Holiday Gift Ideas: 18+ Raleigh-Made Eats and Drinks
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 6pm by Kristen Baughman
The holidays are quickly approaching! Time to make a shopping list for your family, friends and favorite foodies, and we're here to help! The Raleigh, N.C., area's makers offer up a big line-up of options for chocolate lovers, craft beer fans, coffee drinkers and all types of food lovers.Shop for a few of these 18+ local eats and drinks this holiday season:
Videri Chocolate Factory
The chocolate factory in downtown Raleigh (pictured in header), dreamed up and created by Sam and Starr Ratto and Chris Heavener, offers up bean-to-car chocolate using fair-trade, organic beans, which Sam sources himself from Central and South America. Popular picks are the 70% Classic Dark chocolate bar and the 70% Peppermint Chocolate with organic candy cane, which is released during the holiday season.
Escazu Artisan Chocolates
Escazu, also downtown, offers up handcrafted bars, truffles, confections and more. Inspired by a 2005 trip to an organic cacao farm in Costa Rica, Hallot Parson returned to the U.S. and began to study the chocolate making process and how it might be produced on a small scale. Soon enough, his chocolate would become a Raleigh favorite. A few of the popular options during the holiday season includes an assortment of beautifully-designed truffles or chocolate bars like Sea Salt, Goats Milk and Pumpkin Seeds and Guajillo.
Avenue Des Chocolates
Avenue des Chocolats specializes in European-style chocolate bonbons with silky-smooth and delicately-flavored ganache centers. Using traditional artisan manufacturing methods, Avenue des Chocolats ensures fresh, handcrafted bonbons in small batches and typically makes them to order. The signature bonbons are enrobed in 72-percent cacao dark chocolate. Find them at Raleigh Provisions in downtown Raleigh. Plus, don't miss the Sola Pop-Up Market on Dec. 9, 10am-2pm, for special releases of seasonal flavors.
Azurelise Chocolate Truffles
Since 2002, the flavors on Azurelise's chocolate truffle menu have delighted the palates of chocolate lovers worldwide. Visit the Azurelise kiosk to purchase ready-to-go boxes of milk and dark chocolate classic, sea salt caramel and chocolate truffle assortments. Not sure which chocolate to pick? Go for the sea salt caramel truffles!
With 30 breweries in the Raleigh area, there's no shortage of local beers to choose from as gifts. Visit a brewery or bottle shop to pick up a mixture of cans and bottles, or you can gift growler pours directly from the source (just gift the growler as soon as you can for freshness). Plus, don't miss special holiday and winter beer releases. For instance, Big Boss Brewing Company's Aces & Ates is a great stout for the winter months and is a collaboration with Larry's Coffee (mentioned below). Have any friends who love a good porter? Don't miss out on grabbing a few bottles of Carolina Brewing Company's Winter Porter, which offers the perfect balance of roasted malt flavor from black and chocolate malts combined with hop bitterness.
Carolina Popcorn Shoppe has been popping flavorful corn in Raleigh since 2000. All of their recipes are original, and their many varieties are hand-blended using butter, brown sugar, fresh-roasted nuts, rich cheese blends and other quality ingredients. Have a foodie friend who's a fan of sweets? Select from options like kettle corn, birthday cake, chocolate caramel or cookies 'n cream flavors. How about something salty with a kick? Choose from salt and vinegar or bacon cheddar.
Founded by "coffee's head bean," Larry Larson, Larry's Coffee works with farming partners to get beans with the deep, rich flavor profiles needed for their slow-roasting process. Gift a few bags of coffee beans this holiday season for a coffee lover. Looking for something dark and robust to warm up with? The Bad Kitty and Smoky Mountain Blend are both great options. Their canned nitro cold brew coffee also makes for great gifts. Pick it all up at Larry's spot downtown, 42 & Lawrence.
Raleigh Coffee Company
Raleigh Coffee Company sources, roasts and distributes great coffee beans for your favorite foodie to enjoy at home. Feel good about gifting a bag of coffee beans this holiday because the company is also used as a platform to give back to local, national and global communities through coffee sales. Pick it up at The Butcher's Market (Raleigh), City of Raleigh Museum (COR Museum), BREW in Raleigh and Cary plus Grounds Cafe in Wendell.
Oak City Coffee Roasters
Oak City Coffee Roasters makes it a point to personally know the farmers who supply their beans, bringing the customer as close to the origin of the coffee as possible. Grab their canned nitro coffee, bags of their delicious coffee and more at their location in downtown Raleigh for the perfect gift.
Slingshot Coffee Co.
Slingshot Coffee Co.'s cold brew coffee was listed among 11 Excellent Cold Brew Coffees by Eater. Snag a few bottles for stocking stuffers at some of these local shops: Videri Chocolate Factory, Yellow Dog Bread Company, The Mill in Fuquay-Varina, Wine Authorities and Devolve Moto. New this season, Slingshot Coffee Co. has introduced coffee caramels crafted from a coffee they specially selected and expertly cold brewed, blended with a handful of quality ingredients for that satisfying buttery, chewy, not-too-sweet bite.
For health-conscious Blake Stewart, consuming all-natural products has always been a priority. His grandmother Edna was a Southern farmer who canned her own tomato juice, and Blake thought that would be the perfect base for his homemade Bloody Mary mix. After experimenting with a few different recipes, Hail Mary was born, an all-natural, gluten-free mix that is the perfect blend of fresh juiced tomatoes, peppers, horseradish root and high-quality spices. Several places to get a bottle: Brew N Que in Cary, The Butcher's Market (Raleigh), Standard Foods, Bottle Mixx, DECO Raleigh and NOFO @ the Pig.
Need a gift for a grill master? Bone Suckin' Sauce is a western N.C.-style barbecue sauce created with a tomato-paste base. The sauce is crafted with honey and molasses to offer a sweeter taste that is perfect topped on grilled chicken, pulled pork and more. The bottles pair well with grilling accessories to complete the gift. Find a few bottles at these places: their store at the State Farmers Market, Raleigh, Logan's Trading Company, North Carolina Museum of History Shop, Raleigh Provisions and NOFO @ the Pig.
Midtown Olive Oil is bringing the Raleigh area unique flavors of balsamic vinegars and the very freshest olive oils. Committed to always having the freshest and highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO) available, pick up a few bottles for an excellent gift idea. Favorites include the Black Truffle Oil, Cinnamon Pear Balsamic and Dark Chocolate Balsamic.
Slice Pie Company is a family-owned business that has won first place at the N.C. State Fair with its signature apple pie. Gift a slice, half a pie or a whole pie this holiday season! Just after your friends take one bite, Slice Pie Company guarantees a mouthwatering, full-flavored experience. Visit The Butcher's Market (Cary) to pick up pies—here's how to get them! A few flavors to gift include apple, double chocolate chess, pecan and pumpkin.
The towns surrounding Raleigh are home to wineries with on-site vineyards as well as the state's first urban winery. Gift your wine-loving friends an educational tour of a local winery followed by wine tasting and samples. Another great idea is to create a sampler pack of wines from Adams Vineyards and Winery, Chatham Hill Winery, Cloer Family Vineyards and Neusiok Wines.
Gift your family and friends a distillery tour along with a bottle of their favorite type of spirit. From Boots Vodka crafted by Oaklee Distilling Co. to Sweet Dark Rum by Raleigh Rum Company, there's a spirit for just about any palate. Pair these spirits with unique cocktail making must-haves like shakers, highball glasses and bitters from Crude Bitters, a local cocktail supply shop and tasting bar.
Offering stunning cakes and pastries, don't miss out on offering a variety of specialty holiday baked goods. Some favorites include the Buche de Noel from lucettegrace, the Artisan Snowman Bread from La Farm Bakery, holiday cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe and a box of handcrafted doughnuts from Rise Biscuits & Donuts.
Tribucha offers delicious kombucha teas that just so happen to be canned, making this an excellent gift idea! For the coffee lover looking for a change of pace, the Cafe Con Bucha is rich with cacao and cinnamon notes followed by a delicious coffee finish. If a friend is looking for some rest and relaxation this holiday season, the Flowers of Life flavor offers light, crisp and bright floral notes to create mindfulness and peace with each refreshing sip. You can find Tribucha at more than 40 places in the Raleigh area!
Berry Brothers is a family-owned and -operated company offering downhome dressings and sauces crafted from family recipes. Gift a few bottles like the Blueberry BBQ Sauce or the N.C. Strawberry Rosemary Vinaigrette to get your friends excited to start cooking! Some places to get it in the Raleigh area: Raleigh Provisions, The Butcher's Market (Raleigh), The Rusty Bucket in Apex, NOFO @ the Pig and Logan's Trading Company.
Check out even more local eatable gift ideas, here!
Header photo: Chris Richman