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With the Christmas season upon us, I thought it might be fun to put together a gift guide of the neat stuff out there for your favorite foodie this year. Any of the edible products that I've listed as being from Charleston I truely believe are vastly superior to other national brands, and are not just for Charlestonians only! I've provided links to Amazon for each product ( just click the image of the product on the list), since everyone has access to that, but if you are local to South Carolina, I highly encourage you look for these products at your local small businesses! For the record, I am not a sponsor for any of these products -- I just love them!
1. Heritage by Sean Brock ($24)
This cookbook by Farm-To-Table legend Sean Brock of Charleston's McCrady's, Husk, and now Minero is a celebration of local ingredients ( whatever "local" is for you ), farm sourcing, and homemade food. It includes some of Brock's classics ( including the cornbread from Husk ), and some dishes we haven't seen in his restaurants yet.
2. Bittermilk ($13 - $16)
Forget the tasteless, sugary sweet, plastic bottled mixed drinks of your past. The new age of cocktail mixers is here. Thanks to Bittermilk, you can now have an amazing gourmet cocktail at home by simply adding booze to one of their mixes. Mixes include the classic Bittermilk No. 1 ( Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned ),the No. 5 ( Charred Grapefruit Tonic with Bulls Bay Sea Salt ), and our personal favorite, an updated collins from the No. 2 ( Tom Collins with Elderflowers & Hops ).
3. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet ($24)
There is a lot of very expensive cookware out there, but no pan is quite as versatile as the good old-fashioned inexpensive Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. Cornbread, roast veggies, prime steaks, and gravies -- this pan can do any of it. They heat evenly, are a breeze to clean, and retain heat long enough to keep your dishes warm on the table while you cook whatever else goes with your meal in stylish rustic charm.
4. Creminelli Salami ($10 - $15)
Drop the summer sausage -- now you can get artisan salamis here in America without having to go to the deli. Creminelli uses heritage meats raised on a vegetarian diet with no hormones to make their delicious meat products. Our favorite varieties are the earthy Tartufo, rich Barolo, and deliciously unique Wild Boar.
5. King Bean Coffee ($10 - $18)
King Bean has ruined me for all other coffee. Seriously. Believe it or not, at one point I was a professional coffee roaster, and ever since then I have had very ... specific ... thoughts on how my coffee should taste. By the time King Bean came around on the retail scene, I had somewhat given up, and resigned myself to drinking crappy coffee at home. I figured if I wasn't going to love everything about the coffee I was drinking, why continue buying the pricey stuff?
King Bean has brought back my love of coffee. I talk about them so much to my coworkers and friends that people probably think I am a paid sponsor for them, but I am not. It's just the best coffee ever. In a world where everyone thinks extra dark roast is the creme de la creme ( ... it's not ... but I'll save that rant for later ), King Bean's roasts compliment their high quality beans, instead of using the roast to mask a low quality coffee bean. You can find them here: King Bean.
6. The New Primal Jerky ($8 )
In case you didn't know, in the culinary world right now jerky is the new black. That is to say, it's not just for truckers any more. Everyone likes jerky anyway, and now you don't have to feel ashamed of your secret dried-meat love, thanks to The New Primal. Their jerky is not only delicious ( seriously, lots of points here for deliciousness ), but it's made with grass-fed beef, no nitrates, no preservatives, and no MSG. So much yes. They also have a super cute holiday pack, if you'd like a sampling of their products. Buy them here: The New Primal Jerky.
7. Le Creuset Heritage Petit Oval Au Gratin Dish ($13)
Perfect for serving your favorite paté or dip, creme brulée, an individual cobbler, or a handful of nuts or olives. This little dish is simple, but beautiful, and can withstand brutal heat in the oven.
8. Nielsen Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste ($11)
Okay time to spill the beans. Horrible pun not intended. Okay, maybe intended a little. We all know and love the vanilla bean, but let's face it: scraping vanilla bean is a total pain. This stuff solves that problem. It is the most vanilla-y vanilla I've ever had. The jar is full of the scrapings of vanilla beans in Nielsen Massey's already phenomenal Vanilla Extract. You use it in place of scraped vanilla beans, or in place of vanilla extract. Or randomly in a milk shake, pumpkin creme brulee, with your cereal, in your morning latte, mixed with butter on an english muffin... but I digress.
9. Justin's Maple Almond Butter ($13)
I'm not a huge maple fan, but Justin's Maple Almond Butter is just about the best thing that I've every put in my mouth. This stuff makes even celery taste delicious. In addition to the regular sized jars, they sell little single serve packs that are awesome to stuff in a lunch box ( or stocking! ).
10. Rewind Candles ($30)
A local ( Charleston, South Carolina ) company that makes amazing soy candles in recycled wine bottles with amazing scents like Spiked Cider, Carmenere, Sauvignon Blanc, my personal favorite, Champagne, and a whole slew of other scents for your favorite oenophile. You can see their whole range here: Rewind Candles, and you can also buy them from Amazon .
Disclaimer: As an FYI, if you buy of these products through their Amazon links on this page, I will receive a small portion of the purchase. This does not make the product cost any more for you, or anyone else. Any links that point to establishments other than Amazon are not partners of mine and I do not receive any sort of compensation for their purpose. ALL of these products are things I love and believe in -- any sort of compensation I may receive is negligible and nowhere near the ballpark of being able to sway my thoughts around the product. If my favorite luxury auto maker would like to send me a free car, I would be leaving an entirely different disclaimer on that post.