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December 16, 2019

Minnesota Made Holiday Giifts

When I do my holiday shopping, I look for Minnesota made gifts. Surprise, right? I like to support the makers I’ve showcased in the past, and searching out new ones. Plus, I love sharing new local products with friends and family so they can support great local businesses too. Here are some of my favorite Minnesota made gifts for everyone on your list.
Loon Liquors Distillery

Minnesota Made Food and Drink

Loon Liquor Company was started by Simeon Rossi and Mark Schiller, two friends from Northfield High School that wanted to craft spirits from local and organic grains. Their coffee-flavored Lac Coueur liqueur has half the sugar found in Kahlua and is mixed with locally grown Peace Coffee cold brew. It is light and has a real coffee and vanilla flavor. I love this as an after-dinner drink with a hint of cream and a splash of soda.

Sacred Blossom Farm Teas are teas grown and entirely assembled by hand. I met Tony at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival Culinary Market. His small scale farming practices allow him to sustainably grow and deliver spectacular quality and freshness in his herb, flower, and fruit teas with no herbicides or pesticides left in your cup. Each flavor profile is designed to calm, nourish, or create focused energy based on the flavor profile you brew.

Isadore Nuts are slightly sweet cashew, pecans, and walnuts mixed with rosemary and lemon that are handcrafted in Minnesota. I like these as a snack at a cocktail party or as a salad topper.

B.T. McElrath's Simply ScrumptiousBT McElrath truffle or toffee boxes are always a welcome gift in my house. My daughter used to ask for the salty dog caramel bars every time we shopped at a grocery store, and they were by the register. These toffees are still made in Minnesota and are fantastic.

If you are charged with making grandma her nightly old fashioned, there are a couple of ways to go. You can get the new, pre-made, old fashioned cocktail from Tattersall Distillery in Northeast Minneapolis. Another option would be to pair your favorite whiskey with a dropper of the very elegant Dashfire Bitters and Egberts premium small-batch cocktail cherries. Either way, you are getting a Nordic-made version of the classic Midwest cocktail.

Barsy’s naughties almonds with cocoa and cinnamon are my guilty pleasure. They come in a small bag that is perfect for stocking stuffers, or the Golden Fig has a slightly larger bag perfect for gift giving. I eat these after dinner when I want something sweet, but I don’t want to dip into a full-on dessert situation. Also, try their Stuffies version, which is flavored with sage and onion and taste just like Thanksgiving.

Minnesota Cookbooks

Some of my favorite cookbooks are from Minnesota authors are all available at the Golden Fig in St Paul. Here are three worth checking out:

Meatballs From Savoring The Seasons CookbookSavoring The Seasons of the Northern Heartland by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson.

This is my favorite cookbook to give anyone interested in Scandinavian cooking or Minnesota heritage. There are recipes and short stories about our food culture that make it a keeper. Try the Swedish meatball recipe that we use to make meatballs each year for Christmas Eve.

660 Curries The Gateway to Indian Cooking

Our dear friend Raghavan Iyer is a Minnesota treasure, and his curry cookbook is a bible for anyone interested in learning more about Indian cooking in an approachable way. Try the cumin scented potatoes with tomatoes or the scalloped potatoes with coconut milk and chilis.

The Great Minnesota Cookie Book by Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson.

This cookbook is compiled from the last 10 years of winners of the Star Tribune cookie contest. I met a lady who has cooked every recipe in the book, and she says it is her favorite gift to give.

Other Minnesota Made Goodies

Pranarom is essential oil formulas developed by Melissa Farris, who grew up in Bloomington. She sold the company a few years back, but the oil formulations she developed are still going strong. I like buying the lavender for a sleep aid for kids or teens, and Mental Clarity is a favorite when I need to focus on a project. The Pain Relief Roller Ball is excellent to rub on if you have shoulder pain, backaches, or plantar fasciitis. Lastly, the roll-on perfume rollers are a great alternative to heavy colognes. I like the Mandarin Petitgrain that has me smelling orangy and fresh.

Stirsby The To-Go Ware utensil set isn’t made in Minnesota, but it is available from Lakewinds Food Co-ops. It is a bamboo, reusable knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks in a handy Velcro bag that can be clipped onto a purse strap or lunch bag to help you reduce your carbon footprint.

The Stirsby Stick is locally made, and no two are exactly alike. They fit so neatly in the palm of your hand are being used as you would use a wooden spoon for any sauces, stir fry, or soups. The wood in the Stirsby Stick is from local retailer Wood from The Hood who salvages downed trees in Twin Cities neighborhoods and turns them into furniture, cribbage bards, and cheese trays.

Check out more of my favorite gifts here.