Here is part 5 of my holiday gift guide to encourage everyone to shop local and shop from small businesses—it mostly has food-related gifts. I’ll post another guide soon.
Gift guide part 1
Gift guide part 2
Gift guide part 3
Gift guide part 4
Note: past installments include events that have already taken place, but they also mention local businesses you can still support!
Restaurant Gift Cards
Just a reminder that your favorite local restaurant (or two) can use your support right now. Same with local ice creameries, breweries, wineries…you get the idea! Buy a gift card and you accomplish two things: you have a gift for a foodie friend or family member, and you are helping a small business survive these challenging times.
There are so many sweet Santa Cruz County offerings that I can’t mention them all (I’ve included a couple in previous articles). I’ll highlight a couple here & if possible I’ll include a couple more in a near-future article. Local chocolatiers Mutari Chocolate have lots of delicious gifts like Chocolate Chunk Take & Bake Cookies, craft hot chocolate powder, single origin chocolate bars, and seasonal truffle gift boxes. Order and pick up at 504 A Front St. for someone in town, or have your gift shipped anywhere in the country. Visit mutarichocolate.com.
I don’t know if Anouchka Bakery does gift cards or not, but I just tried baker/owner Anna Landaw’s Snickerdoodle cookies for the first time (her flavors rotate, and she does pies and other items) & I can say with confidence that she knows what she’s doing. And she has free SC County delivery! Update Dec. 13: I discovered she is creating chocolate cream pies & delivering them on Christmas Eve. You can order half-pies or whole pies. Visit anouchkabakery.com.
Last but not least, Anna Lieby launched her new business The Giving Cake earlier this month—but she has been baking for most of her life. She offers boxes of cupcakes or intricate “floral cupcake bouquets” and donates all profits to local nonprofit organizations. Her current list of fund recipients: CASA, Center for Farmworker Families, Digital Nest, Homeless Garden Project, Imagine Supported Living Services, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services, Resource Center for Nonviolence, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, Teen Kitchen Project and Ventana Wilderness Alliance. I’m excited to be a first-time customer soon—I think I’ll start by buying myself a gift! For information, visit IG @thegivingcake or facebook.com/TheGivingCakeSantaCruz.
Jam and More
Speaking of Center for Farmworker Families, Love Cultivated’s owner Natalie McKinney donates five percent of her profits to CFF, which “promotes awareness about the difficult life circumstances of binational farmworker families while proactively inspiring improvement in binational family life both in the US and in Mexico.” Love Cultivated offers “small batch artisan provisions inspired by the farm and orchard.” I have bought and loved Natalie’s products which include jam and marmalade (made from fruit sourced from local farms and farmers’ markets using copper jam pans and no added pectin), goat milk soap (with milk from the McKinney Family goat herd, & flowers from the family’s cottage garden), and gardeners’ salve and whipped body butter. There are very limited quantities left for holiday shopping but remember you can always purchase post-holiday-season. Visit love-cultivated.myshopify.com or IG @love.cultivated.
There are a multitude of local, independent coffee shops that you can support, including Coffeetopia (see Instagram), Cat & Cloud, Eleventh Hour Coffee, Pacific Coffee Roasting Co. (see Facebook), People’s Coffee (see FB), Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co. & Verve. They all have gift cards and various products for sale this holiday season. Verve is also offering (online only) holiday packages like the Cozy Coffee Gift Bundle. It comes with a 12-ounce bag of Holiday Blend coffee, a Verve-branded Kinto mug, a candle, and a Verve knit beanie. In addition, they are doing “Holiday Drink Happy Hours” at all of their locations from 2pm to closing where customers can get seasonal signature beverages for $3. This season’s specialties include Café De Olla Con Panna, which is a shot of espresso sweetened with spiced piloncillo syrup and topped with spiced whipped cream. Verve refers to it as “a holiday take on a classic Mexican drink.” Visit vervecoffee.com.
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