‘Tis the season for handing off cheers and thanks to our hosts, offering tasty contributions to holiday parties, and celebrating the ones we love with intention made manifest in memorable ways. And here at CHC we couldn’t be more COLLECTIVELY ready to get in that giving groove. The latest in our series on creative cadeaus embraces all that divine and delicious bounty from local food and beverage producers along the Wasatch. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m a huge sucker for a themed holiday basket. And I’m even more of a pushover when I can pull all the items together in just one or two stops to complete the list. Here’s a peek into my personal list of preferred purveyors:
“Spice of Life” at the Downtown Winter Farmer’s Market & King’s English Book Store:
Skip yourself on down to the Rio Grande Winter Farmer’s Market on Saturday, December 17th and get ready to load up your battered canvas totes to the brim with local goods made by actual delightful human beings right here in the Beehive state. Open every other weekend through April, the Winter Market features most of the summer version’s most popular producers. Bonus: many of our favorites provide shelf-stable and imminently gift-able goods. Celebrate the spicy diversity of our Salty City’s producers like Mama Africa’s totally addicting Pili Pili Sauce, Tequenños Venezuelan goodies, Van Kwartel Flavor Science unique hot sauces and spice rubs, Buffalo Chips, sassy dips from The Salsa Queen, Yee-Haw Pickles, and Chili Beak marinades and sauces among an array of stellar options. Round out the basket with culinary inspiration from Boulder, Utah’s own Hell’s Backbone Grill’s cookbook “With a Measure of Grace,” or another tome. Just ask the friendly folks at independently-run The King’s English Bookstore in the lovely 15th& 15th ‘hood for some suggestions. SLC Winter Market schedule and full list of vendors.
“Where the Meat At?” Creminelli Fine Meats and Salt & Smoke Artisan Meats:
We’ve grooved mightily on how much we love locally-owned charcuterie producers Creminelli Fine Meats, and Salt & Smoke Artisan Meats before. And those folks at Harmon’s Market? We just can’t get enough of their dedication to both the quality of their gourmet goods and the quantity of local producer’s they’ve made it their mission to support. Harmon’s makes it pretty damned easy to pull together a delightful selection for even the most discerning gourmand on your gift list. At the top of the list? Pretty much anything made by Creminelli Fine Meats with particular props and hallelujah’s to their super savvy line of pre-sliced meat and cheese combo trays and their artisan salami selections. Round out the bounty with cheeses made by Utah’s own Beehive Cheese or Rockhill Creamery. Add some Utah raw honey and finishing salts from their artisan store of seasonings and you’re good to go. For gifts and picking out the perfect roast or amazing appetizers for your next holiday dinner, head on over to Chef Frody Volgger’s emporium of epicure’s delights, Salt & Smoke Meats.
“For the Sweet Tooth” PJK’s Creamery, Amour Café, Ruby Snap, etc.:
Oh, Utah. We know how much y’all love to bring on the sugar buzz, and we’re the first to admit that the holidays bring on the jones for those dulcet delights like nobody’s business. Some of our favorites to satisfy the cravings? Well, they’re selectively scattered all over sinfully-delicious city, but here’s our short list for gifting, even if it’s to ourselves: PJK’s Creamery, kickass unique ice creams available at the Winter Farmer’s Market and gift certificates available online for later purchase at their storefront opening in January! (Yes, we’re squee-ing a bit here, y’all); Amour Café for all things preserves, gelato-by-the-pint and pastries; gift certificates from Saturday’s Waffle’s traveling trucks of tasty treats; Fillings and Emulsions pastries, where award-winning pastry chef Adalberto Diaz has been creating a wonderful world of flavors and a whole rainbow of macarons for over 30 years; and our favorite cookie craving creators, Ruby Snap. For all things seasonally sensational, stop in at Maison Confiserie et Boutique (next to Hub and Spoke Diner). Remember their insane custom cotton candy flavors from the 2015 Brew n’ Q? Hot sugary damn, y’all.
Chocolate, Coffee & Cocktails at Caputo’s Markets & Local Distillers: Caputo’s Market and Deli locations are a treasure-trove of the best combo of foodie fantasies, featuring everything from chocolate to charcuterie. In fact, they’re known as one of the most selective purveyors of chocolate in the world. And a big huge chunk of their selection is made right here in Utah, like Ritual Chocolate. But did you know they also got your 24/7 beverage cravings covered to boot? An insane collection of artisan coffee roasters (the list is long and mighty, friends), unique sodas, and one-stop shopping for cocktail mixers, artisan bitters and gourmet garnishes. Add a bottle (or two) of booze from the booming craft distillery scene (Beehive Gin, Sugar House Distillery, High West, Dented Brick) or wine and bring on the boozy boogie nights.
Give a “Yalla” for Social Justice Laziz Kitchen & Pantry: This season in particular, it seems to be a good opportunity to remember the people in our community who now more than ever need our political, social and economic support. We’ve mentioned already in this gift guide a plethora of producers who are LGBTQ+, immigrants from all over the world, badass women-owned businesses and a whole rainbow of skin tones and cultural affiliations. The list wouldn’t be complete without a big shout out to a couple of our favorite fellas who have very proudly and publicly been at the forefront of activism in the Beehive state: Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen. Their Utah-made line of Middle Eastern spreads have a huge local fan base, enough so that the Laziz team recently opened up their own delightful café, Laziz Kitchen, in the Central-9th neighborhood. In addition to fresh and fabulous nosh at the restaurant, the Laziz folks have a delightful market pantry full of Lebanese (Sbeity’s country of origin) and other Middle Eastern delights like West Bank-sourced olive oil, Lebanese tahini, fresh-baked pita chips, and of course, Laziz spreads. They’ve thoughtfully assembled gift baskets with all of the above, along with their beautifully branded “yalla” (loosely translated “let’s go!”) mugs. Add a gift certificate and spread the love, y’all. One gift at a time.