The 2014 American Provisions Gift Guide

We can officially stop pretending we aren’t ready yet when Bing Crosby’s croon comes on the radio, because the month we wait for all year is finally here!

Hopefully you survived whatever giant sales you took part in this weekend—whether you prefer the FOMO stress of Cyber Monday, or the war games of Black Friday, you are on the other side of it now. All that’s left is filling in the holes between flat screens and Xboxes with thoughtful, unique choices your friends and family don’t know they need. That is where we come in.

You can view last year’s gift guide for additional ideas, but here we will focus mostly on new giftable products we’re excited about (with a few familiar favorites tossed in). Hopefully you can find something for everyone on your list—even if your family doesn’t know the difference between a chocolate truffle and a truffle mushroom, everybody loves to eat. Wake up their inner foodie with some of these treats!

Stocking Stuffers

We went a little crazy with the tiny jars this year, so you have tons of options when it comes to petite treats. The Ames Honey jars from Minnesota come in six different plant varieties, meaning the bees pollinated everything from dark, mysterious Buckwheat to crisp, clear Basswood. They’re even labeled with which hive and farm they come 4 (1)

From Wisconsin’s Quince & Apple, we also have miniature jam jars in all your year-round favorite varieties like Fig & Black Tea, Shallot Red Wine Confit, Tart Cherry & White Tea, & Pear with Honey & Ginger. And from Vermont’s Fat Toad Farm, we have jars of their lush, decadent goat’s milk caramel in flavors like Salted Bourbon, Cold Brew Coffee, and Spicy Dark Chocolate—these are stupid good drizzled on top of hot chocolate, ice cream, or apple pie.

And in case you have a stocking without a sweet-toothed owner, we’ve also got tiny jars of boutique salts harvested in Netarts Bay, Oregon by Jacobsen Salt Co. in flavors like Ghost Chili, Pinot Noir, and Smoked Cherrywood. We even have an Umbrian Grey Salt with White Truffles, so whatever you make for supper after opening presents is sure to get a kick from one of these.

Who Doesn’t Love Candy?

Get everyone from gramps to toddlers in touch with their sweet tooth by treating them to some updated versions of the childhood sugar rush. You can swap Hershey kisses for individually wrapped goat’s milk caramels from Big Picture Farm in Vermont, or Salty Caramels from Jacobsen, a salt harvester off the coast of Oregon. photo 2 (3)

For those who like fruity candy, we have grown-up confections from Quin, a Portland candy shop who craft their sugar-coated gumdrops and chewy Starburst-like tropical chews using locally-grown fruit. And you’ve even got mom & dad covered with Jacobsen’s Salty Licorice & the Barrel-Aged Bourbon Nib Brittle from Nashville’s Olive & Sinclair (we bet Santa would love a few pieces of these instead of stale cookies this year).

For The Cheese Lover

If you’ve got a curd nerd in your pack but don’t want to travel with perishables, we have plenty of cheese accessories that even the most die-hard turophile doesn’t have yet. Whether they’re a total aficionado or just starting to learn about the stuff, the Formaticum Cheese Journal is a great way to keep track of new cheeses and old favorites—on each page, it has space to record the type of rind, milk type, flavor profile, wine & food pairings, texture, and even the cheesemonger who sold it to you (we especially like that part). Also from Formaticum we have boxes of cheese-shop-grade cheese paper (the same kind we use behind the counter), complete with stickers that label your cheese’s specifications and look sharp as hell.

photo 1 (3)For the cheese geek on-the-go, we also have classy picnic knives for easy cutting when you’re out and about—available with a wild boar etching, with a wine key tucked into the handle, or with a leather string for securing to your belt loop, it will be hard to choose just one. And to round it all out, why not toss in a jar of jam or honey? We love the Salty Caramel Apple Butter from Brooklyn’s Anarchy in a Jar, or the mix of Nuts in Honey from Cambridge’s Bonnie’s Jams.

Hot Stuff

If you aren’t a heat freak yourself, it can be intimidating to pick out a sauce that will impress the chili-heads in your life, but fret not! We’ve done the worrying for you and stocked our shelves with spicy sauces that are impressively packaged and expertly crafted. For starters, the wax-dipped lids on Chicago-made Lillie’s Q Hot Mess sauce can be turned to reveal a pasty condiment made by grinding up chili peppers soaked in vinegar for months. Also wax-dipped and tied with twine, we have New Jersey’s take on South African Piri Piri sauce from Mazi, who also make a spicier Habanero Harvest sauce.

photo 3 (3)For the locavore in your life, we carry the entire line of Dorchester’s Alex’s Ugly Sauce, available in a mild Cholula-like Cayano, a medium Original, and their spiciest Dragon sauce). And if you or someone you know loves the hots on our Italian sandwich, get them a little jar of Italian Iasa Hot Peppers in Olive Oil, a spicy relish great on sandwiches or in pasta dishes.

For The Beer Snobs

photo 5 (1)If you’re buying for a DIY-friendly fan of the suds, spring for the Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Brewing Kits. But if you’re looking for something a little more easy-going, put together a set of elegant holiday ale, a reclaimed wood bottle opener made just down the street from us in Southie, and a journal to log new, exciting beer discoveries. These books let you track the beer’s ABV, IBUs, format, price, and flavor profile using a detailed wheel of options. They’re tiny, affordable, and great stocking stuffers for the over-21 crowd in your family.

A Very Chocoholic Christmas

photo 1 (4)Sure, you can please a chocoholic with just about any combination of sugar and cacao. This time of year, though, why not surprise them with these seasonal flavors from some of our favorite sustainable roasters, importers, and chocolatiers? Missouri’s Askinosie Chocolate crafted a Dark Chocolate Gingerbread bar that comes wrapped in coloring-book paper with three crayons attached, perfect for sharing with the young’uns. Somerville’s Taza Chocolate also has their cult-classic stone-ground chocolate available in cinnamon, eggnog, peppermint, and gingerbread this year. And for the classiest person on your list, we’ve got elegant offerings from Somerville’s EH Chocolatier, including shiny BeerNut bars that use Guinness & Pretty Things Jack D’Or, Pecan Clusters featuring a Knob Creek Bourbon Caramel, and Caramelized White Chocolate Nib bars that taste like browned butter laced with a salty crunch.

Cheese Kits For The DIY-er

photo 3 (4)We are so excited to be carrying these kits this year. We love to witness the enterprising craftiness of New England’s cheesemakers, and can’t wait to see what our local, neighborhood folks come up with in their own kitchen experiments. These Urban Cheesecraft Cheesemaking kits—available in a Feta, Greek Yogurt, & Yogurt Cheese set, or a Mozzarella & Ricotta set—come with non-GMO vegetarian rennet tablets, non-GMO citric acid, butter muslin cheesecloth, cheese salt, and a glass thermometer, so you’ll be ready to tackle several batches and hopefully make some creative additions of your own. All you’ll need is a good-quality, grass-fed milk, which we have at the shop. If you stumble upon the world’s best cheese recipe, we hope you’ll bring us a sample!

For The Kitchen Library

We’ve stepped up our cookbook game over the past few months, and are honored to have these big names on our shelves. The Mason Shaker’s companion Shake cocktail recipe book is stunning and user-friendly, and we swear it’ll make even the frequent Coors Light drinker crave a bizarro Manhattan. The Mast Brothers Chocolate Family Cookbook features the impressive story of their chocolate dynasty, and puts chocolate in places you’d never expect—dark cacao-laced salty spaghetti, anyone? Roberta’s Cookbook, from the famed Bushwick pizzeria carved out of a concrete bunker, mixes gourmet seasonality with storytelling more compelling than the sexy food pictures (Roberta’s gained its reputation for launching the urban gardening movement in its backyard, and for its loose, drug-laced party vibes that lasted long past business hours).

photo 4 (2)On the more professional side of things, we have Alice Waters’ inimitable tome, The Art of Simple Food. As the pioneer of the Slow Food Movement in the US, Waters has crafted a book here that celebrates classics, regional and seasonal eating, and simplicity—get this for the cook who can’t live without their copy of Joy of Cooking. And finally, we also have Eat Good Food: A Grocer’s Guide to Shopping, Cooking, and Creating Community Through Food from San Francisco’s renowned Bi-Rite Market. Here, the owner guides you through each department of your local grocer and teaches you how to build a better pantry, how to cook from it, and how to reconnect with the people and places that feed us.

For The Amateur Mixologist

photo 2 (4)In addition to the Shake cocktail recipe book, you can craft a pretty solid set for the cocktail crafter on your list with the Mason Shaker, a jar of dark, sultry Luxardo cherries, a cocktail syrup like this Grenadine or the Rhubarb Hops from Wisconsin’s Quince & Apple, and a bottle of locally-made Bitters (in addition to the Bittermen’s Boston Bittahs pictured, we carry Scrappy’s Lavender & Orange varieties, and Hella Bitters Aromatic bitters). Maybe they’ll even thank you with a Christmas Day cocktail on the fly 😉

All of the above-mentioned products are in the store now, come and get yours while supplies last! 

We can put any of these goodies into a gift box for you—call or email the shop with details on what you’d like in your box and we can make it for you right away. 

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