Charleston's 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide

What to get the food lover in your life
Christmas in Charleston is always an exciting time of year.

Struggling for what to get the food lover in your life for Christmas? Charleston is loaded with options and this list has everything from the basic stocking stuffer to the more elaborate and expensive present. This is not your average list. Sure there are items listed that you might have seen before. But we are hard core shoppers AND food experts so this is what are the 2013 must have gifts of the season. 

1. Two Boroughs Larder's "Walter Saves Room for Dessert" T-shirts: The hats, headbands and koozies are great but our favorite item in the branded Two Boroughs Larder merchandise line is the women fitted t-shirts. Made by American Apparel, the shirts fit perfectly and as dog lovers, we can't help to love the saying and the adortable design. $20 

2. Bittermilk’s Cocktail Compounds: Joe and MariElena Raya have a great thing going at their tucked away treasure, The Gin Joint, and have hit another home run with their new line of cocktail mixers—Bittermilk. Their first in the series features a Smokey Honey Whiskey Sour, a Tom Collins and a Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned. They are so good that the products were just selected for a coveted Garden & Gun magazine's “Made in the South Award”. $14.95


3. Garden & Gun magazine's “The Southern Handbook”: This is our new favorite go-to-guide for living in the south. The south is all about eating, drinking and entertaining and "The Southern Handbook" shares how to do those things well. There are chapters on Food, Style, Drink, Sporting & Adventure, Home & Garden and Art & Culture and contributors include John T. Edge, John Currence and Julia Reed. Need we say more? Starting at $14 

4. Matt Lee and Ted Lee's Boiled Peanuts: We are big fans of The Lee Bros and love that they brought a delicacy like boiled peanuts to New York for northerners to fall in love with. Anyone can buy peanuts along with other tasty Lowcountry treats on their online catalog. The peanuts are “guaranteed to turn any party into a cultural event” and are shipped in 5 lb. bags, ready to eat immediately. $32.50 

5. Anson Mills Grits: Anson Mills owner and founder Glenn Roberts is a farming super hero. He is taking seed and rice preservation to new levels as he has reintroduced crops like Carolina Gold Rice. His products are served on menus around the world and chefs like Danny Bowien, Dan Barber and David Chang are fans and customers. $5.95 for a 12oz bag 

6. The Local Palate Subscription: We were a little nervous when The Local Palate started covering more than just Charleston’s bustling culinary scene but we now love to read about our other favorite southern towns in each issue. The editors do a great job highlighting up-and-coming food destinations and culinary professionals in cities like Athens, Nashville, Oxford and Memphis. Their insider tours are a great resource to use when you plan your next food road trip. $19.97 

7. Croghan's Jewel Box Silver: Every southern home should have a supply of silver to use for entertaining, even if its handed down over the years. If one is just building a collection, going to a place like Croghan’s, which is owned by knowledgeable Charlestonians, is the best place to start. We recommend the first silver piece purchased to be an engraved silver rice spoon so you can remember the day and memory behind it. $45 

8. Food for the Southern Soul’s Pork Rinds: We have written about Jimmy Hagood's pork rinds before—they are that good. We can eat an entire bag in one seating. Paired with some pimento cheese, like Callie's Biscuits, rinds make the perfect mid-day snack. They also make for a great stocking stuffer or a treat to leave for Santa. $5 

9. Crab Trap and Shrimp Nets: Everyone should own a crab trap and a shrimp net. Those two items can get you everything you need for a great Lowcountry meal. Easy to use (after some practice) and cheap to purchase (you will need to buy them more than once if used enough), they help procure great local seafood, as well as build bonding moments with friends and family. Local seafood market Huff’s carries them both along with other great essentials—oyster cookers, stock pots of all sizes, tongs, oyster knives and more. $50 

10. Abundant Seafood CSF: Fisherman Mark Marhefka is one of the hardest workers we know. Most days he is in his boat for hours or even days catching the amazing fish that you find on every top restaurant’s menu in town. Lucky for locals, we can now get it fresh from the dock with his Community Supported Fishery program. The CSF last for 12 weeks and supplies either 15 or 30 lbs. of fresh, locally caught fish. $120-240 

11. Peninsula Grill’s Ultimate Coconut Cake: This 12 lb. cake is worth every single calorie. A family recipe handed down to the restaurant, pastry chef Claire Chapman whips out several Coconut Cakes each week. It is a favorite for celebrity chefs like Martha Stewart and Bobby Flay who filmed a “Throwdown” show focused around it. $100 

12. Local Beer and Spirits: Over the last few years, a few dozen breweries and distilleries have popped up locally. And if you are going to drink, why not drink local products? Firefly Vodka was one of the first offering spirits and now High Wire Distilling Co. and Stripped Pig Distillery have followed suite. Several breweries are now opened and most of these places offer tours and tastings. The best place to find most of these products is a Bottles Beverage Superstore which has dedicated sections for the local products. 

13. Charleston Wine + Food Festival Tickets: It is a little overwhelming how many events to choose from during the Charleston Wine + Food Festival; there is literally something from everyone. Brew hops, a sandwich feast, breakfasts, lunches and dinners at every imaginable restaurant in town and more. As a non-profit organization, the funds of the festival benefit area culinary scholarship programs. Food hub Grow Food Carolina is also the culinary partner and supporting the Festival helps Grow Food continue to serve as a champion of local farmers and their products. $45-325 

14. Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) Membership: Even though the SFA is not a Charleston based organization, they serve the south and have worked hard to document its important foodways. Their efforts include creating films on local legendary places like Bertha's and Bowen's Island and arranging oral history efforts on the state’s BBQ Trail. SFA host field trips, symposiums and events to promote the importance of southern food and most of these events include a Charleston component. Becoming a member allows the organization to document, study and celebrate the diverse food cultures found in Charleston and throughout the south. $75-500 

15. Sweetgrass Baskets: They might be expensive, but a Sweetgrass basket is the best present to give someone. They are handmade and take days, sometimes months to make. You get to meet the artist when you buy one and they come in all sizes and forms. It’s one of those presents when given, the recipient will always remember and cherish. The best place to find a sweetgrass basket is driving on Highway 17 South in Mt. Pleasant at a road side stand. Starts around $40   

Here's to a happy holiday season and thanks to this guide, an easier and successful year of shopping!

 

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