If you are running out of ideas for gifts this Christmas and you have a foodie in your family, we have put together some gourmet food gifts to give you some ideas.
Honey for your Honey
Local farmers markets carry a diverse selection of food products made and produced by locals. Cross Creek Honey from Interlachen produces local raw honey and sells it at the Riverside Arts Market, Fernandina Beach Farmers Market, Grass Roots Natural Market and The Market on Granada Street. Local raw honey can help seasonal allergies, asthma and boost your immune system. www.crosscreekhoneyco.com
Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: Spices, Sauces and Preserves
Other finds at local markets are jams, hot sauces, olives and pickled goods. Vendors like Evil Seed Sauces, Olive My Pickle, Jane’s Kountry Kitchen and many others can be found at weekly markets in Riverside, Fernandina and Neptune Beach. Spices can be a fantastic addition to a home chef’s tool chest. Specific spice blends work well with different meats and vegetables, so going to a store that knows all about different spices would be prudent. All Spiced Up in San Marco offers a wide selection of spice blends to suit any meal. For a wide selection of local vendors visit www.riversideartsmarket.com
Can’t go Wrong with Chocolate
Fantastic Fudge in Fernandina Beach offers some of the best local fudge for that perfect holiday treat. The smooth and creamy marble slab fudge has been a staple of Fernandina for the past 25 years. They offer a variety of styles for all types of taste buds. www.fantasticfudge.com
Along the same lines, Peterbrooke Chocolatier offers a variety of chocolate gift baskets to satisfy the nutty, the creamy and the dark chocolate lovers. They have locations all around the First Coast, from St. Augustine to Fernandina with many in Jacksonville. www.peterbrooke.com
A Cup of Joe to Warm the Soul
Last, but not least, local coffee roasters who sell beans by the bag give the coffee connoisseur in your life an exotic way to start the morning. Bold Bean Coffee Roasters has two locations in Riverside and Jacksonville Beach, where they sell their freshly roasted beans. www.boldbeancoffee.com
Pura Bean Coffee Co. sells their locally roasted coffee at RAM every week and the City Café in San Marco. www.purabeancoffee.com
St. Nicholas: Eastern Europe, Western Asia
Saint Nicholas was born in the villiage of Patara, in what is now modern-day Turkey, during the Roman Empire’s rule of the world. The Emperor Constantine came to power during his life. Saint Nicholas was made the Bishop of Myra at a very young age and was known as a man who gave all he had to the needy. He died on December 6th, 343. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated every year on December 6th in many countries in Europe and West Asia.
Ded Moroz or Grandfather Frost: Russia
Grandfather Frost resembles the appearance of Santa Claus, but instead of being secretive, Grandfather Frost shows up at New Year’s Eve parties and gives out gifts in person. He resembles Santa Claus, but also carries a large magical staff, like a wizard. He usually travels around with Snegurochka, or Snow Maiden, who is his granddaughter and helper. She is unique. No other gift-givers in other cultures have a female companion.
Father Christmas: England
The modern-day Santa Claus has his roots in the lore of Father Christmas. Father Christmas wears a longer coat and has a longer beard than the traditional Santa figure. The earliest mention of Father Christmas was in a Christmas carol attributed to Richard Smart from the mid-15th century. He is not described as giving gifts to children, rather he is announcing the celebration of Christ’s birth, calling all people to eat and drink.
Joulupukki or Christmas Goat: Finland
Rooted in pagan traditions, the Christmas Goat’s workshop is located in the mountains of Korvatunturi, Lapland. He doesn’t sneak around like his Western counterpart, but instead knocks on the door Christmas Eve and asks who has been good. Joulupukki does not have elves, but dwarves as helpers that ride goats.
Pere Noel: France
Pere Noel saved three children from a butcher who kidnapped them. Pere Noel leaves gifts if the children have been good, or, traditionally, the bad kids will be spanked by the butcher, Le Pere Fouettard.
Want to make the most of your holiday leftovers, without boring your family with turkey sandwiches every day? Here are some suggestions to try!
Totally Awesome Turkey Burritos
Drain a can of black beans, and heat it in a saucepan with 1 cup of your favorite salsa. Add shredded turkey to the mix until well-heated. Cook a pot of rice. Build a burrito bar with grated cheddar, sour cream, fresh sliced jalapeños, sliced limes, salsa, and flour tortillas. Enjoy!
Cranberry Cream Cheese
Great for spreading on toast for breakfast, or a quick snack on a cracker. Mix your leftover cranberry sauce with cream cheese in a mixer on slow, mixing it well. You can add as much cream cheese as you like, until you reach a good spreadable consistency.
Stuffing, Sunnyside Up
Take two cups of leftover stuffing and make into 2 patties, similar in shape and size to a large burger. Take a large frying plan and melt two tablespoons of lightly salted butter. Put the patties in the pan and cook until golden brown on bottom. Flip, and then crack an egg over each patty, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, or until eggs set.