GIFT Like A Local

Finding the perfect gift can be challenging, but when it comes to universally beloved presents, food and drink are always a good way to go.Local food and drink are even better. Check out some of these locally sourced gift ideas for the holiday season. Warning: You may want to steal them for yourself! Find these deals online or in-store at area retailers.

Support a dream and get something tasty. The restaurant and bakery about to open in Springfield offers community perks to those who support them before they open and they’ve got some pretty sweet deals for interesting gifting, like T-shirt swag ($25) and some cool packages. My top two? The Coffee Break Card ($50) and the Party in the House ($50) option. The Coffee Break Card keeps on giving; you get six drinks (choice of coffee, tea or kombucha) plus six items from the pastry case (choose a pie slice, handpie, cookie, bar or muffin) or The Party in the House, which gets your giftee an invitation to a pre-opening Flour & Fig party. No matter what you choose, the recipient will be sure to thank you!

These are perfect gifts for stuffing in carry-on bags or adding to your host/hostess gift stash. CAMP will make you sooo popular at holiday parties! The clear glass jar is filled with dehydrated citrus, herbs, spices or fruit to make some fantastic handcrafted cocktails right at home. Choose from flavors like the Aromatic Citrus, Hibiscus Ginger Lemon, Pineapple Jalapeno and more ($15 each). Here’s how it works: Just add 8 ounces of your favorite spirit to the jar and let steep for three days. Then, using the alcohol steeped in CAMP, add a mixer like pineapple juice, Lacroix, prosecco, club soda—whatever suits your tastes. You get to play mixologist and every drink can be different; each jar serves around eight. To ramp up the gift, add a mini-bottle of the recipient’s favorite spirit (more below). Oh, and you might want to have one ready just for you, for those family gatherings.

As the reigning spice king and queen of Jax, Fresh Jax makes gift-giving easy with sets of spices and flavors to intrigue all types of palates. From the adventurous Ghost Pepper Salt to the simple and tasty Rosemary Lemon, they’re ready to SPICE UP YOUR LIFE. They even have build-your-own spice packs and ready-made sample boxes like “All-star BBQ Essential Spice Set” and “Grilling Spices.” I can hear Dad’s appreciative “oohhs” and “ahhs” already. ($10 and up).

Get into the holiday spirit with the help of our many local distilleries. Pick up a bottle of Florida Double Cask Bourbon or some sugarcane Pot Distilled Rum from St. Augustine Distillery or stop at Jacksonville’s Carve Craft Vodka or Manifest Distilling for some fragrant gin—I’ll be damn jealous if you’re lucky enough to get a bottle of the barrel-aged gin. A little more low-key (in terms of ABV), Crowlers are all the rage. Can and growler unite in a perfect to-go vessel. That means you get fresh beers, ciders and meads that don’t require a full canning facility. Find these unicorns at Aardwolf Brewing Company and Wicked Barley Brewing Company. ($10-$50)

If you want a gift that will be used every day and will last a long, long time (like millennia), give honey. (Full disclosure: I work there.) From regular varieties like orange blossom and Tupelo, to lesser-knowns like gallberry and black mangrove, Bee Friends Farm has what you crave. They also have a wide range of creamed honey, a rich, creamy honey that gets its thick consistency from a crystallization process so, in spite of what you might guess, there are no additives other than the flavors, like pure Ceylon Cinnamon or dark chocolate from Claude’s. My favorite? Mexican Vanilla Creamed Honey, which is perfect in and on everything, from coffee to tea to pancakes and oatmeal. ($10-$20).

Vagabond or Bold Bean coffee is always a great gift; it’s a taste of home, no fancy latte-making skills required. The bags also make travelling with gifts clean and easy. As a bonus, you open a heavenly scented suitcase where you get where you’re going! ($10-$20).,

Gift cards might seem like a cop-out, but they can be a night out for the lucky recipient at any number of our tastiest dining spots, and some local restaurants are upping the ante. Town Hall and Moxie are offering a great deal: When you buy a $100 gift card, you get a $40 bonus card. Candy Apple Café and Bread and Board are doing similar deals. Get ’em while they last! Oh, and if you’re not yet convinced that these venues make for a perfect evening out, check my reviews; I won’t steer you wrong.