Nicole Bogas remembers her frustration as she struggled to come up with some holiday gifts for clients that reflected North Carolina’s vibrant food scene.
Her choices seemed limited to ugly gift baskets containing mass-produced cheese straws, she said. And from her disappointment a business idea was born: NC Made.
During the summer, the Durham entrepreneur started selling gift boxes of North Carolina food products, including chocolate, peanut butter, cookies, preserves, pickles, condiments, honey and more. Her company is fashioned after Bklyn Larder, Colorado Crafted and Wisconsin’s Quince and Apple. Bogas’ sense of design elevates the look of these small curated collections to create a beautiful gift that lets you share a taste of North Carolina with pride.
Her baskets range from $39 to $79 and can be purchased at ncmade.net. Custom orders for corporate clients are still possible for the holidays.
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If you need just a single item or two to give as a hostess gift, stocking stuffer or other present, here are a few ideas:
Farmers’ Daughter Brand: This Hillsborough-based business offers both old-time and modern takes on pickles, preserves and other condiments. Choices include Yellow Cabbage Collard Kraut, Low Country-style Pumpkin Preserves and Jalapeño and Ginger Jam. Prices range from $8 to $11. Available at Parker and Otis in Durham and online: farmersdaughterbrand.com.
Big Spoon Roasters: The Durham nut butter company now makes 11 products, including Peanut Cocoa Butter, Chai Spice Nut Butter and Almond Ginger Butter. Eight-ounce jars are $9 to $14. Available at a number of Triangle stores, the Durham and Carrboro farmers markets and online. Info: bigspoonroasters.com.
Nello’s Sauce: The Raleigh business makes fresh jarred Marinara, Pomodoro and Hot Pepper Pasta Sauces. Sold in 14-ounce and 25-ounce sizes for $5 to $8. Available at Whole Foods Stores, Harris Teeter and many other retailers, as well as online at nellositaly.com.
Tonya’s Cookies: Tonya Council, granddaughter of Mildred Council of Mama Dip’s restaurant in Chapel Hill, set out to make a cookie that tasted like her grandmother’s pecan pie, and the rest is history. Her gluten-free cookies in five flavors are available in 6-ounce bags or 1-pound tins for $8 to $30. Sold at a number of Triangle stores and online: tonyascookies.com.
White Whale: This Durham company sells cocktail mixes with such fun names as Auntie’s Old Fashioned (a bourbon mixer), Your Older Brother (vodka mixer), and just for the holidays, The Tiny Tim (holiday rum mixer). Prices range from $10 to $12 for an 8-ounce bottle up to 17-ounce bottles. Sold at a number of Triangle stores and online: drinkwhitewhale.com.
Crude Small Batch Bitters & Sodas: This Durham-based business makes bitters for cocktail aficionados and homemade sodas. Their “Rizzo” bitters (rosemary, grapefruit and peppercorn) is a finalist for a Good Food Award. The soda flavors include pineapple ginger and watermelon basil. Prices range from $11 to $21. The products are sold at a number of Triangle stores and online: crudebitters.com.