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Statewide Food 0

Made in Arkansas: Culinary Holiday Gift Ideas

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It’s officially the holiday season, and what better way to put a smile on a loved one’s face than with a culinary gift made right here in The Natural State? Below are a variety of suggestions with links that will take you straight to the ordering process.

Coffee

Coffee is one of, if not the, biggest commodities in the world, so it makes perfect sense that plentiful options will abound with beans roasted right here in The Natural State.  Companies like RoZark Hills Coffee Roasterie, Trailblazer Roasting Company, Nexus Coffee and Creative, Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee, Red Light Roastery, Airship Coffee and Onyx Coffee Lab are all fantastic options.

Sauces

Who doesn’t love a good sauce? Fortunately, with the prevalence of barbeque here in Arkansas, we have tons to choose from. Truth Sauce, with its nice blend of sweet and heat, has become wildly popular. If it’s out-of-stock online, go to your local Walmart to see if they have some. I also recommend Mack’s BBQ Paint, especially the Mustard Bold Gold, along with Scallywag Sauce Company. Looking for a true hot sauce, one that’s not barbeque related? Go with Opera Sauce, and don’t forget about Monk Sauce.

Seasonings

Is there a cook in your life who’s looking to upgrade their seasoning cabinet? If so, then order them some Coy’s Southern Eats. The Famous House Seasoning and Garlic Butter Seasoning are staples in my kitchen and can go on just about anything, although ordering the gift set is probably your best option. Also, while Cavender’s Greek Seasoning is in just about every Arkansas household, an out-of-state loved one might enjoy a package of products.

Sweets

Maybe I should have put this category at the top, as everyone loves getting a sweet treat during the holiday. Juanita’s Candy Kitchen in Arkadelphia makes the best peanut brittle on earth, and who wouldn’t want a 3-pound tub of their brittle? Don’t worry. Smaller sizes exist, but maybe a few bags from Ozark Nut Roasters are more your speed. Chocoholics will enjoy Markham & Fitz, as well as the gourmet toffee from Lambrecht.

Meat

Nothing is more local than supporting our farmers and ranchers. Carnivores out there would be hard-pressed to beat the quality meats being raised in Bee Branch at Rabbit Ridge Farms. Beef, pork, and chicken are the big sellers, and every cut of meat you can think of is delivered right to the doorstep within a couple of days. Porch Swing Farms in Bigelow is another winner and ships anywhere in the United States. Their pork products, like bacon, brats, and chorizo, are all fantastic.

Merch

It may surprise you (sarcasm), but I have a thing for buying food and drink-related clothing. My closet is filled with hoodies, t-shirts, and hats from some of my favorite spots around the country and right here in Arkansas. Supporting a business that you love by becoming a walking billboard is a nice option, and I’ve found that many local breweries offer a plethora of merch to purchase. Lost Forty Brewing is one, then there’s Flyway Brewing, Bike Rack Brewing Co., and Ozark Beer Co. Like bourbon? Rock Town Distillery has you covered.

Honeys, Jellies, and Jams

When it comes to local honeys, jellies, and jams, the options may seem endless. In the former department, some of my personal favorites include Fischer’s and Honeyton Farms. Ozark Mountain is a very popular jelly and jam maker, as is War Eagle Mill.

Gift Certificates

Ah, the no-fail gift certificate! Beloved by all, sought by many. Yellow Rocket Concepts, the restaurant group with ZAZA, Local Lime, Camp Taco, Taco & Tamale Co., Lost Forty Brewing, and Big Orange under its umbrella, is all about the online gift certificate. Raduno has one, as does Trio’s, Atlas The Restaurant, Stoby’s, and countless others. If you have a favorite restaurant, check out their website to see if e-gift cards are available.

*Pics courtesy of Honeyton Farms and Markham & Fitz

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and one daughter, Sydney. His oldest daughter, Natalie, is a freshman at Loyola University in Chicago. He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, twelve years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for ten years. During that time, he’s written for publications like Little Rock Soiree, Arkansas Times, AY Magazine, and The Local Palate.

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