Deck the house with delicious yummies…fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when this foodie is telling you all about the good cheer she’s run across the past year. Some are new local favorite things, plus a few alumni that are always in rotation. We just can’t not.  As I do my local thing throughout the year, I naturally come across new and fun local producers that make the season brighter. It is my duty to let you know who they are and how to get them for your stocking, your tree or table. And one lucky reader is going to win this beauty of annual glorious deliciousness.

Let’s begin:

Abby’s Better Nut Butter (Date Pecan Butter)

 To say that Abby’s Better Date Pecan is a top fave would be an understatement. Abby was 15-years-old when she started making her own nut butter, which turned into a business. Now three years later, you’ll find her nut butters on the shelves of most main grocery stores regionally. Abby’s Better also has a website where you can purchase nut butter, bars and merchandise to your nutty delight at www.abbysbetter.com

Y’all Sauce

As seen in YES! Weekly a few weeks back, Y’all was born Baptist in Louisville, Kentucky, and moved to Winston-Salem where it’s made with passion. We love Y’all Sauce because it really goes with everything. Y’all became a fave when we tried the Come Back sauce in late summer. Then the Jezebel sauce went on the Thanksgiving turkey and man, oh man was that good! Guess what? The winner gets a gift set of all three Y’all Sauces: Henry Bain, Come Back, and Jezebel. You can find Y’all Sauce at Southern Home & Kitchen and Canteen Market & Bistro in Winston-Salem. Check out their website, www.yallsauce.com for retailers or to have it shipped to you.

As Good As It Gets Salsa

I love a good salsa, especially a local one. Andrea Cardwell makes the Triad’s newest salsa, pours it and distributes it all by hand. This salsa is super fresh-tasting with small chunks of veggies you can see and taste. The black bean and corn salsa is just as good, and both types of salsa come in mild, medium, and hot. Another flavor, get this, called Butt Burner is available in regular chunky salsa only and is made with jalapenos, habaneros and Carolina Reaper peppers. I tried it and lived! You can find As Good As It Gets at many local Lowes Foods, Colony Urban Farm Store and small grocers. Check out www.asgoodasitgets-nc.com for a complete list of locations.

Bee Pollen at Colony Urban Farm Store

Bee pollen? You mean you can actually eat that stuff? Why, yes! It’s fruity, floral and nutty. It tastes, to me, like a honey- infused grape nut cereal. It’s superb on smoothies, smoothie bowls and yogurt. It’s suitable for ice cream, salads and other recipes that might require a touch of crunch. The possibilities are endless. Bee pollen is considered one of nature’s most complex foods, as it is a complete protein and stocked with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and anti-oxidants. A spoonful before a workout can give you a bit of energy without it being heavy on your stomach, and a little goes a long way. This bee pollen is produced locally and is supported by Bee Our Future, a local bee conservation initiative that delivers, installs and maintains beehives for businesses and residences throughout the Triad. Colony Urban Farm Store is located at 492 West End Blvd., Winston-Salem www.colonyurbanfarm.com 

14-Degrees Coffee from Twin City Hive 

Joey Burdette and Terry Miller, owners of Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge in Winston-Salem, have endeared themselves to many with their cozy coffee shop with desserts, confections, pastries and teas. This fall, they launched their very own specially roasted coffee, and great coffee must go on the guide, foodies. You know it’s fresh and wonderful when there’s a roast date on it. Note to yourself: All coffee should have a roast date on it. TCH is located at 301 Brookstown Ave Ste. 300, Winston-Salem.

Fainting Goat Spirits Tiny Cat Vodka

A triadfoodies Holiday Gift Guide would not be the same without some local booze. And we think Fainting Goat Spirits Tiny Cat Vodka is the local staple spirit for your bar and your party. Tiny Cat starts with organic grain and finishes clean in your glass. Distiller Andrew Norman is even throwing in a recipe for his famous Slightly ImPEARed Cocktail for you. Check it out at the end of the list. Get the Cat at ABC stores or visit  www.faintinggoatspirits.com.

Batistini Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cooking and condiments in my kitchen have been elevated to new heights thanks to Batistini Farms olive oils and vinegar. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but you pretty much can’t go wrong with their truly impressive and earthy and fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil with organic notes. This EVOO is meant to be savored as a condiment, not to be cooked with. A balsamic drizzled into this oil for a salad or even better, to dip your bread in, is not to be outdone. You’ll see why this combo is a staple at renowned restaurants, such as Blackberry Farm.  We also love Tom and Cindy Sephton’s commitment to bringing quality olive oil and vinegar to the area and so much knowledge along with them.  You can find Batistini Farms at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Bistro, just to name a few.  Visit www.b-farms.com for a full list of locations or to order.

Shady Creek Farm Facial Scrubs

You know how sometimes we like to mix it up and throw in something that’s not food? Well, this is one of those times. And our favorite non-food this year is a reusable facial scrub from Dallas, North Carolina. How cute is this? Use these scrubs to get the grime off your pretty face or put on some toner. When you’re finished, you toss them in the wash and let them dry. Reuse for another day and feel great that you’re not adding more trash to the world. Shady Creek Farm also sells “Swiffer”-type wipes, washcloths, soaps and a whole host of sustainable goodness. Check www.shadycreekfarmandnursery.com to order or for retailers.

Gorilla Grains

A perennial fave in my house and was featured in our original 2015 gift guide. We felt the need to bring Alicia Rehburg’s amazing 100 percent granola back into the lineup mainly because I’ve moved farther away from easy access to this crunchy goodness. Well, let’s just say absence has made the heart and tummy grow fonder. What makes Gorilla Grains stand out is that it is buttery. Other granola has oil as their fat, but the Gorilla’s is butter, and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll understand.  You can find this amazing granola at Musten & Crutchfield, Elon College and various markets or order it online at www.gorillagrains.com 

Black Mountain Chocolate Fruit Cake

The quintessential reigning alumnus that’s never been off the list and never shall it be, unless they stop baking it. The boozy, chocolaty concoction with Broad Branch Distillery’s Night Lab is for adults only, and oh it’s so good. The chocolate fruit cake is great with wine, decadent with coffee or tea and naughty with a bit more bourbon on the side (in a good way). It’s a Black Mountain delight made at 732 NW Trade St., Winston-Salem.  www.blackmountainchocolate.com.

Slightly ImPEARed

Created by: Distiller and mixologist Andrew Norman of Fainting Goat Spirits

1.5-oz. Tiny Cat Vodka

0.75-oz. Winter spiced simple syrup*

0.75-oz. Fresh lemon juice

2-oz. Pear juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a coupe or martini glass.

*To make the winter spiced simple syrup combine 1-cup brown sugar with 1-cup warm water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add one clove, two star anise pods, three cinnamon sticks, a ¾-inch of peeled ginger and sit for 10 minutes. Strain out the solids and keep refrigerated up to a month.

Deck yourself and friends with these local goodies! Shop local and enjoy. Now to win this awesome collection of local delights, follow us on our Facebook page and comment how you’d use the one item you’re most excited about.

Happy Holidays!

Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.

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