Christmas is just over a week away! Here's our final installment in our holiday gift ideas -- Alabama food goodies. Whether you want to open the eyes of friends and relatives to the bounty under their nose, or share Alabama's deliciousness with those out-of-state, here are a few ideas:
- Alabama cheese straws. Found some delicious ones from Mook's Mill, made in the Shoals, at Publix. Nothing but sharp cheese, flour, margarine and spices, with a good balance between cheese flavor and spice.
- Southern pecans. If you have family or friends who live out of state, this is a great gift. Believe me, Yankee pecans are just NOT the same! You can get a gift and donate to a good cause at www.pecanswithapurpose.org. The sale of these pecans benefits Glenwood, a nonprofit organization here in Birmingham dedicated to children, adolescents, and adults who are emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, and those diagnosed with autism. We've gotten our pecans from them for years, and they're always plump and delicious; you may also be able to find them at Bruno's and some other local stores.
- Locally roasted coffee from Primavera Coffee Roasters, O'Kafes, O'Henry's or Higher Ground. Order online, find at local grocery stores like Tria and V. Richard's, or for all except Higher Ground, go to their retail/coffee shop location and enjoy a cup for yourself and find some related gift items.
- Locally made hot sauce from Kalahari Pepper Company or Not Yo Mama's. (See "Hot Sauce from Africa by way of Vestavia" and "Sweet Heat" from our blog)
- Alabama wines from wineries like Vizzini Farms, Morgan Creek, and Ozan. You'll find Alabama wines at Whole Foods, Tria Market and V. Richard's. Even Publix has a few.
- Local barbecue sauces, salad dressings and marinades are available at a number of area stores, including Ollie's, Mike Wilson's Saw Sauce, George's Old Time Barbecue Sauce, Mr. P's, Demitri's, Dale's Seasoning, John's Slaw dressing, Sneaky Pete's hot dog sauce, Daddy-Natty's Barbecue Sauce, Big Bob Gibson's white barbecue sauce, etc. Put together a gift box of several.
- Alabama cheese. Belle Chevre award-winning goat cheese is sold nationwide; you can find it at Whole Foods, Tria and other local grocery stores. See their web site for a list.
- For the meat lovers on your list, Smith Farms in Cullman offers country cured, hickory smoked bacon, ham, sausage, and boneless seasoning meat, plus stone-ground grain products, pickles, sauces and more, and you can order online.