The holiday season is just around the corner and that means it’s time to load up on stuff for just about everyone. Luckily, there’s one thing that just about everyone can agree on: food stuff is good stuff. So, we rounded up the best in gear and goods from around the state to provide the ultimate, easily shopped to-do list. There is gear from restaurants, tools of the trade, really good booze, and even a gallon-sized jug of hot sauce. Whether looking for a little something for a host at a holiday gathering or an impressive custom-made piece of usable art, this list has got all angles of present-giving covered.
Craftmade Aprons Black and Blue Apron
An apron from a local maker dedicated to giving back. Kate Meier got into the apron making business because she wanted to make a better apron for her kids, who are all in the hospitality industry. Her aprons have taken off and are now being sold internationally, and chefs from around the country are sporting these cross-back, durable aprons. Hearing stories time and again of people in the industry struggling, she wanted to do more than provide a shoulder. She knew she could provide resources. Black and Blue Aprons contributes funds to support addiction and mental health services for industry professionals.
Cry Baby Craig’s Burn Box
A fully loaded gift box for the hot sauce lover. Cry Baby Craig’s is the hot sauce made by a Minneapolis chef that’s inspired deep devotion from an ever-growing legion of fans. Almost everyone who tries the pickled habanero and garlic sauce loves it. Almost. Except Dave. Dave gave the sauce its only one star review on Amazon. In a brilliant piece of writing, Dave rages against jorts, heartburn, and the prevalence of Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce. Lamenting the lost days of multiple hot sauce options when, “Cholula flowed like wine and Burn Baskets were a plenty.” That line inspired Craig Kaiser to put together this Burn Basket gift pack. It includes a t-shirt with the one star review in its entirety, a bottle of his ubiquitous hot sauce, a hat, and one of the lanyards that so many folks were sporting during the Minnesota State Fair.
Gallon of Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce
It’ll last forever. Now, some people merely like hot sauce. This is not for those people. No. The Cry Baby Craig’s gallon of sauce (which comes with handy pump) is for people who really like hot sauce. The jug was originally made for restaurants, but soon regular people were asking for them. It was once only stocked at a BP gas station on Lyndale and 36th Street in Minneapolis, but due to popular demand and the inherently delightful absurdity of a gallon of hot sauce with a pump, its now available online, shipped direct to your doorstep. Buy one for someone who really, really loves this stuff. Probably not for the Daves of the world.
Dampfwerk Apple Brandy
Any Wisconsinite will tell you, it’s already brandy season. This local distillery was founded on brandy, even though there’s also a collection of other spirits to be found in its soon-to-open St. Louis Park cocktail room. Made with locally grown apples in small batches, this is a brandy to sip by the fire. Try serving it from the handcrafted pouring spout, which aerates the spirit and looks really cool.
Jon Wipfli’s Fish Cookbook
A stunning collection of recipes for fresh fish. A beautiful cookbook written by chef Jon Wipfli, the author of Venison, his first cookbook. Again the chef creates easy-to-make-at-home recipes that really up the average home cook’s freshwater fish preparation game. This is the perfect gift for the home cook or fishing fanatic in your life.
Tattersall’s Old Fashioned
Skip the mix time and just pour a perfect drink. Tattersall is a local distillery built by one of the best bartenders in the Twin Cities. The company has since become a national phenomenon known for making incredible spirits. Now, they’ve added a pre-batched beauty to the lineup. Just a little bit sweet, full of warm spice, and just a dash of acidity, Tattersall’s Old Fashioned is a host’s secret weapon.
Max Smith creates tools that are almost too pretty to use. Knives are everything to a chef, and there is one artisan that the top cooks in town turn to: Max Smith. Each blade is labored over until the result is a perfectly balanced, incredibly sharp, unbelievably durable, and breathtakingly beautiful tool. The Damascus steel creates mesmerizing patterns and the smooth wood slides into the hand, just begging to be used. As the name implies, Max makes each knife specifically for the user, so best to talk to him now about needs and ideal price range.
Price: $2,000 (each piece varies)
Mokeet Cork Coasters
Artist made coasters with Minnesota themes. Made in one of the artist studios in Northeast, these cork coasters work brilliantly for protecting tables from sweaty glasses, while also being adorable. Pick up a pack with the cherry and spoon bridge, or the skylines of Minneapolis or St. Paul.
Plain Spoke Moscow Mule
A ready-made cocktail deserving of a place on the bar. A four-pack of Madison made Plain Spoke cocktails is an ideal host gift. These cocktails are bright, effervescent, refreshing, and just happen to be shaped for stuffing into stockings.
Price: $14.99 or $3.99 each
Pig on lid. Follow the alluring smoke aroma outside Able Seedhouse and Brewery to the bright, red Animales Barbecue trailer. This hat celebrates the boundless beauty of great pork and the outdoors. It’s the perfect present for anyone who celebrates two.
Delicacies Flavor Necklaces
Way better than those tired name necklaces. Share a love of a favorite flavor — or pizza — with this new collection from local jewelry company Delicacies. Gift a spicy to a zesty friend, bitter might make the perfect post break-up/pick-me-up gift, sweet could butter someone up, and pizza should probably be present at every party. Available in gold and silver. For every purchase made Delicacies donates to organizations that help fight hunger, like local charity group Loaves and Fishes.
Nordicware Frozen 2 Cookie Presses
Both the satisfaction of squishing dough and the benefit of making cookies extra pretty. The number one company for baking gear has partnered with the movie little kids are clamoring to see this winter for these adorable little snowflake cookie presses. Perfect for adding an extra touch of pretty to the annual cookie tray. Plus, since it’s Nordicware, these tools will last a lifetime.
Cambria’s Princetown Board and Coasters
Class game day entertaining up a bit with this charcuterie board and coasters.
Cambria might be internationally known as the best place to source durable, gorgeous surfaces, but the company is based right here in Minnesota. This set sports some serious purple pride, making the charcuterie board and coaster set a subtle way to show off devotion to the Vikings when entertaining. It’s a surface Prince would have loved, flecked with shimmering gold through a mingling of black and purple.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.