next time some coastal dunderhead tells me that the Midwest is landlocked, I will hold up this book as sacred proof to dispel that myth. Freshwater fishing is a tradition, an institution, and a way of life around here, and this book is full of creative recipes for preparing the juiciest, most pearly-fleshed fish you will ever eat.” — Amy Thielen, author of The New Midwestern Table
Oiled Olivewood Egg Cups | $10 each | The Foundry Home Goods
The gorgeous, richly textured grain in the olive wood makes these tiny egg cups eye catching despite their small size. But they are meant to be used: Each holds one perfectly boiled egg. A perfectly sophisticated start to anyone’s morning.
Maazah Chutney | $10 for a 12 ounce jar | Lakewinds Co-op
“Maazah” means “flavor” in Farsi, and this chutney has plenty of it. It’s produced in Minneapolis by two sisters working from their mother’s no-recipe approach. The Cilantro Ginger chutney is bright and fresh, with the ginger nicely balancing the cilantro. It would work with so many things: meats, eggs, cheese, sandwiches, even pizza.
Holiday Cookie Box | $10-$16 per dozen | Cookie Cart
Don’t have time to bake? Want to give something that has a worthy cause behind it? You’re in luck. North Minneapolis’ Cookie Cart sells its cookies by the dozen in festive holiday packaging. Besides giving (or getting!) delicious, fresh cookies, you’re supporting an organization that hires, trains, and provides leadership skills to teens ages 15-18. Besides teaching great baking skills, Cookie Cart also provides customer service, financial literacy, and digital literacy skills to these teens as well. Great cookies for the present, great skills development for the future.
Jakeeno’s Pasta Sauce | $10 for a 32 ounce jar | Golden Fig Fine Foods
For more than 40 years, Jakeeno’s has been serving up pizza and pasta in South Minneapolis. Its secret is keeping things simple while always keeping an eye on flavor. Jakeeno’s makes food that’s balanced, simple, and classically Italian-American. This jar of Jakeeno’s sauce is a way to share the neighborhood with friends and family from other parts of the country, state, or even city.
Tala Sifter, Cocoa Shaker, and Recipe Box | $8-11 each | Lakewinds Co-op
These charming, retro tin boxes ($11) and sifters ($11) hearken back to an earlier time when people traded recipes on cards specially designed for that purpose and took care to properly sift their dry ingredients when baking. Here’s a connection to the past we don’t get with pre-sifted flour and recipes stored in the cloud. Also charming: a bright-red tin cocoa shaker ($8) that makes decorating holiday food and drink even more fun. You may just have to make additional tiramisu or truffles as an excuse to keep using it.
Sponsored by Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op: At Mississippi Market Co-op, Rush Creek Reserve farmstead cheese from Uplands Cheese Co. in southern Wisconsin is one of the best cheeses of the year. Rush Creek Reserve is made only in the autumn as the cows move from summer pasture to winter hay, which produces a richer milk. It is a soft ripened cheese wrapped in a strip of spruce bark that imparts a sweet, woodsy flavor. Pair it with one of the Wood from the Hood charcuterie boards for an extra special gift – available at all three Mississippi Market St. Paul locations.
Poinsettia Dishes | $11 for the bowl, $19 for the plate | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
It’s fitting that the Arboretum gift shop is selling poinsettia dishware, as most years the centerpiece of the Arboretum’s holiday display is an enormous tree made out of poinsettia plants. Put these on white or dark green table linens, and watch them light up the table.
Santa and Christmas Tree Chocolate Sculptures | $11 for Santa; $15 for trees | St. Croix Chocolate Company
The seasonal chocolate sculptures of St. Croix Chocolate Company are some of our favorite local works for art (just check out this pumpkin!). They’re highly detailed, beautifully painted (with edible colors) and made from delicious chocolate to boot. Santa and/or Christmas trees would look lovely as centerpieces and taste delicious as dessert.
Mademoiselle Miel Candy Bars | $12 each | Minneapolis Institute of Art
The St. Paul beekeeper/chocolatier Mademoiselle Miel is now offering seasonal chocolates including Dark Milk with Isadore Nut Co.’s Cayenne Kick mixed nuts, and White Chocolate with pine nuts and fresh rosemary. Don’t let the cayenne scare you off — the dark milk more than compensates for the heat and provides a lightly sweet taste. The white chocolate bar is a lovely mix of savory and sweet.
Spiced Pomegranate Syrup | $12 for 16 ounces | Golden Fig Fine Foods
Golden Fig’s house syrups have become holiday staples in many St. Paul homes, as they make excellent bases for cocktails, mocktails, punches, and simple-syrup-plus-seltzer preparations that are dead simple but festively refreshing. The Pomegranate variety is one of our favorites. It’s got black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, hibiscus, and clove, which turns a simple sweet-tart syrup into something layered and compelling.
GYST Fermentation Bar Spicy Red Kraut | $12 for 16 ounces | Lakewinds Co-op
GYST was a winner of this year’s Maker to Market program offered through Lakewinds. The Spicy Red Kraut is a clear indication of why they won: Its complex, slow-burning flavors take a few moments to fully experience. The spicy chilies are offset by the sweet dried blueberries. But make no mistake: This has a bite to it — and it’s delicious.
Sponsored by Sociable Cider Werks: Fat Bike Mulled Apple proves that cider isn’t just for summer. This warm-you-to-the-core winter seasonal is made using fresh-pressed Midwest apples, nutmeg, orange peel, cinnamon, clove, and allspice, resulting in a subtly spicy, nutty, full-bodied winter warmer that’s perfect on its own or mixed into a cocktail. Available in four-packs anywhere Sociable Cider Werks is sold.
Swedish Birch Sandwich Board | $12 | The Foundry Home Goods
The perfect single-serving tray, made of attractively-grained birch. The hole in the corner isn’t for hanging the board — although you could use it for that; instead, it’s meant to be an egg cup.
Woodland Creatures | $12 for table decorations, $14 per plate | Walker Art Center
Bring nature to your holiday with these whimsical — but not overly childish — woodland creature table decorations and mini plates from the Fishs Eddy Harper + Oldham line of designs.
Tom Bumble Peanut Butter Flake Candy Bars | $12 for 4 bars | France 44 Cheese Shop
Inside this austere box are four individually wrapped candy bars that are what a Butterfingers Bar could only hope to be. Or could be, with higher quality ingredients. These compact, dense little bars are rich, with a peanutty filling that melts in your mouth surrounded by dark chocolate. Truly candy bars for grownups.
Red Wing Stoneware Mug | $13 | Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery and Askov Finlayson
The enjoyable solidity and appearance of a stoneware mug is hard to beat, even more so when that mug is produced by Minnesota’s own Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery. The company’s online store is chock-a-block with other cookware and beverage options, too.
Maruso Thick Black Bean Soy Sauce | $13 for 14.5 ounces | Wedge Community Co-op
A Taiwanese sauce imported by a Duluth company. Made from black soy beans rather than the traditional yellow, the gluten-free Maruso soy sauce is an intriguing variation on the Asian staple. For one thing, it’s thick, with a consistency closer to ketchup. But it’s also much richer in flavor than standard soy sauces. It would certainly pair well with Asian cuisines, but it’s also got strong possibilities for other foods: use to glaze meats, add as a condiment to a sandwich, serve on steamed vegetables, or, as the Wedge staff suggested, pour it on vanilla ice cream. No, really.
Sponsored by Indeed Brewing Company: This holiday season, take your tastebuds to a fruity parallel universe with Mango Helio from Indeed Brewing Company’s Wooden Soul series of barrel-aged sour and wild beers. A variation of Heliotropic, Indeed’s Wood-Aged Brett saison, Mango Helio boasts funky flavors of ripe mango alongside bright notes of other tropical fruit. Ask for it wherever you shop for craft beer; then pop the top for a one-way ticket to holiday cheer.
SOMA Vanua, Fiji Chocolate Bar | $13 for 2.3 ounces | France 44 Cheese Shop
Canada’s SOMA Chocolate has launched a new bar with cacao grown on Vanua Levu Island, Fiji by a farmer looking to revive the cacao industry there. The name is geographic but also comes from the Fijian concept of “vanua,” which is the idea that the land is an extension of oneself. This high-quality 70 percent cacao chocolate is rich and sweet, with slightly citrus undertones.
Sacred Blossom Living Herbal Teas | $13 for 1.4 ounces | Wedge Community Co-op
Sacred Blossom Teas are concocted from herbs and flowers grown at the Mondovi, Wis. Sacred Blossom Farm or at a local partner farm. Each themed flavor comes from mixed herbs, planted and harvested in small batches. Once dried, they are paired with other natural ingredients, but never synthetic elements or flavor additives.
Constellation Mug | $13.50 | Science Museum of Minnesota
At first glance, it looks like a black mug with dots on it. But fill it with a hot beverage, and suddenly, the constellations appear. As the box notes: “Start your day with a steaming hot beverage to remind yourself of human insignificance.”
Ames Farm Varietal Honeycomb | $14.50 for 5 ounces | Ames Farm
Once you get seriously into honey, honeycomb is the next logical step. It’s gorgeously natural and can be eaten (comb and all) on toast for a locavore treat about as sophisticated as they come. Ames Farm offers a variety of honeycomb selections, and while they’re pricier than the comb you’ll find at a farmers market, they’re also more nuanced. We tasted our way through three of the Ames varieties and found the flower (and season) of the honey can make it brighter, or earthier, or more citrusy.
Duluth Coffee Company Coffee | $14-$21 for a one-pound bag | online or at the DCC Cafe in Duluth
We were initially intrigued by Duluth Coffee Company because its founder, Eric Faust (above right), was a regular contributor to the Heavy Table. We became sold on the coffee because it is thoughtfully sourced and skillfully roasted. We bring it with us when we travel and sling it around for gifts. Plus, the beans come in full one-pound bags — you’ve gotta love that.
Sponsored by Tattersall Distilling: This just in – at Tattersall Distilling’s NE Minneapolis cocktail room and distillery – custom designed 2018 Tattersall logo wear including pre-spun, soft cotton tees, hoodies, wool pompom beanies and all-new T-script cap plus more unique gift items like Tattersall tasting glasses or the throwback mini bar game set in custom canvas and leather pack. Give the gift of Nordic influenced spirits with our award winning Aquavit – or another craft spirit of your choice. We’ll have it all waiting while you sit back, order a perfectly crafted winter cocktail and see what else is in store at www.tattersalldistilling.com ALSO: download the all-new Tattersall app now at Apple’s App Store: find new twists on classics, seasonal favorites and search any recipe by spirit, level of difficulty or occasions like cabin, holiday, valentines and more.
Hot Green Tomato Pickles from Talmadge Farms | $15 for a 32 ounce jar | Golden Fig Fine Foods
Expand the mind of your favorite pickle lover with a big jar of these crisp, spicy pickles. They’re perfect for sandwiches or burgers and made in Duluth by Talmadge Farms. These are some of the best, boldest pickles we’ve tried, and they’ve redeemed the green tomato as a culinary choice for us.
Smoked Fish | $15 and up | Northern Waters Smokehaus
There may be no food more emblematic of this part of the world than smoked fish, and there may be no one smoking it more beautifully than the team at Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth. The company’s website offers everything from smoked lake trout from Lake Superior to smoked salmon pate, so dig in.
Brew It Yourself Root Beer | $17 | Science Museum of Minnesota
Possibly the easiest way to get a child interested in science: Help them brew their own root beer. This small kit contains the fundamentals for brewing two gallons of the perennial favorite: root beer extract, brewer’s yeast, and a funnel. Also included are easy-to-follow instructions and friendly, scientific explanations of how this all works.
Belle de Sucre | $18 for stars, $20 for hearts | Minneapolis Institute of Art
These adorable shaped pieces of sugar come from France, and what a lovely addition they would make to after-dinner coffee or tea service or as a charming little hostess gift for holiday soirees.
B&E’s Trees Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup | $18 for 9 ounces | Linden Hills Co-op
Based in Wisconsin, B&E’s Trees takes maple syrup a step further and ages it in white oak barrels that have previously been used to age Bourbon. The result is a deeper flavor with a hint of the charred oak, something even more luxurious than maple syrup already is.
Winter Break Blend by Bootstrap Coffee Roasters | $19 for a 12 ounce bag | Golden Fig Fine Foods
This St. Paul-roasted holiday coffee is everything you’d hope for: roasty, nutty, chocolaty, and as comforting as a hug from a properly credentialed department store Santa Claus. This blend is made for stuffing stockings.
Sponsored by the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op: Jewell Hollow Cutting Boards— $29.99. One of Jewell Hollow’s greatest pleasures is creating unique, beautiful cutting boards that are handmade and sourced from over 95 percent local woods. The Wedge & Linden Hills Co-op has worked for over 40 years to support small farmers, organic producers, and local artisans like Jewell Hollow. To find more local gifts for your holiday giving, visit us during our 12 Days of Local celebration, December 13 through 24, at the Wedge at 2105 Lyndale Ave S and at the Linden Hills Co-op at 3815 Sunnyside Ave.
Cook’s Illustrated Kitchen Smarts | $20 | Common Good Books
Not a cookbook, but an excellent companion that deserves a spot on any kitchen shelf. Cook’s Illustrated has long been known for exploring the science behind cooking, and this book is a mini encyclopedia broken into five parts: Kitchen Mythbusters, Kitchen Substitutions, Kitchen Confidence, Kitchen Science, and Kitchen Speak. The perfect gift for a cook at any level.
S is for sri lankan | $20 | Common Good Books
This compact volume offers 50 recipes representing contemporary Sri Lankan cuisine, including numerous curries (sweet and sour fish, black pork), dahl fritters, lentil and tamarind stew, and kiri toffee. Recipes are nicely organized, and the book is packed with photos of not only the finished foods, but of Sri Lankan life.
Savory Sweet: Simple Preserves from a Northern Kitchen | $20.25 | University of Minnesota Press
Few books have changed how we cook the way Savory Sweet has. After a meal (and long conversation) with the authors, we found ourselves fully sold on the idea of making small batches of tart, flavorful, exotic, and wonderful freezer preserves, and we haven’t looked back.
Cattani Olivewood Balsamic | $23 for 8.5 ounces | France 44 Cheese Shop
Made in Italy, Cattani balsamic vinegar is aged in oak barrels for 8 years, then finished in olive wood. The resulting vinegar has both sweet and earthy notes with a delicate finish.
Painted Bowl and Tumbler | $24 for a bowl, $18 for a tumbler | Minneapolis Institute of Art
An eye-catching set of these painted bowls and tumblers would make a holiday table sing, or fill the bowls with natural elements (pine cones, cedar branches) to make a striking piece of holiday decor.
Dibbern Glass Drinkware | $24-$26 each, depending on style/size | The Foundry Home Goods
These beautiful glasses are mouth-blown and hand made in Europe. They strike a pleasing balance between being nicely weighted at the base and having slim walls to keep the glasses from becoming too heavy. The subtle hues and shapings work with beverages of any color.
A SPIRITED HOLIDAY: LOCALLY MADE BEER, CIDER, AND LIQUOR
What’s the ideal gift for that person who has everything? Drinks, of course. Whether the goal is simple enjoyment or appealing to an expert, giving a festive libation can go a long way.
Rich and complex winter beers are a great place to start. The season has traditionally played host to stouts, dopplebocks, and Barleywines — surefire gifts for both craft beer lovers and party hosts. The just-released Imperial Russian Stout from Summit Brewing makes a great impression on out-of-towners and locals alike with intense dark chocolate and earthy notes and a robust personality. Brand new U.K. hops, Minstrel and Olicana, abbreviate the potential sweetness, and make it “shockingly drinkable,” according to brewmaster Damian McConn. At 10.5 percent ABV, a four-pack of 12 ounce bottles will go a long way and is best enjoyed fresh.
Offer the imperial stout collector some variety with Steel Toe Brewing’s Wee Heavy scotch ale. The rich biscuit and toffee sweetness in this traditional U.K. style make it perfect for sipping on a cold night ($10 for 750 milliliters). Pro tip: If possible, buy bottles at the brewery, where there are often a few different 750ml bottles quietly for sale in December. Masterful blending and years of experience have brought Lift Bridge Brewing to the latest iteration of Commander Barleywine, which offers flavors similar to a Scotch ale, but with more dark-fruit notes. Commander’s annual release is a real event for those who cellar bottles of the 12+ percent bourbon-barrel-aged beer for years ($17 for 22 ounces).
Finally, in the dark and spirited category, Surly Brewing Company recently released its anniversary old ale that has been aged in rum casks for one year. The classic British style was given a Southern American twist with the addition of sassafras, and the barrel-aging has accentuated the vanilla and toffee notes. Barrel-Aged Ten ($20 for 750 milliliters) is perfect for the Surly fanatic who also appreciates spirits.
Sponsored by Velvet Bees Honey Butter: The smooth texture and addictive taste of this Minnesota-made treat comes from just five simple ingredients and a unique, handcrafted cooking process. This magical golden spread has a delicate flavor that will perfectly drip, drizzle, and smear on your favorite culinary concoctions this holiday season. Velvet Bees Honey Butter needs to be refrigerated, so you’ll find it rubbing labels with the fancy cheeses and imported delicacies at specialty markets and local grocers like Kowalski’s, Surdyk’s, Lunds & Byerly’s, Whole Foods, and Hy-Vee. ~ New year, new look, same goodness! Watch for the redesigned Velvet Bees Honey Butter coming in 2018. Your taste buds will thank you!
Fruited and funky beers make wonderful gifts, too, as many of them stand up to cellaring, if your beer friend is the type to wait for that perfect uncorking moment. The wise minds behind Fair State have crafted the perfect sour package, complete with glassware. The 2017 Sour Beer Gift Pack contains two 750 milliliter bottles and a special glass. Lactobac is a fan-favorite blonde sour made with a mixed culture that maintains its bready malt flavor. Time Debt is a complex bourbon-and rye-barrel-fermented dark sour with a strong whiskey aroma and a bitter cocoa counterpoint. The smoke competes with the liquor background, and each sip has a sustained charred-wood presence ($32).
The addition of plums in the Electrik Empress, the latest in Schell’s legendary line of Noble Star beers, gives this corked bottle a festive feel. Though it’s not exactly figgy pudding, the stone fruit plays with the wood and the funk of fermentation typical of the Berliner weisse style ($17 for 750 millilliters). This effervescent bottle will work perfectly with duck and cranberry sauce or even au gratin potatoes.
For a stocking-stuffer-sized bottle, Indeed Brewing’s growing Wooden Soul series offers a few options. The original beer in the series, Heliotropic, a Brettanomyces-fermented saison in oak barrels, saw recent renewed interest when mangoes were added to the inaugural brew in November. Look for 375 milliliter bottles ($8) of the farmhouse-funky original and mango at Elevated Beer Wine & Spirits.
Fulton’s Culture Project of mixed culture fermentation beers has developed a cult following, and the brewery just released its third edition of the series: a barrel-fermented Brett IPA called Tanager.
Gifting hoppy beer takes some careful planning, as freshness is key to anything on the bitter side of the spectrum. The sleeper hit Double IPA from Montgomery Brewing is likely to be new to even the most beer-versed, as the southern Minnesota brewery has limited distribution. The marmalade aroma intensifies on warming, and the bready malt base stands up to the significant bitterness. Crowlers are available at Stinson Wine Beer and Spirits.
Sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society Press: The Lincoln Del Cookbook: Best-Loved Recipes from the Legendary Bakery and Deli, by Wendi Rosenstein and Kit Naylor. Paperback, 192 pages, full color, 7 by 10 inches, $24.95.
The Lincoln Del Cookbook gathers not only coveted recipes — for blintzes and challah, coleslaw and chicken matzo ball soup — but also family lore and patrons’ memories, with photographs, menus, and memorabilia that will bring you right back to the Lincoln Del, or make you wish you’d been around to experience its delights in person.
Ciders make wonderful gifts due to the fact that they are widely-appealing, nearly always gluten free, and food friendly. Though Minnesota’s cider production is growing rapidly, the beverage is sometimes overlooked for lack of understanding and fear of the cloying sweetness found in national brands.
Look no further than Keepsake Cidery’s newest creation, Currant Aronia, which is available at select liquor stores including France 44 Wine & Spirits. Creator Nate Watters hand picked black currants and aronia from the cidery farm and incorporated them into a dry cider that had been fermenting and conditioning for 9 months. It was bottled with a small amount of honey, and Watters describes it as “a farmhouse lambic or sour with the funk, tannin, and astringency of the berries pairing with the citrus notes of the dry cider.”
Number 12 Cider House in Buffalo, Minn. also prides itself on dry, English-style ciders that capitalize on the tart profiles of 10 varieties of apples. Its Sparkling Dry Cider ($10) has a balance of sweet and tart, with complex apple flavor and aroma. Sub this in for champagne during the New Year’s celebration season — it makes a perfect host gift. The Pear Cider from Urban Forage ($13) shines as an accompaniment to cheese and light salty snacks. This bottle also works as a favor for farmers-market fans and urban gardeners as all of the ingredients are foraged locally. A semisweet mix of one-third apple and two-thirds pear, the 3 percent ABV beverage hints at holiday spice notes but remains subtle. (Sold at Urban Forage, 3016 E Lake St, Minneapolis.)
What’s the perfect gift for a wine lover who is interested in furthering their knowledge on a timely topic? The Natural Wines Class at North Loop Wine & Spirits hosted by Twin Cities Wine Education on February 13. For $55 a person, this class tackles the issue of natural wines, from what they are to how to select the best. This gift will help the budding aficionado sort through the sulfite buzz and grasp organic growing concepts, all for the purpose of enjoyment.
Sponsored by Golden Fig Fine Foods: Golden Fig Fine Foods is a fantastic shop full of the finest Midwest-made cheeses, chocolates, preserves, candies, spices, cookbooks, and more. Stop by for the season’s best hand crafted gifts and holiday baskets for the foodies on your list. We ship worldwide.
Have a loved one who is looking to dry out a bit during January or launch a healthy 2018? Support them with kombucha. Join Bryan Deane Bertsch, brewmaster of Deane’s Kombucha, for a 90-minute class on January 13. It includes entry-level instruction on how to brew kombucha confidently at home. The class is hosted by the charming EggPlant Urban Farm Supply, and each participant will take home their own culture, or SCOBY, to get started immediately ($40).
On the other hand, if you’re hoping to enable the diehard rye whiskey fan by supplementing a pro-level bar, look no further than the latest release by J. Carver Distillery, Everlasting Absinthe, and give the gift of the perfect Sazerac. The anise-forward, pale-green spirit is worth its $60 (750 milliliter) price tag as a small amount goes a very long way, and it is created using a grappa base, rather than neutral grain spirits. Offer the following recipe, too:
Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a mixing glass — a shaker pint works well — and add just enough water to partially dissolve the cube
Add 5 drops of stocking-stuffer-ready J. Thomas Decanter bitters by Dashfire ($14), which are made with orange peel, raisin, and spices.
Meanwhile, add a dash of absinthe to a chilled rock glass and swirl to coat.
To the sugar and bitters mixture, add 2 ounces of a favorite rye whiskey (we like the depth of flavor of Far North Spirits’ Roknar Rye, $55 for 750 milliliters) and 2 to 3 ice cubes, and stir for 30 seconds. Pour into the rock glass.
Finally, squeeze and twist a one-inch strip of lemon peel over the final product, rub it along the rim of the glass, drop it in, and serve.
If your cocktail lover is not the DIY type but would like to be, send them to the Cocktail Academy at Tattersall Distilling in Northeast Minneapolis (multiple sessions in January and February). Not only will they be warmed by the industrial chic environs of this cozy cocktail room in the dead of winter, but $60 buys hands-on practice, expert instruction, and appetizer pairings for four winter-inspired cocktails.
German-inspired Helgolander from Dampfwerk Distilling could be that je ne sais quoi that your quirky co-worker doesn’t know they are missing ($27 for 375 milliliters). The St. Louis Park distillery has revived this intensely botanical liqueur, ideal for Amaro or Fernet fans, seemingly to inspire budding home barkeeps. Try it in a Toronto, or substitute for the vermouth in a Manhattan. Similarly, aquavit and whiskey fans alike will be thrilled by the festive new Gamle Ode release, Celebration aquavit on rye. The botanical mix of coriander, caraway, dill, and citrus found in the corn-based Celebration is further underscored by wood aging; the spirit rests in New Richmond rye barrels for 16 months, creating a caramel color and welcome depth of flavor akin to a barrel gin.
Sponsored by Wisco Pop!: Wisco Pop! | from $1.49 | wiscopopsoda.com. Something’s a-brewin’ across the river in Wisconsin. The crew at Wisco Pop! has been making from-scratch organic beverages since 2012. Their ultra-fresh sodas and sugar-free sparkling waters (Sparkle*) are great on their own or as flavor-packed cocktail mixers. They’re available throughout the Midwest, so you can be a hero at your next holiday party.
Coffee and spirits fans will enjoy Norseman Distillery’s Coffee Liqueur, made using both coffee grounds and cold brew, with rum as a base ($36 for 750 milliliters). Use in White Russians, brownies, and tiramisu.
Distinct from bitters and tinctures are shrubs — vinegar-based infusions that add a sweet-tart element to sodas, cocktails, and even salad dressings. Sharab Shrubs, made in Minneapolis, will make a welcome addition to any creative kitchen. We like the Apple Rosemary variety in ginger ale, a botanical gin and tonic, or even as a bright counterpoint in mulled wine ($11 for 8 ounces).
Festive Entrees: Gifts $25-$50
Banana Fiber Table Linens | $11 per placemat, $32 for the table runner) | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
These neutral-toned linens’ clean lines are perfect for whatever holiday you celebrate, and they have just enough sparkle woven in to hint at holiday festivity. No matter who you invite over for dinner, these would help set a welcoming table.
Venison: The Slay to Gourmet Field to Kitchen Cookbook | $25 | Voyageur Press
In Venison, outdoorsman and chef Jon Wipfli presents a beautifully photographed one-stop shop of ethical hunting and processing, with recipes ranging from the homey to restaurant-ready. As Minnesota works to define what its regional cuisine does best, venison will surely be part of the story, and Venison is a terrific place to start.
Sponsored by El Burrito Mercado: El Burrito Mercado is Minnesota’s most extraordinary Mexican Latino marketplace, growing since 1979! The mercado offers a butcher shop with seasoned, ready-to-cook meats; fresh produce; an extensive variety of specialty Mexican and Latino grocery items including spices and peppers; Mexican bakery/pastries; a grab-n-go deli; Mexican imported gifts and home decor; and El Cafe y Bar restaurant. Purchase a $20 gift card and receive a $5 certificate!
Mashmaker: A Citizen-Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home | $25 | Gray Duck Media
It’s no secret that Minnesota (and the Upper Midwest in general) has experienced a brewing revolution in recent years, as hundreds of brewpubs and production breweries have come online. At the root of much of the best beer is the home brewing movement, and longtime home brewer Michael Dawson has captured much of that excitement, knowledge, and curiosity in Mashmaker, the first book from local publisher Gray Duck Media (think: Beer Dabbler and The Growler).
Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions | $25 | Common Good Books
All things holiday and Swedish are combined in this guide to Scandinavian cheer. The author presents classic recipes along with some updated versions as well as the history and meaning of various rituals and lore surrounding Swedish Christmas celebrations.
Give a Girl a Knife | $26 | and The New Midwestern Table | $35 | Common Good Books
Fans of the Food Network series Heartland Table — or anyone who likes a good coming-of-age story with roots in Minnesota that’s packed with food — will enjoy Amy Thielen’s memoir, Give a Girl a Knife. The book chronicles how Thielen left northern Minnesota to work in some of New York City’s finest kitchens, only to return to Minnesota to immerse herself in Upper Midwestern food and cooking traditions. For a smart pairing, combine the memoir with Thielen’s cookbook, The New Midwestern Table.
Sponsored By Crapola Granola: “Crapola” is a play on the words cranberry, apple, and granola. It’s made by hand with carefully-sourced ingredients in our family-operated bakery in Ely, Minn., and this is our tenth year making Crapola. Hard to believe!
Smalls S’mores | $25 | Askov Finlayson
Toothpicks, matches, tiny marshmallows, tiny bits of chocolate, tiny graham crackers, a candle — everything you need to make a tiny s’more or three is now contained in one ridiculous (and ridiculously cute) little kit.
Keep the North Cold Mug | $25 | Askov Finlayson
Bold, clean design, a satisfying heft, and a message we can rally behind are the distinguishing features of the Keep the North Cold mug available at Askov Finlayson. Sure, everybody has enough mugs, but does everybody have enough really great mugs that also feel great to lift and enjoy?
Obsessive Chef Cutting Board | $28 | Science Museum of Minnesota
If you’ve got a budding chef (or a perfectionist) on your gift list who agonizes over the perfect sizes for julienne, dicing, etc., the Science Museum has you covered with, of course, science. This cutting board clearly defines perfect sizing for each type of cutting. Additional angles give slicers a template to be more creative. Made of bamboo.
Studiopatro Tea Towels | $28.50 per towel | Walker Art Center
These towels (themed by Cook, Bake, and Equal) are not only attractive and a friendly homage to the art of the kitchen, they’re also highly practical. Made from oatmeal linen, they’re stain-resistant, long-lasting, and they improve with repeated washing.
Sponsored by the Nordic Ware Factory Store: You’re gonna fall for this big, two-burner, dual-purpose pan that can do it all. A flat griddle on one side accommodates eggs, pancakes, or potatoes, while the ribbed grill surface sears meats and vegetables. Raised edges and a back panel contain spatters; fats and juices collect in the reservoir up front. Find more holiday entertaining and gift ideas at the Nordic Ware Factory Store, a family-owned, American manufacturer of quality cookware, bakeware, microwave and grilling products, and specialty kitchenware, now in its 71st year. The Factory Store in St. Louis Park is frequented by home cooks, chefs, and restaurant owners, and it hosts twice-monthly evening cooking classes. 4925 County Road 25/Highway 7, St. Louis Park; 952.924.9672.
Jules Loft Holiday Bird Feeder | $30 | Lakewinds Co-op
Made in Waconia, this is the perfect gift for the bird lover in your life. A sizable sculpted oval of varying bird seeds meant to draw wild songbirds while discouraging squirrels, this also comes attached to its own little jingle bell.
Sweet Snowflake Shortbread Pan | $30 | Nordic Ware Factory Store
We’ve grown to love cast aluminum bakeware like this charming, snowflake-themed pan from Nordic Ware. It looks sharp, it’s durable, and it’s surprisingly light. With one of these guys in your kitchen, you can up the hygge to unbearable levels.
Life in a Northern Town | $30 | Common Good Books
Author and former restaurateur Mary Dougherty documents the food world around Lake Superior with recipes focused both on locally available foods and as longtime immigrant influences. But beyond recipes, she also provides a slice-of-life narrative about life in the Bayfield, Wis. area, including small-town parades, goats giving birth, and campfire picnics on a beach by Lake Superior.
The Proof is in the Pudding | $30 | Science Museum of Minnesota
How can you resist a gift nestled in a box that proudly proclaims, “Make dessert more abstract!” and “Make mathematics more palatable!” The box contains four individual pudding bowls, each of which has a mathematical theorem on the outside with the relevant proof at the bottom of the bowl — so, in fact, the proof is actually in the pudding.
Tea of the Month Club | $30 a month | Verdant Tea
The folks at Verdant Tea have been importing and brewing seriously thoughtful flavors for years now, and their Tea of the Month Club offers a fascinating gateway into some of the best and most unusual teas that China has to offer. Verdant works with small family tea farmers in China, and each month of the club is represented by a different grower. We tried the November box, which included white teas aged for three years and/or picked exclusively from buds. The flavors were layered, complex, and often (surprisingly) rich and creamy.
Pottery | Various prices | 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 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 item to impress, and we love that NCC’s stuff sits so squarely at the intersection of art and craft and decorative and useful.
Unelefante Chocolates | $34 | Minneapolis Institute of Art
Mia is selling a wide variety of these cheerful, cheeky chocolates and candies, imported from Mexico. Besides being made from high-quality chocolate, the designs, forms, and colors are irresistible. Perfect for someone who wants to combine their love of good chocolate with some silly good fun.
Sponsored by Vision Wine and Spirits: Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts take a Whisky drinker on a voyage around Scotland’s whisky regions with its core range of small batch, vatted malt whiskies. Each of the five malts are carefully blended by master blender Fred Laing with whiskies from the best distilleries from each of the five regions. All whiskies are non-chill filtered and without added coloring. To purchase, please stop by Ace Spirits at 4 Shady Oak Rd, Hopkins, MN 55343, or shop online at www.acespirits.com.
The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen | $35 | Common Good Books
The Sioux Chef is one of the most-talked-about cookbooks of 2017. Its eponymous author, Sean Sherman, has created a compendium of recipes involving ingredients Native Americans used for generations, including everything from a simple cranberry sauce to amaranth crackers to rabbit braised with apple and mint to bison tartare. Along the way, Sherman dispels myths and educates readers about traditional ingredients and techniques.
The Red Rooster Cookbook | $37.50 | Common Good Books
The international chef (and force behind the former Minneapolis restaurant Aquavit), Marcus Samuelsson, has written this part cookbook, part history of Harlem. He takes a long, loving look at Harlem’s transformation over the years, then creates a daily menu, complete with musical playlist.
Fossilized Pottery Plate | $50 (other pieces with varying prices) | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
This unique plate was hand made using real pressed flowers and herbs, giving it a fossilized appearance. But it’s not just beautiful, it’s meant to be used: It’s lead-free and dishwasher/oven safe. What’s more, it would make an excellent conversation piece.
Abbey Cake | $50 | 3½ pounds | The Jampot
This is the fruitcake to end all fruitcake: a bourbon-blessed, monk-made confection featuring dark raisins, walnuts, and molasses. It’s moist and delectable. Properly wrapped, it stays wholesome for months and will get you through the holiday season — and the whole winter, for that matter — in good spirits.
Chef’s Special: Gifts $50-100
The Artful Baker | $50 | Common Good Books
Subtitled “Extraordinary Desserts from an Obsessive Home Baker,” this gorgeous tome is packed full of color photographs of stunningly beautiful baked goods of all kinds. But it’s not just a coffee table book; the author takes pains to break down the recipes with patient, thorough instructions that will allow the reader to tackle any baked good, whether it’s a finicky macaron or a flaky pie crust. Author Cenk Sonmeszoy doesn’t take himself too seriously; he named one of his creations after a character from his favorite TV show, The Golden Girls.
Bitters Variety Pack | $54 | Bittercube (available online or at shops like Golden Fig Fine Foods)
Bittercube makes cunningly compounded, artfully balanced bitters that enhance any cocktail they touch. A variety pack of six different bitters is enough to keep a home barkeep happily busy for at least a calendar year, at which point there’s always the option of giving them another variety pack. …
Sponsored by Running Aces Casino & Racetrack: Running Aces Casino & Racetrack is a cutting-edge, Las Vegas-style card room with live summer horse racing and a trout-fishing pond where “you catch ’em and we cook ’em.” Trout Air Tavern is a full-service restaurant with ingredients sourced locally for the hand crafted cuisine, with many Minnesota favorites available 24/7. Some of the features include the Tator Tot Hot Dish and the unique Tuscan Turkey sandwich. Running Aces also offers live music, monthly comedy shows and a full bar to make it a close-to-home entertainment destination for all ages. The poker room offers live cash games and a daily tournament for every level of player. There is a wide variety of table games including Pai Gow Poker, EZ Baccarat, 3 & 4 Card Poker, $2 blackjack, and much more, all with no commission or antes on any game. Smoke-free and open 24/7 — just 25 minutes north of Downtown.
Juniper Salad Tongs | $54| Walker Art Center
Juniper is a beautiful wood to showcase against your holiday greens. The wooden handles are set in a careful mosaic which highlights the tight, attractive grain.
Metal Serving Utensil Set | $55 for a set of 2 | Minneapolis Institute of Art
These tongs are almost too beautiful to use, with their bright, brassy bowl and tines giving way to the roughly worked handles. As narrow as the handles are, they still have some heft and are up to the task of serving anything you require.
Loop Maison Fruit Loop Bowl | $56 | Walker Art Center
Elegant and striking, loop bowl, part of a collection, will turn heads, and it can be filled with any sturdy food — apples, oranges, pears – -to create a beautiful and functional centerpiece. Or fill with holiday ornaments or holly and pine to create a fun piece of table decor.
Sponsored by The Northern Clay Center: With the advancement of ceramic arts as its mission, this not-for-profit art center has grown over the last 25 years to have an impact both locally and globally. In addition to year-round artists, Northern Clay Center is now showing the work of special-guest holiday artists. Whether it’s artful and affordable tableware you crave, or a one-of-a-kind piece to impress, NCC has it in its gallery and online and will gladly wrap and ship for you. The Northern Clay Center brings handmade ceramics together with everything from everyday meals to special feasts (like Chef Camp, pictured above) in a truly maker-to-table way.
An 8-Pound Sack of Granola | $56 | Crapola Granola
If you’ve got a granola lover in your life — you know the type, munching and/or sprinkling that stuff non-stop — then this is a hilarious-yet-practical way to say “I love you and respect your habit” for the holidays. Crapola’s excellent-quality bulk granola comes in an enormous, 8-pound sack that will make a real statement on Christmas morning and thereafter. (The Ely-based company also sells smaller packages of granola, but where’s the fun in that?)
Japanese Whale Knife | $60 | The Foundry Home Goods
Why just slice something when you can use your very own sperm whale to do the cutting? This cheeky little knife is a solid piece of cutlery. Also available in a Fin Whale version.
Japanese Grater | $64 | The Foundry Home Goods
Move over, silver box graters — there’s something far more interesting that can do your work. This grater not only grates, but is visually striking and deserving of being displayed in the kitchen, not just buried in a cupboard.
Sponsored by Fair State Brewing Cooperative: Go beyond a six-pack, novelty bottle opener, or Spiegelau specialty glassware for your craft beer-lover. How about ownership of a brewery? The Membership Gift Pack ($200, payable at $20 a month for 10 months) features an exclusive co-op lunchbox, T-shirt, two pint glasses, and belonging to a vibrant group of people that share your enthusiasm for beer and recognize it as a catalyst for building community. With discounts, priority access to limited releases, recipe input, and more, Fair State Co-op membership brings beer, brewing opportunities and fuzzy feels galore. Now drink like you own the place, because you can!
ADIV Pure Nature Linen Napkins | $60 for a set of two | Minneapolis Institute of Art
These gorgeous handwoven napkins are dyed with the discarded flowers and fruits used in Hindu worship services. Instead of throwing away those all-natural items, artisans recycle them to hand-dye these linens, creating beautiful, delicate patterns.
Alessi Cheese Please Grater | $65 | Walker Art Center
How appropriate — a cheese grater shaped like a cowbell. But if you tap the side, it gives off a far more harmonious sound, and besides, it grates cheese. Lots of it.
16-Piece Box of Artisan Chocolates | $42 | St. Croix Chocolate Company
A box of chocolates seems like a no-brainer gift, but there’s a reason it’s fallen out of fashion — most chocolates on the market are replete with waxy, low-grade chocolate and tin-eared artificial flavors. The chocolates from St. Croix Chocolate Company looks like a million dollars, but — far more importantly — they taste like it, too, with supple, rich chocolate and creamy, subtle fillings. The 16-piece box is a classic choice, but you can get 9- or 25-piece boxes, too ($26 or $65, respectively.)
Red Wing Casserole | $77 for a 4-quart dish | Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery
Life in a cold climate demands some hearty meals, and hotdish is the reigning sentimental champion. You can kick your game up yet another notch with this massive, lovely Red Wing Casserole dish, which contains your food and also decorates your table with local pride.
Futagami Japanese Brass Trivet | $80 | The Foundry Home Goods
This bright, starlike trivet is almost too pretty to cover with a pan. Protect your counters in style.
Tasting Menu with Wine Pairing: Gifts Over $100
Bamboo Family Tree Carving Board | $100 | Minnesotal Landscape Arboretum
Whatever you’re serving as the centerpiece of your holiday meal, presenting it on this carving board will only improve it. The gorgeous, intricate tree carving was done by laser engraving and will not easily fade or wash out. The board itself is made from bamboo, a highly renewable resource and one that’s kind to knives.
Cast Iron Pan with Lid | $120 | Minneapolis Institute of Art
The cast iron aficionado in your life will be thrilled with this singular cooking item from Mexico’s Utilitario Mexicano. It’s a replica of a Pagoel Mir pan, popular in Mexico in the 1940s, complete with subtle irregularities that give it a vintage feel. It is fully functional, once seasoned properly, and will last for years.
Hand-turned Mesquite Bowl | $140 | Minnesotal Landscape Arboretum
This sleek bowl is simple in styling, allowing the beautiful wood grains to take center stage. It would be attractive filled with snacks, or as a centerpiece with any number of holiday decor pieces.
Sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society Press: Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions, by Patrice Johnson. Hardcover, 264 pages, full color, 7 by 10 inches, $24.95.
“This book makes me want to go into the kitchen and plan a holiday party! Patrice updates the flavors and shapes of traditional Christmas classics like Swedish meatballs and Lucia buns, creating a fresh new approach to these old-world treats.” — Beatrice Ojakangas, author of The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
Stoneware Pitcher and Mug | $150 for a pitcher, $50 for a mug | Minneapolis Institute of Art
Quietly beautiful and eminently functional, this stoneware pitcher comes from designer Natan Moss’ Marfa collection, which uses spotted Marfa clay to represent the Southwest desert landscape. The pitcher is sturdy and sizable, and the accompanying mugs are lighter and easily handled. They could easily double as the base for a floral arrangement.
Ginny Sims Storage Crock | $160 | The Foundry Home Goods
Ginny Sims is a Twin Cities artist who makes innovative, one-of-a-kind pieces of crockery. Clean lines, subtle shadings, careful use of color accents all contribute to a set of kitchenware that is classically beautiful. Note that many of her pieces are literally one-of-a-kind, so selection varies. If purchasing for a gift, ask the staff for a card that provides details about the artist.
Smithey Ironware 12- and 16-inch Cast Iron Skillets | $160 and $200 respectively | Golden Fig Fine Foods
America is experiencing a most welcome renaissance in cast-iron cookware, and the smooth-surfaced, naturally non-stick skillets by Smithey Ironware are part of the story. The skillets are also hand made in the United States by a Charleston, S.C. company.
Chef Camp | Sept. 1-3, 2017 | $550 and up for an all-inclusive ticket
Inevitably, we arrive at the point in life where more stuff just feels like … more stuff. Those looking to skip the bulky boxes and give an (unforgettable) experience can pick up a ticket to Chef Camp, an immersive, north woods food retreat that runs Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2018. (Chef Camp is a project co-created by Heavy Table’s editor, James Norton.)
Chef Camp guests stay in the cabins of YMCA Camp Miller, 90 minutes north of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Campers take wilderness-themed cooking classes over open fires from some of the most talented local chefs, sip artisan coffee and cocktails, participate in classic camp activities (think archery, canoeing, and crafts), and feast under the stars in an open-air mess hall.
Original Paintings by Anthony Brenny | Lemon, $850; Garlic Bunch, $950 | The Foundry Home Goods
Anthony Brenny is a St. Paul still life and portraiture artist and instructor at Minneapolis’ Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art. His food-based paintings are uncannily real and masterly and would add an air of significance to any kitchen or dining room. They are also one-of-a-kind originals, not prints. Framing was done by Mitrebox Framing Studio.
Juicy Salif Limited Edition Bronze Juicer by Philippe Starck for Alessi | $1,633.50 | Walker Art Center
In 1990, renowned housewares and utensil designer Philippe Starck presented Italian company Alessi with a lunch napkin on which he’d sketched a progression of squid drawings, ultimately leading to what became an iconic–and controversial–kitchen item: The Juicy Salif Juicer. Controversial because, as many users noted, it’s not the most efficient way to juice a lemon, and is downright messy; but it also had many ardent fans, who claimed it to be a triumph of form over function. Starck himself is reported to have said that its primary use is not juicing, but to start conversations. It has been a perennial bestseller since its creation, and in 2015, Alessi produced a limited edition bronze version, with only 299 numbered items produced. This collectible is all form, no function, and the Walker has #275 of the series. Conversation starter, homage to a classic piece of kitchen design, or artistic/chic/kitsch kitchen centerpiece, you decide.
Tanpopo-led Ramen Tour of Yokohama and Tokyo | $1800 | TanpopoStudio
For more than 15 years, Tanpopo was known as one of the best Japanese restaurants in the state, serving up restrained, elegant, classic dishes including some serious bowls of noodles. Now that Tanpopo’s space is being re-opened as the St. Paul incarnation of Kyatchi, its founders have spun off a Japan-focused food tour business, and one of their two offerings is all about ramen. It includes some indulgent eating, serious learning, and a jump-right-in approach to one of the most accessible yet nuanced parts of Japanese cuisine.