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Advent calendars are always a festive idea but this season, we suggest taking advantage of our local food and beverage scene to create your very own version. Count down to the holidays with these 12 food and beverage gifts that are sure to satisfy anyone on your list—plus, it’s an ideal way to give back to local businesses and purveyors.
1. CHAPEL HILL TOFFEE
The simultaneously crunchy, sweet, salty and nutty toffee — with dark chocolate and pecans — is hard to resist, holiday season or not. Its cult following is enough to vouch that it will suffice as a solid stocking stuffer and beyond. Just be sure to grab a box for yourself while you’re at it. Available at: Logan’s Garden Center, Whole Foods
2. DAMN FINE CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
We all know and love Durham Distillery’s award-winning gin but this holiday season, don’t sleep on the spirit brand’s Damn Fine Liquer label — the chocolate version (made with dark chocolate from Videri) specifically. Sip it on the rocks, craft a divine chocolate martini or add it to cake or brownie batter for adult brownies.
Available at: ABC stores
3. SUGAR & SPICE KITCHEN’S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Owner and baker Preeti Waas’ chocolate chip cookies are the perfect treat to leave alongside milk for Santa this year. They’re chocolatey, chewy and slightly crispy on the outside — and we won’t tell if you devour them all before Christmas Eve.
Available at: Cheeni Chai and Coffee, Tiffin
4. ALLEY TWENTY SIX’S FIG, CRANBERRY AND TONIC SYRUP GIFT BOX
The star of the show is Shannon Healy’s Alley Twenty Six-branded tonic syrup (which makes the best gin and tonic around) but during the pandemic, Healy expanded the line to offer much more. Pick up a gift box with the OG syrups — plus a fig and cranberry version — and be on your merry way to excellent cocktails in a jiffy.
Available at: Alley Twenty Six, Wine Authorities
5. MAMA’S SALSA RESTAURANT STYLE AND AVOCADO SALSAS
Festive in color and flavor, Crystal Harris’ Mexican style salsas, housed in glass mason jars, are a must for the holiday season. Pour restaurant style and avocado salsas in decorative bowls on a grazing table or slather them on top of homemade chilaquiles (a popular Mexican breakfast dish) for a fun Christmas day brunch.
Available at: Midtown Farmer’s Winter Market, Rebus Works, Raleigh Provisions
6. CRUDE BITTERS 6 BITTERS SAMPLE SET
Wow any cocktail fanatic with a sampler set of Crude Bitters’ six half-ounce bottles of their most hyped bitters flavors. Rizzo, Big Bear, Bitterless Marriage, Lindsay, Pooter and Sycophant will take cocktail hour to the next level.
Available at: The Bittery at Crude Bitters
7. BOXCARR HANDMADE CHEESE HOLIDAY PACK
Boxcarr’s holiday pack, chock full of full sizes of Cottenbell, Lissome, Redbud, Rocket’s Robiola, Rosie’s Robiola and Doeling, is a solid supply to have on hand during the season — but also handy to pull apart for gifting blocks of North Carolina’s award-winning cheeses to several people on your list.
Available at: Alimentari at Left Bank in Transfer Co. Food Hall
8. LADY EDISON EXTRA FANCY COUNTRY HAM
This is not the country ham you grew up with. This is more like thin slices of prosciutto or Serrano or Iberico — but North Carolina’s very own delicacy, crafted from local pasture raised pigs. Style it out on a charcuterie board and pop a bottle of bubbles for the best time ever.
Available at: Weaver Street Market
9. BOTANIST & BARREL HOLIDAY CIDER 6-PACK
Explore the world of cider with Botanist & Barrel’s six-pack. Pop all six bottles at your next socially distant holiday gathering and let friends and family taste their way through Marguerite, Less is More Pet Nat, Arkansas Black Heritage Series 2019, Love Over Hate, Maple Spice and Aunt Ginny. Best paired with a beautiful cheese board. Shop, shop.botantistandbarrel.com for home delivery.
Available at: Raleigh Wine Shop, Botanist and Barrel
10. SLINGSHOT COFFEE COMPANY FRIDGE BOX
Calling all wine box fans…..Slingshot Coffee Company takes it to a caffeinated level with its fridge box. Think 64 ounces of the best cold brew around, on tap, in the refrigerator waiting for you when you wake up. Pop a bow on the stylish packaging and call it a gift ready to give.
Available at: Yellow Dog Bread Company
11. VIDERI CHOCOLATE FACTORY GIFT BOX
Plan on keeping this for yourself as it will be hard to wrap up and gift after reading that it comes equipped with Videri’s hot chocolate mix, a sea salt chocolate bar, a milk chocolate bar, a classic dark chocolate peppermint bar, a buttercream caramel crunch layered candy bar and an eight-piece jingle bell caramel box. You’re welcome!
Available at: Videri Chocolate Factory
12. LA FARM BAKERY ASIAGO PARMESAN CHEESE LOAF
It’s not a true holiday feast without La Farm and Lionel’s Asiago parmesan cheese sourdough bread. Think chunky, salty Asiago and parmesan cheeses weaved through the inside and outside. It’s basically like a meal on its own but a definite crowd pleaser on the table.
Available at: La Farm Bakery, Whole Foods
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