Holiday Food Finds

Jennifer Waldera

Holiday Food Finds


For many right now, ‘tis the season for carols, lights, decorations and all things merry and bright. However, while Hampden is lit up brighter than the Griswold family’s house, and kitschy Christmas Story style leg lamps abound in bars and homes alike, it can seem much less “merry and bright” when the perfect gift ideas seem fa la la la far from your mind’s grasp.


Who truly wants a new sweater adorned with bells or reindeer? And, really, no one needs yet another tie or pair of pajamas. Fortunately, Baltimore is full of local vendors ready to make you look better than Santa with some of the best food related gifts available for your friends and family, whether they’ve been naughty or nice. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas? Maybe you can pick up some of these goodies for yourself!


Ultimate Food Lover’s Find


If you have a friend or relative who is entrenched in Baltimore’s food renaissance, no doubt he or she has a love of going to Woodberry Kitchen, still one of the hottest spots in Baltimore that draws crowds even from (gasp!) D.C., to enjoy some of the best dishes created from local and sustainable ingredients. Owner and Chef Spike Gjerde is known for canning and pickling freshly harvested produce in order to use them throughout the winter months, and now these tasty products are available for sale.

For your brother or dad who loves his food hot, try a bottle of the Snake Oil Hot Sauce or Espellette Pepper Powder. For Mom, try some pickled vegetables, a specialty of Woodberry. And for Grandma? Any of the Woodberry preserves in flavors like apple-mint jelly, caramel apple sauce or apple butter will be a treat not soon forgotten.

These products can all be found at either Woodberry Kitchen in Clipper Mill, or their newest sister restaurant, Shoo-Fly Diner in Belvedere Square.


For The Home Cook

If you have an aspiring chef in your life, or someone who just loves to create meaty masterpieces with new flavors, look no further than Haute Mess Kitchen.

Haute Mess Kitchen’s production center on Sherwood Road creates original dry rubs, sauces and condiments. Committed to creating tasty small batch products to enhance any dish, this local vendor can provide just a jar or two of what you seek, be it a sweet-spicy dry rub like their Steak Candy, or an amazing Barbeque sauce laced with whiskey, like the Bourbon Bath Ultimate Whiskey BBQ Sauce, or they can create a customizable gift basket, starting at $20.

There are a variety of vendors that sell Haute Mess Kitchen’s products, or you can order them from their website (where you can also find a listing of the local shops carrying their products): In season, you can also find Haute Mess at the Fell’s Point Farmer’s Market.


For The Sweet Tooth

Who doesn’t love sweets during the holidays? For adults and children alike, you can bring some amazing treats to your friends and family. From full blown baskets and other large gifts, to smaller stocking stuffers, sweet treats are the way to go for those who love to indulge.

For those who love anything with sea salt caramel, look no further than Kilwin’s in Fell’s Point on Thames Street who offers many selections but specializes in all things sea salt caramel. While this shop is part of a larger nationwide organization, the selection of decadent treats definitely warrants a visit. Many locals still are not aware of this new gem. Be the bearer of good news, and sweeter treats, by gifting your friends and family with some of the best caramels enrobed in dark or milk chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. Or, for a last minute gift, have a few of their “puffs” wrapped up to enjoy. This indulgent treat consists of several large marshmallows on a stick, covered in chocolate, drizzled with caramel, and sprinkled with sea salt. Bring on the holiday cheer!


For The Vegan/Gluten Free Food Lover In Your Life

If you have vegan friends or family, it is likely that you shy away from food gifts. It can be intimidating to buy for those with food restrictions. However, your problems are now solved! Sweet Duke’s Vegan Bakery takes all the guesswork out of buying amazing food gifts for your vegan friends.



Working out of Mt. Washington, the founders of Sweet Duke’s Vegan Bakery make a commitment to creating “small batch organic vegan confections” while using the most local and organic ingredients possible. What vegan food lover won’t embrace that?

Truffles, cookies, doughnuts and more can be purchased with a quick e-mail or phone call. And if you’re looking for something savory? Focaccia bread is available as well. These amazing bakers also have concocted a gluten free menu. Gluten free and vegan? Brilliant. Order their amazing sweets, or delicious bread, and you can even have it shipped if your order is $25 or more.

Check them out at


Still Stumped?

If none of these local and Baltimore based food ideas have hit the nail on the head yet, I suggest? Drinks.

No, not drinks for you for your shopping dilemmas. Drinks as your gifts!

Honestly, I could suggest a million drink related ideas for the holidays, as Maryland has become a mecca of excellent local wine and quality craft beer, and a wide variety of events and tours to experience those. However, one of the hottest Baltimore beverages to hit the shelves this holiday season has been local brewer Full Tilt’s Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout Beer. Not only is it a beverage based shout out to the most iconic Baltimore dessert, the Berger Cookie, it is also one of the hardest beverages to get your hands on since it was launched in early November.

Stores that have stocked this chocolate stout with hints of vanilla, that actually had the Berger cookie introduced in the early brewing stages, have claimed that it has flown off the shelves at record pace. One shop claimed that it was gone within two hours of stocking it, and the launch party at Admiral’s Cup in Fell’s Point started with 4 kegs of it, all gone within only a couple hours.

If you have a beer loving friend who also has a love for all things Baltimore, why not try to track down a four pack of this goodness, put a bow on it, and... find a way to get that lucky recipient to share it with you? After all, you have been hard at work holiday shopping!

Happy holidays and best of luck with your shopping, Baltimore style, Hon!


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