Tis’ the season for gift giving! As you peruse the world of unlimited options, we’ve refined a list of some of the coolest locally made goods that make perfect gifts to friends, family and co-workers. We think that supporting local businesses not only is a unique way to share a gift, but also a way to make our region a strong business center for all. Sure we’re a little heavy handed on the consumable side of gift giving, but hey, this is a food magazine after all! Consider putting these marvelous Bay Area businesses on your shopping lists and you may find something to stash away for yourself too (we won’t tell).
TIDAL BOAR GINGER BEER
Get your copper mugs out and fill them with locally made Tidal Boar Ginger Beer. This non-alcoholic drink combines the kick of fresh ginger root with citrus, berries, and spices to give a remarkable alternative to other sodas. For the adults out there, mixed with vodka this makes for a very satisfactory Moscow Mule. Pick up a bottle or growler at your local markets, including St. Pete Saturday Morning Market, Indie Market in St. Pete and Tampa, Hyde Park Market and Seminole Heights Market. You can also purchase bottles at Locale in St. Petersburg or Jug & Bottle in Tampa. Other locations can be found on their website at Tidal-Boar-Ginger-Beer.MyShopify.com.
THE URBAN CANNING COMPANY
Just in time for the holidays, the ever-so-popular Urban Canning aims to impress with their holiday inspired Jams. Through December they are churning out fall flavors like Cranberry Whiskey Clove and Caramel Apple + Sea Salt. They have also “pear-ed” up with local Pinellas Chocolate to make a Pear with Dark Chocolate + Cinnamon jam. Can’t choose just one? Purchase their gift set containing all three for $30.
Handmade in Tampa, Katara Confectionery takes the cake for having the most dazzling macaroons. Not only are they made from local free-range eggs and honey, but they are also hand painted by artist bakers who thrive on creativity. The macaroons are $2 each, but we recommend you purchase a (very giftable) dozen for $20. They can be customized with logos, initials, drawings, etc. and shipped anywhere in Florida. They currently offer direct sales through the Tampa Indie Flea and Saint Petersburg Indie Market, but also offer by special order at any time.
ST. PETE FERMENTS
What’s a better gift than the gift of health? St. Pete Ferments produces small batch local sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented pickles, water kefir, fermented soda, beet kvass and kombucha. This holiday season you can purchase one of their gift sets which offers a sampling of their ferments for $15-$25. Their pledge is to stay true to ancient, time-tested methods resplendent of the art of fermentation. They do not use vinegar, pasteurization, micron filtration or any other stabilizers to disrupt the naturally occurring bacteria, which is so vital to the integrity of their ferments. Their zero-waste products can be found at local farmers markets, with locations disclosed often via their social media.
If you are looking for a truly one-of-a-kind gift, the girls at Afterburnt will make your day. Equipped with a mobile workshop, they will cut, sand, and burn custom coasters, wooden spoons, cutting boards, and other wooden creations just for you. Whether you have a favorite quote or a recipe from grandma, they artfully create your piece in minutes. You can currently find them at Tampa Bay Area events including Pierce Street Market, St. Pete Indie Market, and the Corey Avenue Market. You can also purchase custom or pre-made pieces from their Etsy account.
THE MESSY PAINTER
We love the food-inspired watercolor artwork by Crystina Castiglione, aka The Messy Painter. The Boston native (and now Old Northeast resident) grew up in the kitchens of her parents’ restaurants and now finds inspiration from that in her paintings. We think whether you’re in the market for stationery or a new piece to hang on the wall, you’ll find something special. She isn’t just limited to food paintings either; she paints it all from popsicles to pelicans. Visit her work online with pieces ranging from $5-$300.
Seminole Heights-based Hopcloth gives hobby imbibers a reason to celebrate. They offer a full range of beer themed shirts with their most famous pronouncing “Drink Beer From Here.” Visit their Etsy site for a wide variety of playful and graphic gift options for the entire family (toddlers too). If you have beer loving friends and family in other states, not a worry, they have expanded their “Drink Beer From Here” options to 50 states and start at $20. The gift of clothing isn’t always a sure bet, but we think gifting these shirts are a home run.
St. Petersburg based Bodhi Basics are brilliant recyclers who continue to experiment with incorporating up-cycled ingredients from local companies into their line of products. Some of the ingredients used would typically end up in compost bins or the trash, but instead they are adding them for beneficial nutrients to your skin. For example, their soap Lechon de Jabon ($9) uses rendered pork fat (great for dry skin) from their favorite Cuban sandwich hot spot, Bodega on Central. Weird, yes, but cool and eco-friendly! Another must try stocking stuffer is their Lumbersexual deodorant for the fellas—they’ll be pining for more.
The holidays have no shortage of sweet treats, so why not add more to the mix? Pinellas Chocolate Co. of Largo offers well balanced 62-80% chocolate bars with flavors ranging from their Honduras Dark to their Salted Lime. If you need to turn up the heat this winter, try their Datil Pepper infused bar, which combines St. Augustine originated hot Datil Peppers with dark chocolate ($7.99 per 15-piece bar). While savoring your chocolate, you’ll be happy to know that the chocolate is made on Florida designed and built equipment. Purchase their bars by visiting their shop in Largo (10550 72nd St. N #504), Locale Market in St. Petersburg or at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits throughout the Tampa Bay Area.
NIGHTSHIFT WAX COMPANY
Nightshift Wax Co. takes the guessing game out of gifting with an ever-expanding variety of natural and cruelty-free goods. Compared to other climates, we are lacking in the snow department, however around the holidays we still want to get cozy: look no further than the Nightshift Wax Company’s “Campfire” candle. This candle marries savory smoke with scents of wood, clove, amber, sandalwood and patchouli ($25). Should you want a gift that is a bit more invigorating, try the almond and coffee sugar scrub. It smells so good you’ll want to eat it (though we don’t recommend it.)
If you are looking for a special gift unique to St. Petersburg, give Harris Honey a try! City bees, in the backyards of three different homes, have been hard at work making a honey unique to the area. With St. Petersburg’s unique tropical climate, thousands of plants and flowers have been imported from all over the world and thrive in the city. With this, the bees have options for nectar sources which makes for a rather tasty and unique honey. Prices range from $8-$20.