Everyone has at least one food lover on their gift list, someone who loves cooking, dines at all the right restaurants, or takes pride in supporting Alabama farmers and craft producers.
Here are some ideas for food-related Alabama-made holiday presents, from locally-roasted coffee, fresh-picked produce, and old-fashioned grits to custom pottery for serving them:
For the coffee lover:
(Toomer’s Specialty Coffee Roasters/Facebook)
Ever wake up and say, “Man, I meant to pick up some freshly-roasted coffee beans yesterday”? Several local roasteries offer coffee subscriptions, automatically shipping their java to your home. Toomer’s Specialty Coffee Roasters in Opelika, for example, offers options for one to six bags per month ($17-$89), your choice, whole bean or ground. Seeds Coffee Co. in west Homewood will ship one or two bags per month ($16.95-$33.50 per month), or two bags every two weeks ($32.95 each). Check with your favorite roaster to see if it offers coffee-of-the-month clubs, too.
For the one with the best table settings:
(Earthborn Studios, Inc./Facebook)
Leeds potter Tena Payne makes the distinctive earthy-hued plates and serving vessels used by Hot and Hot Fish Club and OvenBird restaurants in Birmingham, SpringHouse Restaurant near Alexander City, and other high-end restaurants, casinos, and country clubs across the country. Stock your own kitchen at the Gallery at Earthborn, or order online for shipping. Another option: pottery lessons; a $250 package includes six weeks of instruction, free use of the studio during business hours, 25 pounds of potter’s clay, glazes, and firings.
For the conscious home cook:
(Stone Hollow Farmstead/Facebook)
Many Alabama farms sell subscription shares of what they’re growing at the time, including BDA Farm in the Black Belt, Snow’s Bend Farm near Tuscaloosa, and Kith and Kin in the Wiregrass region. But one of the most diverse CSA options is from Stone Hollow Farmstead, which bundles its own products, along with the harvest from other Alabama farms. Weekly baskets include produce, herbs, bread, and sometimes products from SHF’s cannery. Add-ons include dairy products, eggs, and cut flowers. Subscribe quarterly, or annually. Delivery available or pick up.
For the budding chef:
(Cooking with Culture/Facebook)
Cooking with Culture in Hoover bills itself as the only authentic Italian cooking and culture class in Alabama. It is operated by Giuliana Russo-Skinner, an Italian native and former professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Samford University, and Benard Tamburello, a veteran chef-restaurateur who currently owns Vecchia Pizzeria and Mercato. Upcoming classes include how to make mozzarella and Neapolitan pizzas (each is $45.09 including tax).
For the one with grit:
(McEwen & Sons/Facebook)
The McEwen boys–father Frank Sr. and sons Luke and Frank Jr.–run an old-fashioned stone grist mill in Wilsonville, producing products that are prized by chefs and discerning cooks across Alabama. McEwen and Sons will ship gourmet grits, popcorn, cornmeal, polenta, rolled oats and mixes for battering fish and making hush puppies. Several groceries and specialty stores also carry McEwen products. A $22.95 combo pairs a 1.5-pound bag of grits and the cookbook “Glorious Grits” by Susan McEwen McIntosh (Frank McEwen Sr.’s sister), which includes recipes from Frank Stitt and other well-known Birmingham chefs.
For the one who loves it all:
(The Alabama Gift Company/Facebook)
Based in Gadsden, The Alabama Gift Company specializes in cookbooks, prepared foods, and other goods made in the Yellowhammer state. Its “Made in Alabama Gift Box” ($50), includes Priester’s Sticks and Stones Mix, Betsy’s Cheese Straws, O’Henry’s Coffee, Alabama Peanut Producers Peanuts, Mama’s Secrets Cookies, Whaley’s Mini Pecan Pie, and Kettle Brothers Gourmet Popcorn. Shipping is available or pick up at the store if you’re in the area.