If you haven't already wrapped up your holiday shopping, you're probably very near entering panic mode. Who knows what you should buy your picky grandpa, but you're still going to have to suck it up and find a gift before December 25. You could fight the crowds at the malls for the umpteenth time, or you could just remember that everyone -- even your pickiest friends -- loves to eat.
And fortunately, there are lots of great local purveyors selling delicious food gifts this time of year. Instead of elbowing soccer moms at NorthPark or just throwing in the towel and ordering everything on Amazon, consider finishing up your shopping with these ten locally-made gifts. Remember: no one returns baked goods and booze.
Chocolates from Kate Weiser Chocolate (above) Finding an impressive gift for someone that makes more money than you is hard, but hand-painted bonbons are always an elegant choice. Kate Weiser's hand-painted creations are perfect for your persnickety boss or stockbroker cousin, and a six-piece box is only $15. Which means that you won't have to mortgage your home to make yourself look richer than you really are.
A cheese class at Scardello, $40 Everyone's New Year's resolution should be to eat more cheese, and your gift could be the difference between the recipient chowing down on Kraft singles all year and finally discovering a great roquefort. Rich Rogers knows more about cheese than probably any other human on the planet, and his Cheese 101 class on January 15 will teach them everything they ever wanted to know about cheeses of all kinds. Best of all, your recipient will get to eat the curriculum.
Tamales from La Popular Tamales are a Christmas tradition, one much more delicious than fruitcake or dumb old divinity fudge. La Popular Tamale House has been busy filling tamale orders for weeks, but you can eke in your order for a few dozen for Christmas Day pick-up by calling (214) 824-7617. Paired with a six-pack of beer, your family will never be happier to see you than when you're walking through the door with pork tamales. They might even forgive that arrest earlier this year.
Joy Macarons Macarons are another way to feel fancy when you're really broke, and Joy Macarons are among the best. For friends or relatives that are trying to go gluten-free for health or for trend, macarons are a solid choice, especially when there probably isn't any other dessert at holiday dinner that they can enjoy. Pick up a half-dozen for a quick hostess gift at Joy Macarons' Bishop Arts shop, or get even more for someone you really love.
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Ascension Coffee Coffee is the fuel that keeps us all alive, and most of us don't have time to go to some fancy coffee roaster to get our fix. That's why coffee from Ascension feels like such a treat, because you're used to drinking that garbage that gargles out of your Keurig machine every day. If you're feeling particularly generous, add a bottle of Jameson and you'll have purchased the best gift that person's going to get all year.
Artizone.com gift card Grocery delivery is literally the greatest gift you can give someone, especially after dodging the crowds at Tom Thumb all holiday season long. Artizone puts all the city's best local purveyors in one place, which is much easier than schlepping all over the city to buy from each. You don't even have to leave your house to send an Artizone gift card, and you can be sure that the person you're gifting it to can get all the fancy-pants dinner ingredients their yuppie little hearts desire.
Spicy Chicken Pickles Yes, they sound weird, but you have some really weird friends. Spicy chicken pickles are as delicious as they sound, named not because they taste like an actual chicken, but because the blend of spices used may or may not have first been part of someone's granny's fried chicken recipe. Thus, the "it smell like chicken!" proclamation on the jar. If you have a friend that loves all things briny, they'll definitely appreciate a jar of these in their stocking. The seller can be found at the Dallas Farmers Market.
Local beer, duh If you're visiting family in another part of the country, you should take an opportunity to show off the explosive growth of the local beer scene in Dallas. There are so many great breweries to choose from, we couldn't even narrow it down to just one. Put together a sixer of selections from Four Corners, Lakewood, and Revolver, if only so that you can share when the relatives start to arrive.