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A tea towel with the shape of the state of Texas on it, a candle that reads H-E-B Flavor Favorites Bakery Butter Tortilla, and a wrapped circular item that says Rebel Cheese on top of a colorful background. Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

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The 2021 Eater Austin Holiday Gift Guide

11 gifts guaranteed to delight anyone who’s from — or just loves — Austin

2021 has been a wild ride, but the year is almost over, and thankfully, the holiday season is different from last year. However, that means it’s time to start buying thoughtful presents for the wonderful people in our lives. To help out, Eater Austin put together this handy annual guide to help people find the best food- and drink-related gifts available or made in the city, because supporting local restaurants, bars, farmers market stands, and businesses is always a good thing.

This year’s guide includes gorgeous decorative fake cakes, butter tortilla candles, vegan cheeses, fun food stickers and prints, and monthly fresh pasta deliveries.

For additional ideas, browse through Eater Austin’s suggestions for shipped goods and the local restaurant cookbook collection. Then there are our previous guides since certain items are still available (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). There’s also Eater National’s gift guide and guides from other cities.


A cake with light blue frosting and dollops of white cream topped with red cherries.

Fake Decorative Cakes from Pretty Shitty Cakes

Austin artist Jasmine Archie understands the true beauty of cakes so much so that she immortalizes the decadent sweets with her gorgeous fake creations. The cake sculptures (as she describes ‘em) feature all sorts of icings and garnishes in varying shapes, colors, and layers. What makes it even better is that it lasts forever. Prices range from $90 to $200. While, yes, the current selection is sold out and custom cake orders are closed, the site will open for orders on Friday, November 26, and Friday, December 3. She will also sell her wares at South First shop Passport Vintage’s backyard market on Sunday, November 28.


Three wrapped circular cheeses wrapped in plastic and two log-shaped cheeses wrapped in brown paper with stickers that read Rebel Cheese.

Vegan Cheeses from Rebel Cheese

Vegan cheeses are delightful, and the selection at the Mueller deli by co-owners Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar is amazing. The chevre (made with cashews and coconut milk) is tangy and creamy; the cave-aged brief (also made with cashews and coconuts) is both soft and sturdy. There are two ways to go about gifting the stellar non-dairy cheeses: buy a by-the-ounce assortment ranging from $2.25 to $3.25, or opt for the Cheese Club for monthly deliveries of seasonal cheeses, with levels costing $70 to $105 (with shipping included).


A print of a cat holding a boba, and a variety of cut-out art depicting foods and drinks.

Food Prints, Stickers, Magnets, & Cards from Kathy Phantastic

Austin artist Kathy Phan captures the delightfulness of food through her online shop. Her watercolor illustrations range from floating kittens holding boba to heart-shaped pepperoni pizzas to a well-structured bowl of tonkatsu ramen in the form of prints, $5 magnets, $4 stickers, and $5 cards. She is also participating in two markets, the Renegade Craft on Saturday and Sunday, November 27 to 28, and the Austin Holiday Mini Market on Sunday, December 5.


A bouquet of growing mushrooms.

A Mushroom Growing Kit from Hi-Fi Mycology

Mushrooms are having a moment again, and the local urban farm by co-founders Sean Francis Henry and Cory Neillisen makes it easy for people to grow their own edible funguses at home through this handy kit. Granted, it’s not the prettiest present: a plastic bag of a dirt block, but as soon as everything is set up, mushroom magic happens. The $21 kits are available at the farm’s various farmers market stands.


Four bottles of wine, a dark bottle that reads TX RG, a yellow bottle with a red label that reads Kalase Malavasia Bianca, a reddish bottle with a white label that reads Fall Creek, and a dark bottle with an abstract artwork label.

Texas Wines Forever

Did you know that Texas wines are awesome? Did you know there are many wonderful wineries in the Hill Country that sell their bottles on-site or online? Did you know that wine makes a nice present for people who enjoy alcoholic beverages? Now you do.


Two four-piece boxes of chocolate truffles on top of a golden box and flanked with bars of chocolate wrapped in plastic.

Chocolate Truffles from Intero

Austin chef Krystal Craig continues to make her exquisite chocolate truffles as part of her East Austin Italian restaurant. This holiday season includes themed truffle boxes. The classics set includes crunchy peanut butter with honey; the winter set with the subtly herbaceous garden rosemary, and there is a vegan collection as well. There are three box options: the 15-piece for $34.50, the eight-piece for $19.50, and the four-piece for $11. For something larger, there are also chocolate barks with chic designs, such as the vegan peppermint and cacao nib.


Three cards one with a colorful fish painting, the other with colorful strokes, and the third with a colorful scallop dish.

Menu Card Set from Hestia

The downtown live-fire restaurant turned its menu illustrations by Austin artist Lisa Alley into a cute stationery card set. The $30 blank cards feature colorful oil painting reproductions of halibut, scallop dishes, and bread with butter.


Three beverage bottles, one dark one light brown and the third dark, with labels that read “K” and “kimbala”

Bottled Chai from Kimbala

Chai is great, and this Austin-based beverage company’s Madhu Sharoff decided to bottle the refreshing South Asian drinks. The Chai Assamica is sweet and the Coffee a la Jaggery smooth. The already-mixed-drinks, available in orders of 10- or 15-bottles ranging from $60 to $99, can be served either hot or cold, and each item features pairing suggestions.


A plastic container of ravioli pasta, a light brown bag with a clear window of pasta, plastic containers, and a jar.

Regional Italian Pasta Club from L’Oca d’Oro

The Mueller Italian restaurant is very good at making all sorts of pasta, and through restaurant subscription service Table22, L’Oca chef Fiore Tedesco highlights various regional specialties as part of its monthly pasta kit pickups. The $90 kit includes two types of pasta, two handmade sauces, plus additional condiments and cheeses. Instructions on how to prep the dishes are included.


A custard.

Flan from Algo Dulce

The Austin company focuses on a single item — flan — because co-founders Jesse Mondragon, Michael Mondragon, and Robert Silva know that it’s one of the best desserts in the world. Made using a Mexican-American recipe, the $5 traditional vanilla flan is rich and tasty. The desserts have a long shelf-life too, up to 38 days refrigerated, making them perfect for gifting purposes. The desserts are available at local retail shops, restaurants, and farmers' markets; there are also deliveries available through GoPuff and Farmhouse Delivery.


Two jars of salsa, with labels that read “Que Sazon” and one with “Adobada” and the other “Tatemada”

Salsas from Qué Sazón

The food pop-up is known for its delicious chilaquiles, but did you know that it sells great appropriately spicy jarred salsas as well? The adobada is a thicker paste of a red salsa with a smoky flavor, and the tatemada is a chunkier green salsa that is bright and tangy. The $8 jars are available at the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller on Sundays, as well as its restaurant location at Wingman Kitchens. There are deliveries too.


Butter Tortilla Candle from H-E-B

The smell of H-E-B’s popular-for-good-reason butter tortillas is a welcomed and sought-after one, and the Texas supermarket chain smartly decided to distill the aroma in a candle.

Intero

2612 East Cesar Chavez, Austin, Texas 78702 Visit Website

L'Oca d'Oro

1900 Simond Avenue, , TX 78723 (737) 212-1876 Visit Website

Hestia

607 West 3rd Street, , TX 78701 (512) 333-0737 Visit Website

Rebel Cheese

2200 Aldrich Street, , TX 78723 (512) 382-0048 Visit Website
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