Holiday meals, dinner parties, get-togethers with the in-laws, Secret Santa exchanges — no matter which winter holidays you celebrate (or none at all), it’s almost impossible to get through the end of the year without at least one social event. Thank your host or hostess for their hospitality with one of these easy, festive gifts, all locally produced in Washington. The recipient can use them at a future social event or hoard them for private couch snacking, and you’ve shown your gratitude without adding another item to their holiday clutter.
Skillet Bacon Jam
If you’ve been to the legendary Seattle food truck or its brick-and-mortar Capitol Hill restaurant, then you’re probably familiar with their famous “bacon jam” ($15). Spread it on crackers, add it to sandwiches, or stir into vegetables and mashed potatoes for extra flavor. On its own or with their pumpkin ketchup, it makes a great hostess gift; pair it with the Skillet cookbook or upgrade to the bacon jam 4-pack for serious meat eaters.
For the traditionalists, there are classic favorites like Fran’s, Chukar Cherries, and Seattle Chocolates. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, try Mukilteo Chocolate’s lavender cheesecake truffles, Poulso-based Boehms’ Hawaiian sea salt caramels, or Theo Chocolate’s rich, dark fig, fennel and almond bar.
POP! Gourmet Popcorn’s all-natural, gluten-free (but gloriously fattening) gourmet popcorn comes in a variety of caramel-coated, chocolate-drizzled, and cheese-dusted flavors. They offer a Northwest twist on the Chicago-style cheddar-and-caramel blend, but the blue cheese and truffle popcorn flavors sound pretty delicious, too. Mix and match your own custom tin to feed a crowd. Spice lovers may prefer sriracha popcorn, which has a remarkably true-to-life flavor.
Cougar Gold cheese
A tasty gift for Washington State Cougars fans and cheese lovers alike. Cougar Gold cheese comes in enormous 30-oz cans that make an impressive addition to the holiday buffet. Cougar Gold is a rich, white aged cheddar, but they also offer spicy pepper, dill garlic, smoky cheddar, and traditional orange cheddar in their iconic tins. You can order online or buy it in person at WSU campus bookstores, or at Washington State Connections in Seattle’s Westlake Mall.
Locally roasted coffee
I wasn’t going to mention coffee, but I just couldn’t resist the iconic bean. Here in Washington, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to freshly roasted small-batch coffee. Here are just a few of your many local options, all of which can be ordered online: Espresso Vivace (Seattle), Victrola Coffee (Seattle), Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, Caffe Vita (Seattle), Millars Wood Roasted Coffee (Vancouver), Fonté Coffee (Seattle), Stumptown Coffee (Portland, Seattle, NY), and Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie.