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VOL. 43 | NO. 51 | Friday, December 20, 2019

Shop local: Give gifts that also help your neighbors

By Catherine Mayhew

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Seasonal candles from Sweet Tea Candle Company in Nolensville

-- Photos By Michelle Morrow |The Ledger

What to buy this holiday season for the person who has everything? How about food, the gift that never disappoints.

The Nashville area is blessed with plenty of food purveyors making everything from hot cheddar biscuits to small-batch gourmet chocolates. Most of them also provide swoon-worthy containers, so all you need to add is a bow.

Edible presents are great for family and friends and a safe bet for corporate giving.

“If you’re buying a gift for a big CEO coming in town you may not know what he or she prefers but you can always give the gift of a food to try,” says Caroline Espy, store manager at Batch at the Franklin Farmers Market.

Many retailers add a Made in Tennessee section to their holiday merchandise or carry it throughout the year, so be on the lookout as you shop for holiday gifts. You can also find locally produced products in some grocery stores.

Several retailers sell nothing but Made in Tennessee, including Batch, Made In Tennessee and High Note Gifts. Or you can go directly to the makers themselves.

Either way, give yourself a huge pat on the back this holiday season for buying local and assuring that the dollars you spend stay in the community.

Here are, as the song goes, a few of our favorite things:

Biscuit Love, biscuitlove.com. Sadly, you can’t order the biscuits online, even though many say they’re the best in Nashville. But you can get the fabulous preserves that come on the side.

Choose from blackberry lemon, summer peach or harvest strawberry. All the preserves are made in small batches, ensuring perfection in every bite. And best of all, shipping is free. If you’re buying for someone local, you can pick up jars of preserves at any of their three locations in The Gulch, Hillsboro Village or downtown Franklin.

Loveless Cafe pancake/waffle mix and syrups

Christie Cookies, christiecookies.com. Christie Cookies are dense in the best possible way with a perfect chew through and through. This Nashville icon makes its cookies with all-natural ingredients in traditional flavors like chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and white chocolate macadamia nut. The company also makes a darn fine brownie. You can stop by one of their two cookie shops at 1205 Third Ave. N. or 2606 12th Ave. S. and pick up a dozen or order them from the website and choose from an array of specialty tins for shipping.

Colts Chocolates, coltschocolates.com. Founded in 1984, Colts Chocolate Company is most famous for its Colts Bolts, a combination of chocolate, custom-blended peanut butter and whole roasted almonds.

But there’s so much more, from whiskey caramel pecan brownies to salted caramel gooey butter bars to cherry almond chocolate bark. You can find the chocolates at two local retail kiosks at Opry Mills Mall (between the food court and movie theater) and Green Hills Mall (in the new wing on the lower level).

Goo-Goo Clusters, googoo.com. Nashville’s first and, arguably, still best-known is the much beloved Goo-Goo Cluster. It was invented at the Standard Candy Company in 1912 and was the first combination candy bar in confectionary history, combining caramel, marshmallow nougat, peanuts and milk chocolate.

The original peanut version has now been joined by a pecan option and an extremely decadent peanut butter offering that takes “peanut butter cup” to a whole new level. They’re available in decorative tins or vintage looking boxes that make them a unique gift for out-of-town friends. Cracker Barrel always stocks them. So do many fine establishments around town.

Tennessee Artisan Honey

Momma Nik’s Cheesecake and Whiskey Caramel Sauce, www.mommanikscheesecake.com. This is not your heavy New York-style cheesecake. It’s light as a cloud. The cheesecakes come in a variety of flavors, and you can either get a whole cake or individual servings in Mason jars. Don’t forget to buy a jar of the whiskey-caramel sauce, either for your cheesecake or to drizzle over ice cream. The Momma Nik’s website was still under construction at press time, but its storefront is at 7024 Church Street E. Call ahead (904 655-3313) for hours.

Olive and Sinclair, oliveandsinclair.com. Olive and Sinclair has been making Tennessee’s only bean-to-bar chocolate since 2007. They call it Southern artisan chocolate. We just call it super yummy. O&S sells basic chocolate bars but branch out into signature flavors such as Mexican-style cinnamon chili, sea salt and buttermilk white chocolate. And can we just contemplate the decadent perfection of the duck fat caramels? You can order online or click on the “Find Us” tab to search for local retailers that stock the brand.

Soberdough Brew Bread, soberdough.com. Nothing could be easier to make a truly delectable moist loaf of bread than adding beer to this bread mix, which comes in a homey muslin bag. There are lots of flavors to choose from including apple fritter, sun-dried tomato pesto, cheesy garlic and cinnamon swirl. You can order from the website or pick up a bag or three at a number of local retailers listed under the Buy Local tab on the website. It’s great warm just out of the oven or toasted the next day for breakfast.

Cotton candy bath product from Batch

Southern Jerky Co., southernjerkyco.com. Yes, there is such a thing as gourmet beef jerky. Highly elevated from its gas station cousins, the jerky from Southern Jerky Co. offers flavors such as Yazoo jalapeno beef, spicy chicken and honey pepper beef. The “Buy in Person” link on the website will direct you to the company’s retail store in Brentwood (91 Seaboard Lane) and other stores that carry it. May we suggest that there is no higher and better use for a strip of their jerky than as a swizzle stick for your bloody mary on New Year’s Day.

Tennessee Peanut Company, tennesseepeanut.com. Talk about a great conversation starter, how about a cute, vintage-looking container of expertly boiled peanuts? These are not your road-side versions of the classic Southern staple. These peanuts are soft but still have structural integrity and come in fabulous flavors like Tamed Cajun, Whiskey-Honey and Apple Pie Peanut, as well as the traditional lightly salted version.

The Tennessee Peanut Company will also be offering Salt and Lantern, its barrel-aged honey. Online ordering is coming, but for now find them at the Nashville Farmers’ Market every Friday and Saturday. The peanuts also freeze beautifully and upon thawing are ready to munch. No need to reheat.

The Bang Candy Company, bangcandycompany.com. There may be no happier place in Nashville than The Bang Candy Company’s retail location in Marathon Village, 1300 Clinton St. There you can taste their signature homemade marshmallows and see how they’re made. The marshmallows are crafted in small batches with no preservatives, stabilizers, or artificial colors or flavors. Try the rose cardamom, toasted almond coconut, chocolate chili or maple bacon bourbon. You can also order a variety online.

The Loveless, lovelesscafe.com. Nothing says Nashville like a gift from The Loveless, and there’s much to choose from. Its signature biscuit mix will make you look like you’ve been baking all your life. Pair the biscuits with blackberry, strawberry or peach preserves. Add some Applewood-smoked bacon and breakfast is served.

If you visit the Hams & Jams store, 8400 Highway 100, you’ll find a lot more including prepared sides such as hashbrown casserole and macaroni and cheese that can fill out your holiday table.

TruBee Honey, trubeehoney.com. Drizzle some liquid gold over your buttered toast provided by “free-range” bees that fly where they want and produce honey that tastes of the place it was created. In addition to regular honey, TruBee also makes whipped honey in cinnamon and lavender flavors, barrel-aged honey and honey straws so you can get your sweet fix on the go. Visit the “where to buy” section on the website for a list of local retailers.

Willa’s Shortbread, willas-shortbread.com. Made in small batches, this shortbread will melt in your mouth. Willa’s offers the classic buttery shortbread and flavors, including butter pecan, blackberry jam and chocolate. Bring it all home with the Nashville hot cheddar biscuits. Visit a local retailer listed on the Willa’s website.

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