It seems a bit fuddy-duddy to say "hostess gift," but many of us will be attending holiday parties in the coming weeks and no one wants to show up empty handed. So here, a few delicious food (and drink) ideas for what to bring. They'll appreciate more than just the thought.
Seattle Sweets & Co. caramels available at Sweet Mickey's in Ballard. I prefer the plain, salted version, but you can purchase an assortment with all sorts of intriguing flavors (black pepper grapefruit!).
Belle Epicurean's Provisions shop is packed to the hilt with excellent food gifts. There are fancy crackers, fine cheeses, select wines and fresh baguettes. Even better: give your hosts house-made (then frozen) caramel pecan buns for the morning after. They'll defrost in the fridge and be ready to pop in the oven in the morning. Now that's a thoughtful gift.
For the craft cocktailer, head to Savour in Ballard. There, you'll find an entire section devoted to bitters and tinctures, cocktail necessities and barware. While you're there, pick up some excellent aged cheese and a few Olympic Provisions salamis for yourself.
Stop by Marx Foods retail shop when it's time to give to the down-the-rabbit-hole food geek, the person who never seems to shut up about this new restaurant or that new cocktail bar. (Guilty?) Buy him or her some Midori Farms kraut (beet, kimchi or cabbage), maybe a few Link Lab sausages to go with. And pick up a few Pok Pok drinking vinegars while you're at it; they're great mixers and make for an excellent non-alcoholic beverage for the designated drivers.
Chocolate is always welcome, and therefore Hot Cakes is an excellent place to buy gifts. A couple of molten chocolate cakes (we like the smoked chocolate flavor) for the hosts? Or salted caramel sauce?
Or, if they're good friends and will appreciate the gesture, bring a little something for the bar along with an assortment of cold-pressed juices from Juice Box to ease recovery the next day. You'll be a hero.
Don't forget to stop by the year-round farmers markets (U-District, Broadway, West Seattle, Ballard) to support local farmers and to find tasty gift-able foods. Cider from Rockridge Orchards, cheese from Mountain Lodge (great goat cheeses) and Samish Bay (yogurt!), Hama Hama oysters, honey and honeycomb from Golden Honey Bee Ranch, smoked salmon bellies from Loki...there is much deliciousness to be found, yes, even this time of year. Supporting local farmers is especially important in the winter months.
Of course, we're all in a rush this time of year. If you find yourself too busy and you only have time to swing by the store for the standard bottle of wine or sixer of beer, at least make it the good, local stuff. They'll surely appreciate the extra thought.