Let’s talk about food and drink. Specifically, where you buy gifts for your favorite epicureans.
Our first stop when picking out a nice bottle of wine for a friend or holiday host is Henry & Son in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood. For beer, we head to Elevated, Ombibulous, or The Ale Jail; for spirits, Surdyk’s or Zipps Liquors. For coffee obsessives, there’s Wesley Andrews, Bootstrap, and scores of other local roasters. Even tea lovers are blessed in the Twin Cities — with TeaSource, Jinx Tea, and the newly opened Northeast Tea House.
We’re also fans of gifting functional handmade pottery and kitchen utensils. Foundry Home Goods, Forage Modern Workshop, Northern Clay Center, and The Grand Hand Gallery consistently deliver on this front. For cookware and cutlery, check out Eversharp Knives, Cooks of Crocus Hill, and Kitchen Window.
For stylish European kitchenwares, we are head over heels for Flotsam + Fork. For Japanese imports like donabe clay pots, ŪMEI is your best bet. For all things Nordic (Swedish dishrags, salty licorice, etc.), we dig the gift shops at Norway House, American Swedish Institute, and the nearly century-old Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace. For cookbooks, our go-tos are Magers & Quinn and Moon Palace.
If we want to impress a meat lover, we’ll pick up a little something-something from Lowry Hill Meats; for our vegan pals, we’d raid the shelves at Eureka Compass Vegan Food or The Herbivorous Butcher. And for thoughtful hostess gifts and edible stocking stuffers, you can’t beat Golden Fig Fine Foods, France 44, United Noodles, or Dragon Star Oriental Foods. Suffice it to say, nobody on our ‘Nice’ list ever goes hungry.
Brick-and-mortar boutiques aside, we love ourselves some Minnesota makers. What follows is the third installment of our epic Minnesota-themed gift guide, dedicated to delicious #MNMade gift ideas for food & drink fanatics.
1. Grade A Rooftop Gold wildflower honey ($16) from The Store at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Mia has maintained rooftop hives since 2013, with a lil’ help from the University of Minnesota Bee Squad.
2. As the name suggests, BA Craftmade Aprons is best known for its sturdy, stylish aprons. Now founder Kathleen Meier has gone and designed a chef-quality, eight-pocket knife roll ($135). The wax canvas blend is lined with 50-50 Kevlar/Nomex for durability, making it water-repellant, flame-resistant, and super tough to cut.
3. The square-cut pattern on Lokstad Products’ hard maple double cut rolling pin ($36 at Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace) is ideal for making lefse, flatbread, and crackers.
4. This set of 10 oz. low ball glasses ($20) from Tattersall Distilling was upcycled from disused spirit bottles.
5. Bellecour’s bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup ($9-$24 at Cooks of Crocus Hill) is made with smoked maple syrup from Somerskogen Sugarbush in Minnetrista.
7. The newly opened Northeast Tea House in Minneapolis specializes in matcha, which is ground daily on a granite mill imported from Japan. Bring the good stuff home with one of the shop’s two monthly matcha subscriptions (from $35 or $55). Included in the price is a free bamboo whisk and a 10 percent discount on in-store tea purchases.
8. A coffee subscription ($14 per week) from Wildflyer is another winner. The beans are roasted on Wednesdays and 12 oz. bags ship on Thursdays. Worth noting for your giftee: Wildflyer is an inspiring nonprofit specialty coffee company with a 9-month employment-training program that targets youth experiencing homelessness.
9. Christina Nguyen’s Keep It Spicy condiment set ($19.50) includes one 6 oz. jar of Hai Hai’s tropical coconut chili crisp and one 6 oz. jar of Hola Arepa’s nut-and-seed salsa macha. As the kids would say, that’s fire.
10. Sign ’em up for Bottle Service, the wine club from Henry & Son and our Reason to Love Minnesota No. 149. There are three tiers of entry: Frugal ($45 a month for three hand-selected bottles of under-$20 wine), Funky ($75 a month for three mid-tier bottles), and Fancy ($150 a month for three bottles of cellar-worthy wine). Whatever price point you choose, the focus is always on rare and revelatory finds from a global roster of independent producers.
11. Tokheim Stoneware‘s domed garlic roaster ($49) comes in six colors. The Lac Qui Parle County-based studio also makes rosemaled bowls, utility crocks, spoon rests, and salt jars.
12. Pump up the jam, pump it up! Specifically, Jay Jay’s Jams and Such, which launched an online shop over Thanksgiving. Among the founder’s 4 and 8 oz. offerings ($6-$10): blueberry jelly, caramel apple jam, strawberry mango jam, and mango jalapeño jam.
13. North Mallow‘s S’mores kit ($35) comes with two full-sized bags of marshmallows (vanilla bean, chocolate chip, and/or caramel swirl), graham crackers baked with locally milled Baker’s Field Flour, and six mini Chuao chocolate bars.
14. Hot damn. This is for the serious chef: a stunning mosaic Damascus chef knife ($1,425) with a maple burl handle from Luke Dellmyer of Northstar Forge in Carver.
15. Earl Giles‘ deep, molasses-y Piloncillo cocktail syrup ($7) works as well on pancakes as it does in an Old Fashioned.
17. The Essentials Sampler box ($65) from Yia Vang of Union Hmong Kitchen includes the chef’s delectable Tiger Bite sauce, Mama Vang’s fermented hot sauce, his housemade chili oil, umami salt, and a coffee-Szechuan spice rub.
18. The Lake Superior Bounty Box ($65) from Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth includes one smoked whitefish and two packages of smoked lake trout.
19. When you can’t take ’em for omakase, bring the omakase experience home with this 19-piece natural sushi making kit ($48.95) from BambooMN in Minneapolis.
20. Order a dozen delicate French macarons ($24) from Joy Marsh Stephens of Blissful Cakery, our Reason to Love Minnesota No. 184. Her flavors are forever changing but always creative. The recent lineup included Earl Grey Latte, Red Velvet, Buttered Popcorn, and Maple Brown Sugar.
21. A collaboration with Tattersall Distilling, the Humdinger ($15) from Sharab Shrubs is loaded with strawberries and grapefruit, but gets its signature zing from balsamic and cane vinegar and a dash of rose water.
22. For the Swedish cat lover in your life, a Dala natural cotton tea towel ($14) from Schaefer Design Co in Duluth.
23. Hakkeblokk End Grain Butcher Block ($298.50) in two-tone maple from Fjelsted Nord in Hastings.
24. The new 224-page Land of 10,000 Plates: Stories and Recipes from Minnesota by Patrice M. Johnson ($24.95 at Minnesota Historical Society) leaves no Midwestern culinary stone unturned: Topics of discussion include meat raffles, fish frys, pizza farms, SPAM lefse pizza, and even Hmong hotdish.
25. Hello, stocking stuffer. This charming six-pack of mini chocolate bars ($14) from TC Chocolate in Fergus Falls includes inspired flavors such as lemon poppyseed white chocolate and dark milk with cocoa nibs and Himalayan pink salt.
26. For the pal who could run a CSA in their backyard: vegetable and herb markers ($1.75 each) from Fuzzy Loon Designs in Waite Park.
27. This salsa and hot sauce combo pack ($25) from Double Take Salsa Co. includes the brand’s signature hot sauce, a sweet corn salsa, and El Jefe, a flavorful smoked hatch salsa.
28. Organic Fence Jumper Bourbon from RockFilter Distillery in Spring Grove won a silver medal from the American Distilling Institute. It’s made with Oaxacan green corn and cherrywood-smoked rye by former Navy combat fighter pilot Christian Myrah. Buy it at Zipps Liquors.
29. For caffeine fiends, a pourover stand ($110; Hario drip cone included) handcrafted from American white ash by Solid Manufacturing Co. in Minneapolis.
30. To really win their heart, gift it alongside a Trio of Rarity ($42) from Minneapolis roaster SK Coffee. The lineup includes three rare lots: Gesha Red Honey from Colombia, a Mundo Novo nano-lot from Oaxaca, and a Spice Process coffee from Colombia. The first round roasts and ships on December 4, so place your order now.
31. For your fishing buddy: a Northwoods landing net ($175) with a handsome maple handle and wenge and sapele hoop, made by Dead Drift Net Company of Minneapolis.
32. Throw in this seasoning blend of Wild River Herbs ($8) from Golden Fig Fine Foods in St. Paul. Your giftee can sprinkle it on fresh trout or walleye before cooking for kick of dill and lemon zest.
33. The single-origin hookup of the year is The Get Down Coffee Co.‘s Bensa Kokosa ($24), natural sun-dried beans from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia. The Get Down was started by Houston White, founder of Camden barbershop HWMR, with a lil’ help from Dan Anderson of Dogwood Coffee Co. It currently operates out of Dogwood’s roasting facility but has the goal of opening its first retail coffee bar next spring.
34. These petite striped porcelain bowls ($40) from Minneapolis ceramicist Liz Pechacek are quite versatile. Nuts, olives, only green M&Ms—the possibilities are endless!
35. Dock 6 Pottery is the master of the geode coaster, priced $10 to $12.95 a piece and available in every color of the rainbow.
37. Perfect for baking with the kiddos: the Octopus cake pan ($42.50) from Nordic Ware.
39. Jinx Tea‘s sample pack ($12.95) features six of the Minneapolis shop’s most popular flavors, including Wild Picked Black and Qilan Oolong.
40. It’s worth stalking local ceramicist and Richard Bresnahan protégé Dom Venzant on Instagram for a nonstop beauty pageant of wood-fired functional pottery. DM him for pricing and availability and keep an eye on his internet shop, Symco Pottery Works, for updates.
41. Pfefferminz3 from Dampfwerk Distillery in St. Louis Park is a northern German peppermint schnapps liqueur made with 12 different botanicals, including hyssop, yarrow flower, and blessed thistle. Buy it at Zipps Liquors and serve frozen.
42. A lovely gift for quarantine bakers: A 4 lb. bag of Baker’s Field’s hard-to-find, single-origin Heritage Einkorn wheat ($12-$16), organically grown by Luke Peterson of A-Frame Farm in Madison, MN. It’s available as whole grain flour or unmilled grain.
43. House of Halva‘s kosher, vegan, gluten-free pistachio halva is available in third-pound, half-pound, full-pound, and full-cake (7 lb.) sizes, ranging from $7.99 to $150. Other flavors include Sea Salt Dark Chocolate, Black Sesame, Toasted Coconut, and Rose Oil.
44. Fancy a D.I.Y. harvest mule or spiced pear hot toddy? Grab a cocktail kit to-go ($30-$40) from the new Forge & Foundry Distillery in Stillwater.
45. In Pints North: Minnesota’s Craft Beer Culture ($19.95 at Minnesota Historical Society), author Katelyn Regenscheid digs into the state’s craft brewing revolution, covering the creative brewers and business folk who’ve made our taprooms some of the best in the nation.
46. Get ’em what they really want: a Beer for a Year subscription ($240 annually or $20 per month) from Fair State Brewing Cooperative. The deal includes two crowlers of the giftee’s choice each month for a full year, plus access to mystery crowler packs, a Fair State tote bag, and tin tacker.
47. Oh, they fancy, huh? Slide ’em this sophisticated serving tray ($119) from Ken Zakovich, founder of Timbr Design in Duluth.
49. The 13-inch butternut stirring spoon ($45) from Vevang MPLS, a workshop, gallery, and studio in Northeast Minneapolis, is a real beaut.
50. Serious Jam offers 3-, 6-, and 12-month Jam of the Month subscriptions, starting at $22. Picture a slice of morning toast slathered with blueberry bourbon sage jam, chai spiced pear butter, Meyer lemon earl grey marmalade…
51. Du Nord’s Mixed Blood blended whiskey ($42) won a silver medal in the American Whiskey category at the Las Vegas Global Spirit Awards.
52. Introduce a beloved tea fan to Well Rooted Teas in Falcon with this lovely holiday gift set ($80). Packaged in a sustainably harvested pine box, the set includes your choice of three tea blends, plus a double-walled glass bottle and infuser basket.
53. Gavin Kaysen, the celebrated chef behind Spoon and Stable and Demi, has launched Chef GK at Home, a winter series of virtual cooking classes. From January through March, Chef Kaysen joins guests online to teach the ins and outs of meal prep using seasonal, local ingredients. The January 27 class is all about pantry hacks to liven up winter cooking. February 24 is devoted to pot roast. March 10 focuses on crudo and tartare. Tickets are $150 for the six-part series or $30 for individual classes; a box of ingredients is an optional add-on and available for curbside pickup at Spoon and Stable.
54. There’s a hip-swaggering whiskey in town and it’s name is Brother Justus. What makes this Benedictine-style American single malt so special is that it’s aged in Minnesota oak barrels, giving the hooch a richer, fuller flavor. The distillery makes three varieties: Silver Whiskey ($23.50), which is deliberately handcrafted to “showcase the pure barely and waters of the North”; American Whiskey ($28), which plays up those butterscotch-smooth Minnesota oak casks; and earthy Cold-Peated Whiskey ($40), which captures “the essence of Minnesota’s ancient peat bogs.”
55. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to dig into the Midwest Box ($75) from France 44 Cheese Shop? The cast includes specialty goods from Minnesota and Wisconsin, including Thumbs shortbread cookies, Ames’ single-source honey, Patti’s rosemary nuts, Potters’ organic crackers, a fat summer sausage, a half pound of France 44-exclusive Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese, and a half pound of Red Barn’s three-year heritage cheddar. Steel Toe Brewing’s IPA or a bottle of Keepsake Wild Dry Cider are optional add-ons.
Still shopping? Check out our other holiday roundups, including…
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Art + Home Goods
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Jewelry
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Kids
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Pets
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Clothing + Accessories
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Beauty + Wellness
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Sports + Recreation
Minnevangelist’s Epic Minnesota Gift Guide: Experiences