This time of year, it’s a good idea to stock up on a few gifts for all the hosts and hostesses inviting you to brunches, cocktail parties and get-togethers this holiday season.
So I checked in with a couple of folks whose opinions I respect on such matters: Jennings Brody, owner of Parker and Otis in Durham, and Kirstin Hunt, specialty food buyer for Southern Season.
Brody has two go-to gifts. She pairs a 2-pound bag of Old School Mill grits from Albemarle and a bar of Videri chocolate made in Raleigh.
“One’s for the morning and one’s for after the party,” Brody explained.
Her other idea: Offer the host a chance to indulge in a childhood treat by pairing a jar of Durham-based Big Spoon Roasters peanut butter with a jar of marshmallow fluff or a jar of Carrboro-based Farmer’s Daughter Brand jam or jelly. Who doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and fluff?
Meanwhile, Hunt clued me into a fact that folks in Chapel Hill may be pleased to learn: Southern Season is the only place other than the Angus Barn selling the Raleigh restaurant’s signature cheese crock, filled with the delectable spread that starts any meal there.
Hunt’s other favorite gift suggestion is a 11/2-pound tin featuring a trio of Bertie County-based Baker’s Peanuts products: chocolate-covered peanuts, lightly salted and blistered peanuts, and peanut brittle.
I will add one more suggestion for a local product that I was introduced to earlier this year: The Cultured Cow Creamery cheeses. This family-owned, Durham-based Holstein cattle farm and cheese-making business produces an excellent line of cheddars. My favorite is the smoked cheddar. It’s a gift to enjoy with your hosts if they are willing to share.
Whatever you decide to give as a gift, Brody urges people to be creative: “I think more people should bring something different than a bottle of wine.”
Weigl: 919-829-4848 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @andreaweigl