holiday gift guide with a soul

holiday gift guide with a soul

“Every time you buy from a small business someone does a happy dance”

I read this somewhere and it resonated so much with me. It personifies my own experience as a small biz owner. It is not an easy road but it is a very passionate one. We make our products with so much love, sacrifice and personal investments and place quality and soul above dollars, often making smaller margins but proud of what we make. So yes, when anyone buys one of my books or spice blends, I do a very animated happy dance!

I love the holidays and gift giving but do feel that it all has become very commercial. So I wanted to do a gift guide with items with some soul behind them while supporting and empowering small owned businesses and do-good companies. These are a few of my favorite things… I hope I can help you discover some small treasures.

  1. Oh Chocolat – these amazing brownie bites were created by Miami’s own Roger Borges, who turned his hobby into a business. Roger began making these out of his kitchen and now has a store front in Miami. Made with Parisian chocolate flown to Miami monthly, one of these and a cafe au lait and you will feel like you are in a French patisserie.
  2. Alderwood Smoked Salt – I stumbled upon this salt during a visit to Pike’s Market in Seattle. Actually my nose lead me to it, when I got a whiff of all of the amazing spices at World Spice Merchants. It has become my  favorite finishing salt! It adds a touch of smokiness and takes a dish to the next level. It is perfect to add to a basket or as stocking stuffer.
  3. JoJo Tea Sachet Gift Box – Tico Aran and Michael Ortiz, 2 Miami high school friends, want to make the world a better place through tea. For them, tea is enlightening and calming. This tea gift box is second best to visiting their tea speakeasy in Miami. If you are in Miami go check them out! I never thought I would say I love chamomile tea, but now I do!
  4. Peace & Plenty Hot Sauce – I like to call myself a hot sauce “sommelier”. My fridge is stocked with all sorts of spicy deliciousness and this one, which I tried during a dinner at Nashville’s “The Southern”,  is at the top of my list right now.
  5. Jammy Yummy – These innovative vegetable jams were born out of a love story. The founder was making a birthday dinner for her husband and wanted to really outdo herself. And so she did! One week later she had created 6 vegetable jam flavors! I love them on toast, burgers, you name it!
  6. Taste Elevated Habapeño Mustard Seeds – Lori and Benny Krieger have journeyed together from small town Texas roots to corporate careers in Washington, D.C. eventually, they returned to that small Texas town to raise a family and pursue their life long dream. Those precious roots are bedded in the same soil as the two fig trees that were the catalyst for Taste Elevated.Here the story begins with figs and ends with salsa, their love of fruits and veggies started them on the journey of planting, picking, cooking, canning, pickling, making sauces. I am a sucker for these type of stories and leap of faith that people make chasing their dream and making beautiful clean products as a result. It’s hard for me to pick one of these wonderful products but I have a weakness for mustard seeds, they pair well on top of everything from cheese plate to tacos.
  7. Bee Seasonal Brazilian Honey – I try to stay away from sugar and prefer to use honey and stevia as sweeteners.  Not only are these delicious in flavor but Bee Seasonal promotes sustainability.  The honeys are organically sourced from beekeepers devoted to their bees, community and land, so from hive to jar. Gift them or get them for yourself, they are great for a cheese tasting.
  8. Cocina by Ingrid Hoffmann – I call these my magic powders, they are my go-tos spice blends for giving my food a lot of flavor without adding calories. As a Latina, I grew up eating bouillons and adobos that gave recipes a lot of flavor but also have many additives and preservatives. In my clean eating quest, I wanted to be able to have an option for all of us to enjoy those flavors but from natural and preservative-free spice blends. Wrap these up in a pretty kitchen towel and you will make a food lover very happy.
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