Food Gifts that Do Iowa Proud

Ally Koch Billhorn of Wilton creates flour-sack tea towels, printed with her famous banana bread recipe.

By Wini Moranville

Sending gifts near and far this holiday season? Consider skipping the usual food-basket catalogs, and offer friends and family a food (or food-related) gift that’s Iowa made or purveyed. And, by the way, this Saturday would be a great time to do so – it’s #SmallBusinessSaturday; the items here hail from small businesses:

• Gong Fu Tea: Eight years ago, I gave a San Francisco-dwelling friend a gift box of rare specialty teas from this East Village shop. She said she’s never found a better white tea than the one I sent her. She continues to order it from our local venue, which attests to just how impressive these teas are.

• Beaverdale Confections: This cute neighborhood candy shop’s homemade chocolate-covered marshmallows are sheer delight; in fact, I try to pop in and buy a small box every time I’m in the area. For someone on your list who’s been very, very good, consider sending the “Cocoa and Marshies” combo gift ($19.95), with homemade marshmallows and a tin of their select hot cocoa powder.

• Famous Banana Bread Flour Sack Heirloom Towel: Food bloggers are small businesses, too (unless they’ve gone mega like the Pioneer Woman!). Ally Koch Billhorn, who blogs from Wilton, Iowa, has recently produced a charming flour-sack tea towel ($17.98), printed with her famous banana bread recipe written in her trademark handwriting. Sweet on its own, the towel will make an even better gift if you bake a batch of the bread to present with it. Order the gift on Billhorn’s Sweet and Savory Eats website.
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.
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