The 2023 VAFoodie Good Gift Guide

The 2023 holiday season is in full swing, and your shopping days are winding down. You can add meaningful impact to your gifting by shopping for locally-made products supporting small businesses. To help you out, we’ve compiled this list of Virginia-made products that will please every foodie. We’ve got temptations for the sweet tooth, ways to stock a bar cart, a few kitchen essentials, and even cookbooks to help tackle the age-old question, “what’s for dinner?”

Bonus tip: Make a gift basket! Mix and match from our selections to make a themed gift focused on the love of good food and good people, sourced from some very good brands.

Remember, cut-off dates are EARLY, so order soon! And please be patient with your package delivery — overloaded delivery drivers mean it may take longer for your gifts to arrive.  Are you a last-minute shopper? Gift cards to local businesses are a great idea and will give these small shops a year-end boost.

Lammar Marie’s Popcorn

Let’s face it, some people are hard to buy for. Luckily, everyone loves popcorn. This locally made popcorn comes in tons of fun flavors and combinations so you can put together a fun gift basket that is perfect for everyone from your in-laws to your coworkers. Visit their Richmond store or shop online!

Gearharts Chocolates

These handmade chocolates are always a hit for the holidays. Order a box of chocolates or grab a variety pack of their handmade chocolate bars. They also have unique treats like chocolate-covered potato chips for sweet and salty fans. Visit their shop in Charlottesville, order online, or find them at local retailers across Virginia!

Discover Richmond Food Tours

If you’re looking for an experience gift, consider buying a Discover Richmond Food Tour gift certificate! They have tons of interactive food tours around Richmond as well as brewery tours, tacky light tours, and more. Even if you live in Richmond, you’ll learn something new on these guided tours!

Image shows two bottles of Navy Hill Ginger Beer on a white background with orange slices and ginger root
Image: Navy Hill

Navy Hill

Amateur and seasoned mixologists alike will enjoy thoughtful flavors like Blood Orange, Grapefruit, or non-alcoholic G&T and Ginger Beer. An early addition to the VAFoodie gift guide, Navy Hill was founded in Richmond by two friends who wanted more value from their mixers. Their first product, a lower-calorie soda and tonic blend, was a huge hit. From that first “sonic” sip, a brand was born. Founders Jenny Lucas and Katie Williams are committed to keeping Navy Hill authentic and exceptional, choosing to cut calories (not corners.) Tequila Sodas are the newest addition to the Navy Hill lineup. You must be 21 to order.

Image: Cirrus Vodka

Cirrus Vodka

Cirrus Vodka is triple-distilled from high-quality, nonGMO Russet Potatoes before passing through an 8-step charcoal filtration process. Then it rests before bottling. Nearly 90% of vodkas come from corn, rye, and other grains, but Cirrus believes potatoes give a smoother, full-bodied flavor with a creamier, sippable profile. Smoothness aside, the latest addition to their product line, Cirrus Jala-Piña, will give your tastebuds a much bigger kick. Not sure what to mix it with? Try the Jala-Piña Cocktail Kit that will give you everything you need to whip up tasting cocktails.

Image: Storied Goods

Storied Goods

Here’s a must-add item for your cocktail bundle or tea collection. The Sugar Cube Trio from Storied Goods will be the sweetest gift for whoever is on your good list this year. The 3-pack holds one tin each of Cinnamon Vanilla, Orange Cherry, and original Rose Petal sugar cubes offering 45 ways to brighten a beverage or lift your next cheers to a higher level. Headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, founder Martha Bourlakis her business knowing that celebrating even the smallest moments in life can bring absolute joy. She believes that savoring stories over delicious drinks and food brings hope to a complicated world. And that’s a mission we wholeheartedly support!

Image: vafoodie

LaVache Caramels

French for “Holy Cow,” La Vache Microcreamery was founded in 2013 by an architect passionate about local food. Owner Stephanie Williams brings that architectural precision into the kitchen as she crafts caramels from grass-fed cream and organic sugar – and absolutely no corn syrup! She sources her seasonal flavors like Salty Pretzel and Molasses Ginger as locally and sustainably as possible. Place a one time order for stocking stuffers or gift their subscription service to spread cheer all year long. The LVM Addiction Subscription delivers a half-pound of caramel in two seasonal flavors to your doorstep 4 times a year: January, April, July, and October.

Belle Isle Moonshine

Belle Isle Moonshine has so many delicious flavors of moonshine, and this year, they have a sampler pack that would make the perfect gift! I always have at least one bottle in my fridge because it’s an easy way to make cocktails at a moment’s notice. You never know when dinner could turn into a party, so I like to be prepared at all times.

Three boxes of Foggy Mountain Pasta on a whit counter in front of white subway tiles
Image: Foggy Mountain Pasta

Foggy Mountain Pasta

Perfect for the chef on your list or for making multiple Made-in-Virginia gift baskets, the new Misto case collection from Foggy Mountain Pasta is a true foodie’s delight. Chef-Owner Gabrial Key brings decades of culinary experience from his years in Tuscany and Northern Italy to the kitchen. He seeks out wholesome, hearty grains from small regional farms that lend a wealth of flavor to simple, elegantly crafted, small-batch pasta. Now milled on-site from heritage and heirloom grains, the products from Foggy Mountain Pasta express Gabriel’s most profound belief: that proper nourishment for your mind, soul, and heart comes from food that is economically, socially, and sustainably produced.

A jar of Nona’s Italian Cucina sauce laying on a white table top with tomatoes, garlic, and basil
Image: Nona’s Italian Cucina

Nona’s Italian Cucina

Small-batch sauces and condiments are always good hostess gifts, and they are especially nice when tucked into a curated basket. One of 2022’s Made In Virginia award-winners, Nona’s Italian Cucina Small Batch Tomato Sauce is hand-crafted in Charlottesville, Virginia. Using a timeless blend of Imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes and Virginia-Grown fresh herbs and spices, owner Yvonne Cunningham learned her craft in Nona’s own kitchen in Milan, Italy. Order in lots of 3 or 6 online and complete your gift baskets. Be sure to save a few jars to feed the crowd around your holiday table.

Image: Dryad Cookery

Dryad Cookery Spatulas

Ceramic cookware may flood your social streams, but cast iron cooking is having a revival. Enter Dryad Cookery. Owner Brian McKee was on a camping trip and found himself searching for a spatula. He couldn’t find one that suited his needs, so he set out to make the best spatula for cast iron cooking. The result? Dryad Spatulas are constructed of exceptionally durable, flexible, and lightweight titanium, with colorful G10 handles that won’t melt if your spatula touches your hot cast iron. You may never need another spatula – but they are so beautifully crafted you’ll want one in every color.

Image: Clean Conscience Chocolates

Clean Conscience Chocolates

The holidays are the time for sweet treats, and we’re always looking for tasty indulgences that are as easy on the earth as they can be. Clean Conscience Chocolates tick all those boxes and then some. Hand-crafted near Charlottesville, Virginia, Clean Conscience uses single-origin organic 70% cacao that is also biodynamic-certified. Founders Mary and Steve Kennedy believe that food is medicine and that chocolate is food! We are happy to get on board with a daily dose of chocolate! Packaged in fully compostable wrapping, this is a sweet treat you can feel good about gifting.

Image: Hubbard’s Peanuts

Hubbard’s Peanuts

Gifting a can of peanuts is indeed a Virginia holiday tradition. You sure won’t have trouble finding the peanut in Hubs Choco Covered Peanuts. They use their signature, salted, super extra-large Virginia peanuts and dip them in a light coating of a satisfying chocolate shell coating that doesn’t overpower. We love Hubs because they are the first-ever specialty peanut company, and they are probably why that peanut can is your go-to gift. Founded in 1954 in Sedley, Virginia, Dot Hubbard developed a unique way to cook the Virginia peanuts grown on her father’s farm. She used only the finest peanuts from the local harvest. Today, Dot’s family, and the company she created, continue that tradition.

The Wild Wander

There are many things to love about Clara Cline, the artist behind the Wild Wander. Not only is she the talent behind our Field Guide to the Virginia Table, but she’s also a thriving fempreneur in her own right. Created in collaboration with Join or Die Knives, Wild Wander’s Oyster Shucking Guide is the perfect addition to a coastal kitchen or bar and a unique gift for oyster enthusiasts. Their shop is on Strawberry St. in Richmond, so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by to see more local finds!

A man lifts two trays of blueberries from Three Notchd off of a cart in a parking lot
Image: Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

No one can thrive on an empty stomach, and food insecurity is still a concern across the Commonwealth. This year, help your neighbors by donating to the Community Fridges, Feed More, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank or the Feeding America organizations that support food banks in your region. You can give on behalf of a loved one, and you both get a special note stating a gift was made in their name.

The Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat

This is a must-have book for any foodie. Written by Richmond author Matt Siegel, He dives into the strange-but-true history of some of our favorite foods. Brimming with humor and unique anecdotes, this book is a must-read for all foodies, offering a unique exploration into the history and dimensions that shape our culinary experiences.

Mostly Veggies

This tasty cookbook from Richmond food blogger Brittany Mullins is a great way to hit those healthy eating goals when January rolls around! She shares tons of healthy, veggie-packed recipes for all types of eaters, plus meal prep tips to make it easy to stick with your goals.

The Humane Table: Cooking With Compassion

For the home chef who is mindful of the welfare of animals, The Humane Table shares mindfully prepared recipes constructed around the seasons– summer, fall, winter, and spring. Compiled by Dr. Robin Ganzert, CEO of American Humane, each recipe features ingredients compassionately produced by farmers, ranchers, and other American Humane Certified(TM) organizations. Whether simmering a stew on a cold night or grilling out under balmy skies, it is possible to set a humane table year-round. American Humane is the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare, overseeing the care of some one billion animals every year.

I Am From Here: Stories And Recipes From A Southern Chef

On the opening page, Chef Vishwesh Bhatt declares, “This cookbook thoughtfully, and persuasively, expands notions of what it means to be, and cook like, a Southerner today.” I Am From Here invites you to grill, stew, and fry your own way to an evolved southern table. Try Peanut Masala–Stuffed Baby Eggplant alongside fried okra tossed in tangy chaat masala, or Collard-Wrapped Catfish with a spicy Peanut Pesto. Organized by ingredient, the book emphasizes the staples, spices, and vegetables that are as beloved on the Indian subcontinent as they are in the American South.

Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes From The Matriarch Of Edisto Island

Emily Meggett, the matriarch of Edisto Island, shares the recipes of an essential American community, the Gullah and Geechee people from the Sea Islands of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. In Gullah and Geechee Home Cooking, Meggett shares recipes that have only lived in her head for decades. Heirloom rice, fresh-caught seafood, local game, and vegetables are key ingredients that are readily available to the Virginia cook. The cookbook includes snippets of the Meggett family history on Edisto Island, which stretches back to the 19th century.

The 2023 Gift Guide has a little bit of everything for all your favorite foodies. If you are searching for more Virginia businesses to support this holiday season, please check out our EAT and DRINK lists, too!

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