Category Archives: Gift

Halloween Chocolates

I saw these delightful Halloween-themed chocolates in the window at Li-Lac Chocolates on Bleecker Street. Choose from pumpkins, witches, skulls or ghosts. I love the ghosts, and they are also available in milk and dark chocolate.

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Day 12: 12 Days of Southern Food Gifts

To represent the 12 Days of Christmas (which start the day after Christmas but I’m doing it earlier so you can give these as Christmas gifts), I’m showcasing 12 days of delicious artisanal food treats from the American South.  These are hand-picked by me, Dina, because I’ve tried them and they are delicious.

apple butter, Mercier Orchards

Day 12, Blue Ridge, Georgia: Mercier Orchards apple butter

What better way to round out the 12 days of Christmas than apple butter from a fourth-generation family-owned apple orchard that’s been in business for over 70 years!

Day 11: 12 Days of Southern Food Gifts

To represent the 12 Days of Christmas (which start the day after Christmas but I’m doing it earlier so you can give these as Christmas gifts), I’m showcasing 12 days of delicious artisanal food treats from the American South.  These are hand-picked by me, Dina, because I’ve tried them and they are delicious.

bloody mary mix, Charleston

Day 11, Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston Beverage Company Charleston Mix Bloody Mary Bold & Spicy

If you want to spice up your holiday brunch, try some Charleston Mix Bloody Mary Bold & Spicy. The ingredients are natural, and the mix is gluten free with no high fructose corn syrup. Owner Ryan Eleuteri is proud of the product’s premium ingredients. “We use ground black peppercorn instead of black pepper, sea salt instead of salt, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce,” he says. Most bloody Mary mixes use horseradish to bring the heat. But what really distinguishes Charleston Mix is the habanero mash. “It’s a great flavor,” Eleuteri notes. That it is. The bold & spicy version is made from a beef base, but vegetarians need not worry. The Fresh & Veggie version is made from a carrot base so you can enjoy your cocktails too!

Day 10: 12 Days of Southern Food Gifts

To represent the 12 Days of Christmas (which start the day after Christmas but I’m doing it earlier so you can give these as Christmas gifts), I’m showcasing 12 days of delicious artisanal food treats from the American South.  These are hand-picked by me, Dina, because I’ve tried them and they are delicious.

pottery, bacon cooker

Day 10, Seagrove, North Carolina: Bacon cooker pottery

North Carolina is known for its pottery, and the town of Seagrove boasts the largest community of potters in the country. It’s a fun day trip to tour the different studios. I have a collection of North Carolina pottery, and I’m always looking for an interesting new piece. The hot pottery of the season is the bacon cooker, made to cook bacon in the microwave, and it is available in many colors from many different potters. Mine is from McNeill’s pottery. If you pick one, make sure you get one like mine that has a tall enough cup to fit the bacon onto.

Day 9: 12 Days of Southern Food Gifts

To represent the 12 Days of Christmas (which start the day after Christmas but I’m doing it earlier so you can give these as Christmas gifts), I’m showcasing 12 days of delicious artisanal food treats from the American South.  These are hand-picked by me, Dina, because I’ve tried them and they are delicious.

Videri, chocolate

Day 9, Raleigh, North Carolina: Videri peppermint chocolate

Peppermint bark is one of my favorite holiday treats. But I don’t buy it these days because of what’s in it. Well, Videri has made it possible for me to enjoy peppermint bark without worry. The only ingredients are organic ones–including the crushed candy canes! The bar has a deep chocolatey taste with a nice minty crunch. A great stocking stuffer too.

Day 8: 12 Days of Southern Food Gifts

To represent the 12 Days of Christmas (which start the day after Christmas but I’m doing it earlier so you can give these as Christmas gifts), I’m showcasing 12 days of delicious artisanal food treats from the American South.  These are hand-picked by me, Dina, because I’ve tried them and they are delicious.

benne wafers, Byrd's

Day 8, Savannah, Georgia: Byrd’s benne wafers

When I first heard of benne wafers, I didn’t know what they were. When I found out they were sesame cookies, I wanted to try them. Italians also make sesame cookies during the holidays (and other times), and I love them.

The history of the benne wafer is that sesame seeds were brought from East Africa to the United States by African slaves. Benne is a Bantu word for sesame, and the cookies symbolize good luck. They are an old-time Southern tradition and also are served for Kwanzaa.

Byrd’s is a family company that has been baking cookies for 91 years. This year, its benne wafers are available in a replica of the original tin used more than 50 years ago. The cookies are the delightfully small size of coins and have a sweet chewy crunch.

Day 7: 12 Days of Southern Food Gifts

To represent the 12 Days of Christmas (which start the day after Christmas but I’m doing it earlier so you can give these as Christmas gifts), I’m showcasing 12 days of delicious artisanal food treats from the American South.  These are hand-picked by me, Dina, because I’ve tried them and they are delicious.

Big Spoon, nut butter

Day 7, Durham, North Carolina: Big Spoon Roasters nut butters

Big Spoon is the best thing to happen to peanut butter since, well, peanut butter. The nuts are roasted by hand and then they are milled to create a coarse texture. The owner learned how to make peanut butter this way while in the Peace Corps in Zimbabwe. Try the peanut pecan–the perfect blend of North Carolina’s two favorite nuts.