From Buche de Noel and Twelfth Night Cakes to gingerbread and Christmas pudding, special holiday treats define the season. I love the food history dating to 18th century Europe of putting hard-to-find, out-of-season oranges in children's stockings as truly precious gifts.
In the spirit of sugarplums and fruitcake, here are a few foodie items that I think are really special any time of the year, but especially so for the holiday season.
All of these products are also made in America. Celebrate the season by supporting local businesses to boost our economy. That would truly be a gift.
The only bean-to-bar chocolate producer in NYC. It's fine craft chocolate made by two brothers. Each bar is hand wrapped in exquisite paper. The brothers also work with small organic cacao co-ops which makes their chocolate even better.
This is a small-batch, artisanal chocolate maker that offers the cutest assortments of chocolate including these mice with almond ears. "Not a creature was stirring ... ."
Quinn Popcorn - I posted yesterday that traditional microwave popcorn is one of the most unsafe foods to eat. Here's a chemical-free and organic microwave popcorn offered by a couple in Massachusetts.
Boulder Ice Cream - This is organic ice cream locally churned in Boulder with 150 flavors. They ship all over the U.S. I had a milk shake with this ice cream and it was literally the best one I have ever had.
Olomomo Nuts - These are flavored nut mixes with interesting taste combos like "chai bliss almonds" and "mango chipotle zinger almonds." They are great and good for you, too.
White Mountain Farm Quinoa - Quinoa is one of my all-time favorite grains. I eat it in a breakfast porridge, in soups, as a side dish and even just plain. It's the mother grain of the Incas and is high in calcium, iron vitamins E and B, too. This one is organic and grown in Colorado.
As an alum of the University of Vermont, my heart is in the land of the state. The dirt gets in your blood. I like to support their progressive agriculture and state economy. This is a great company that offers organic cornmeal, cornmeal mixes and flours.
A lot of our house entertainment budget is spent on wine and spirits to enjoy with friends and family. I think one of the best ways to support American small businesses is to buy from American vineyards and distilleries. This is one of my favorites. I think it could go head-to-head with the world's best sparkling wines.
This is a family-owned and operated heirloom and organic seeds company from Colorado. Everyone in my family is getting seeds in their stockings. I am picking special ones for everybody - Hungarian tomatoes for my Hungarian mother, giant pumpkins for the kiddos and beets for my husband who is obsessed with beet risotto.
This is an incredible nonprofit seed company dedicated to North America's heirloom seeds. The catalog is dreamy. When I first got it, I couldn't put it down. The historical descriptions of the history of each seed are addictive. I went to high school in Oklahoma, and when I read the following description I had to have theses Cherokee Trail Black Beans for our garden:
(Phaseolus vulgaris) (aka Cherokee Black) Given to SSE in 1977 by the late Dr. John Wyche, SSE member from Hugo, Oklahoma. Dr. Wyche’s Cherokee ancestors carried this bean over the Trail of Tears, the infamous winter death march from the Smoky Mountains to Oklahoma (1838-1839), leaving a trail of 4,000 graves.