Some of you might just not want to cook this holiday season. So go ahead, eat up and let others take the reins in the kitchen. But shouldn't you return the delicious favor? Or maybe you're just perpetually that dude who shows up to a dinner party with yet another bottle of Yellow Tail merlot. This list isn't exhaustive, it's just a couple of our sure-to-please, ready-to-serve gifts for the foodies in your life.
Sweets that won't spoil right away and come in individual, easy-to-eat servings are sure to get gobbled up fast. Chocolate is a safe bet, and we love our local makers. Matthew's Chocolates in Hillsborough are delightful, classic truffles in the French tradition. In Raleigh, Escazu (www.escazuchocolates.com) started the bean-to-bar phenomenon. Pick up one of a selection of their gorgeous, glossy truffles and peek behind the scenes to watch the magic happen in the production room, where vats of cacao churn into cocoa butter and chocolate. Videri (www.viderichocolatefactory.com), too, has beautiful truffles, or you can gift a monthly subscription.
For snackers, gift a bag of Tonya's Cookies (www.tonyascookies.com), made by "Mama Dip" Mildred Council's granddaughter, Tonya Council. Secret family recipes from a legendary family of cooks? Can't get any more special than that.
For foodies in the family who feign a gourmet touch, why not make it easy on them with local condiments. Say, Lil Farm Queen George's ginger syrup (found at Durham Farmers Market), which goes great with anything from sticky rice and sautés to molasses cookie recipes. To make it even easier, there's beloved Big Spoon Roasters (www.bigspoonroasters.com) nut butters, which everyone has heard of but we don't always think to treat ourselves. Let someone remember you fondly over breakfast when biting into toast smeared with Chai Spice, or when tucking into homemade dinners with a dollop of Hot Peanut.
Your favorite co-worker or hippest professor is most likely addicted to caffeine. And the Triangle is no stranger to amazing coffee, sourced ethically from small farmers around the world and roasted right here. Bags of Counter Culture and Joe Van Gogh whole beans are ubiquitous in local grocery stores. For newer roasters on the scene, try Black & White (www.blackwhiteroasters.com) out of Wake Forest (helmed by national barista champions Lemuel Butler and Kyle Ramage) or hit up one of Durham's Cocoa Cinnamon locations for bags of beans roasted right in Lakewood, under the name 4th Dimension Coffee.
Parker & Otis in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill are excellent places to shop for these gifts. If you're not sure what to get but still want to go a little nuts, the lovely folks at Raleigh Provisions downtown will fix you up a nice gift basket of local goods.