The holiday season is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about the perfect present for the people in your life. It’s tricky to settle upon just the right gift for loved ones, family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or the person who watches your dog when you’re out-of-town. You want it to send a fitting message, and, well, food- and drink-related presents are never wrong, really, especially when everything is either made in or pertains to Austin.
With all of that in mind, Eater Austin put together the perfect gift guide for the food obsessives in your lives. Among the highly curated set are edible presents (naturally) like fun chocolate bars and vegan sprinkles, fun Texas-made bubbles, alluring taco apparel, and even private baking classes.
Everything below has been tested and endorsed by Eater Austin. For additional ideas, there’s also the Eater National gift guide, as well as Eater Austin’s previous three guides since certain items are evergreen (2015, 2016, 2017).
Of course Austin has a vegan sprinkle shop. Hardcore Sprinkles’ whole ethos is using natural ingredients, which lend to out-of-the-box flavors beyond those typical vanilla and rainbow toppings. There’s the soothing lavender, the punchy peppermint, and the dramatic black sesame. Even better: everything is vegan, as well as soy- and gluten-free. Pair it with your favorite vegan ice cream.
Price: $10 per jar, $12-18 per set
Tacos of Texas Cap
Tacos are far and wide in Austin and Texas, so it makes sense that someone would want to wear that pride on their body. Enter: the taco cap. The taco journalists behind the Tacos of Texas book and digital series fashioned a bold and simple black-and-white snapback cap that boldly declares “Tacos,” because the statement says it all. It works for breakfast tacos, lunch tacos, dinner tacos, late-night tacos, etc., etc.
The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas
Austin has a pretty special restaurant scene, and the Austin Cookbook reveals all of their secrets in recipe form. It’s a trustworthy tome: author Paula Forbes knows her way around the the local food culture (she was the founding editor of Eater Austin, after all). Covered are both old-school and new-school restaurants, from Matt’s El Rancho’s Bob Armstrong dip to Uchi’s uchiviche, plus a couple of her own tried-and-true recipes too.
Price: $29.99 (via BookPeople)
Texas-Made Pétillant Naturel Wines
Central Texas has a really strong wine scene, and the region even have its own takes on the popular pétillant-naturels. Two area wineries offer pet-nats, which make for a fun, funky, drinkable present. First, there’s the Shot Across the Bow from new Texas winery Southold Farm + Cellar, where the wines are made with sangiovese grapes. Then there’s the Petillant Naturel from Hye winery William Chris Vineyards. Get either of the affordable bottles, or both for a set.
Humble Goods’ Coasters
The Austin leather goods shop created a stylish way to protect surfaces from drink ring stains with its Texas-themed coaster sets (which, honestly, also serve as just great pieces of house decor). Show off that local pride with the brown or tan leather coaster designs (which come in a pack of four), particularly the cursive “Austin” set or the ever-recognizable Texas state outline.
Texas BBQ: Small Town to Downtown
For renowned photographer Wyatt McSpadden’s second book, he put together the perfect Texas-themed coffee table book, which is naturally all about barbecue joints. He revisited places covered in his previous book (Franklin Barbecue, and, yes, the pitmaster Aaron Franklin wrote the foreword), as well as pits that have emerged and grown popular since then (Pecan Lodge, Snow’s BBQ), all with stunning photography of the places, meats, and people.
McGuire Moorman Hospitality teamed up with Los Angeles boutique candle shop Boy Smells to create a burning scent to accompany its wine restaurant June’s. The result is a fresh herby and sophisticated mix of bergamot, cassis, anise, daffodils, and tonka beans. The coconut and beeswax candle is placed within a sleep black glass that could be reused for other things, too.
The Austin craft chocolate shop obsesses over making the cacao sweet from scratch, which means there’s room for lively ingredient play, especially with Texas nods. The sal de rey is made with salt sourced from Rio Grande Valley lake La Sal Del Rey; the Texas mesquite is a collaboration with Austin bakery Miche Bread using mesquite pods; and good old dried cranberries and Texas pecans, which are sourced from Elgin.
Price: $8 per bar
Katie Kime Notebook
The chic Austin boutique’s array of food- and drink-themed goods range from prints to wallpaper to stationery. The adorable pineapple journal is a good gifting bet, complete with blank pages for those who love to scribble or sketch. For a more personal touch, each journal can be monogrammed under a variety of styles for an additional $6.
Greater Goods Coffee Roasters’ Coffee and Metal Straws
For feel-good coffee, Greater Goods is the place to shop. Each bag, full of well-selected and roasted beans, benefits one of four local charities (Austin Pets Alive, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, Central Texas Food Bank, and Autism Society). For this season, the cafe also roasted up a blended bag, the Holiday Blend, sourced from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Papua New Guinea, resulting in a fruity, sweet spiced flavor. Bonus: the cafe sells reusable metal straws too for those cold (or hot, if that’s your thing) drinks, since plastic straws are a big no-no nowadays.
Price: $15-19 per bag of coffee, $2.50 per metal straw available at the cafes
El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs
Austin Tex-Mex restaurant El Arroyo smartly decided to gather the best of its oft-quippy and wise marquee signs into a one big book. The 158-page tome is packed full of nuggets applicable for every occasion, from musing on queso as a love language to Star Wars spoilers to motivational mantras incorporating pop culture.
L’Oven’s Private Baking Classes
Talented Austin baker Abby Love is on the quest to open her own bakery, L’Oven, and in order to do so, she’s been sharing her baking wisdom with the masses through private classes. The carby options run the gamut from sourdough breads, muffins, croissants, pies, pizza. The classes can be modified for everyone from beginners to advanced bakers, working through every step of the baking process.
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