11 Local Shops for Your Holiday Food Gifts

AllSpice Culinarium offers several gift box options for every cook in your kitchen, including the one pictured above. Other options include a barbecue box packed with spice rubs and sauce and a baker’s box filled with pantry necessities. There’s even a bloody mary kit for anyone who prefers mixing drinks to mixing batter.

Writer: Karla Walsh

Despite the fact that online sales are starting earlier each year, Black Friday still signals the unofficial start to holiday gifting season. That’s just two days away. But rather than chasing the latest flash sales and purchasing from a big-box store this year, I’m making a concerted effort to shop local as much as possible. Buying something from a small, independent local store infuses more than three times as much money into the local economy compared with an equivalent-priced purchase made at a chain, according to estimates from the American Independent Business Alliance.

To make it easier to fill in for your favorite food gifts, I’ve pulled together a guide about where you can find similar options to your mega-brand favorites much closer to home.

Shop Williams Sonoma for kitchen gear? Swap here: Kitchen Collage. This East Village shop has so many superb choices, ranging from cocktail mixers to bakeware to the latest kitchen gadgets, that it’s impossible to recommend just one thing. You’ll find plenty of stocking stuffers as well, such as the fancy salt or vanilla.

Shop World Market for global pantry staples and unique stocking stuffers? Swap here: Eden and AllSpice Culinarium. While you might think of Eden as an East Village beauty boutique, it’s actually home to a surprising array of top-notch olive oils, non-alcoholic aperitifs and honeys. Nearby, AllSpice offers ultra-giftable multi-packs of hot sauce, cocktail bitters and flavored maple syrups to share with devoted home cooks.

Shop Amazon for cookbooks? Swap here: Des Moines Mercantile and Storyhouse Bookpub. Combat indecision by peeking through the curated selection at these two shops, located in Highland Park and the East Village, respectively. Both help narrow down the options to only the most coffee table-worthy (yet usable) tomes—”Breadsong” and a bag of locally milled flour is my go-to housewarming or holiday gift for my baking BFFs.

Shop Costco to stock up on wine? Swap here: The Cave. A “Curated Pack” is the move if you want to outsource the decision-making. The staff at this Western Gateway natural wine shop inquire about your desired price point as well as the recipient’s adventure level and preferred grape color (unsure? “Surprise me” is an option!), and will hand-pick the perfect two-pack of bottles.

Other fun swaps: Instead of going to Target or Aldi for advent calendars, check out Prairie Rose Desserts‘ macaron advent calendar; follow @prairierosedesserts on Instagram for updates about availability. If you’ve always shopped at Harry & David for a fruit basket delivery, consider Boesen the Florist’s offerings. Rather than ordering from Thrive Market for your vegan and gluten-free menus, stock up on the pantry items and baked goods at Thistle’s Summit. And if you’re looking at Sur La Table or MasterClass for online cooking classes, swap them out with Cooking With Alessandra, Wallace Centers of Iowa or Chef Cass’s Classes.

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