Tired of bringing the same old bottle of wine as a hostess gift at every holiday gathering? Here are some foodie-inspired gifts you can pick up around town, and now your hostess can sit down after doing a ton of work for her party and enjoy the fruits (or other treats) of her labor.
Kentucky Bourbon Pie
Najla Aswad has created a Kentucky Bourbon Pie in a jar. Just add your eggs and butter and pour into a pie crust and bake. Here Najla paired it with a Louisville Stoneware pie plate. These are available at all the Paul’s Fruit Markets, A Taste of Kentucky, Louisville Stoneware, Najla’s Specialty Foods, Bermuda Highway, Party Mart — Brownsboro Road, Nanz & Kraft, with more stores added daily. These pies are sold for $14.99. You can also order directly from Najla’s Specialty Foods by calling (502) 412-4420.
Louie’s Derby Cake by Mert’s Cakes
The Louie’s Derby Cake features a fusion of moist butter praline cake, dark chocolate, brown sugar and fine Kentucky bourbon. The cake will last seven days unrefrigerated, 30 days refrigerated and six months frozen. The small cake retails for $22.50 and the large for $38.50. To purchase, you can go to Mert’s Cakes at 11511 Shelbyville Road (behind Suntime Pools) where they are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. You can also purchase on their website MertsCakes.com. Email them at [email protected] or call them at (502) 552-2838.
Cellar Door Chocolates has a wonderful sweet treat to offer your hostess. These chocolate-dipped Oreos come in dark or white chocolate with Christmas decor on the top. Sold four to a pack for $9, you might want to buy more than one pack.
Build your own box of macarons
Ghyslain has wonderful macarons, and you can mix and match an entire case of six for $15. Pick from such delicious flavors as chocolate, coconut, coffee, fleur de sel caramel, pistachio, raspberry and more. Like the Oreos above, you may want to double up on your order — one for the hostess and one to keep!
Clay & Cotton is known for their apparel and gifts for every occasion, which is why we couldn’t help but notice the wall of Mrs. Weinstein’s Toffee lining the store walls when we went searching for the perfect hostess gift. Available in flavors such as milk chocolate almond, milk chocolate pecan, dark almond and dark almond sea salt, there’s a reason they sell so well … you can’t help but buy a box for $18.
Homemade sauces from La Pêche
Bring the addictive flavors of La Pêche home with one (or all!) of their homemade sauces, on sale at this classic Louisville eatery. Whether your hostess has a sweet tooth (go caramel or chocolate fudge) or leans to the savory end of the spectrum (the Kentucky Tavern Sauce is where it’s at!), they will be delighted by the depth of flavor Kathy Cary masterfully works into these toppings. On sale at La Pêche for $8 each
Cheddar Pecan Torte
If you’re anything like us, you find it nearly impossible to resist the cheddar pecan torte, crafted by the good people at The Cheddar Box. It is an excellent contribution to the food spread at any holiday gathering, or it’s a lovely gift for the friend you know will be entertaining more than once this holiday season. They are available for $16.50 per torte.
Ale 8 salsa and barbecue sauces
Ale 8, a Kentucky native soft drink since 1926, is now incorporating its unique ginger flavor into sauces. The salsa comes in sweet and spicy varieties, using Kentucky tomatoes and peppers. The barbecue sauce uses Kentucky Proud honey, and sorghum for its thin and spicy flavor. Pick up any of these Ale 8 sauces at Blooms by Essential Details in La Grange. The salsa retails for $8.56, and the sauce is $10.
The name says it all: these are snacks to eat with your cocktails. The tapas selection includes sweet peppers, hot peppers and baby squash, all stuffed with Austrian cream cheese and packed in herbed oil. This easy appetizer involves only opening the jar and serving it to your guests. These are sold at Circe + Swag for $9 each.
Dips and dip chillers
A genius idea to keep your dips cold for hours has come to fruition with the Dip Chiller. Available for $12 at The Secret Garden, simply put ice in the base of this ceramic holder, and your dips will be cold and fresh for the entire party. Various dips to accompany your dip chiller are also sold here for $4 each, and include hot caramelized onion, cheddar and bacon, and creamy ranch.
Christmas in a Cup tea
Paul’s has loads of edible goodies on offer this holiday season. From gift baskets stuffed with Kentucky-made treats to boxes of bourbon balls, the choices are endless. We especially liked this Christmas in a Cup tea, made by Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, located in Danville. Their seasonal black tea blend is on sale at Paul’s for $6.99 and includes 15 servings.
Check out this peppermint fudge hot chocolate, all wrapped up in a pretty bag with a candy cane attached, ready for pickup. Thank you, Digs, for putting these great and yummy gifts together for us for $11 a bag.
A proper gentleman deserves a proper toothpick, and a proper Kentucky gentleman most certainly requires a toothpick infused with bourbon! These fanciful picks are sold at Scout on Market in individual packs for $8. They also offer a beautiful gift box of six sets of flavor-infused toothpicks, including bourbon, as well as cinna-mint and salted birch. This is the ideal offering for the “host with the most” in your life.
Golden arrow cheese markers
Nothing dresses up a cheese tray quite like these beautiful golden arrow cheese markers. You will find them at the Fleur de Lis; we suggest completing the gift with a hunk of your favorite blue or a wheel of your preferred Brie. At $28 for the set, they are a wonderful way to say thank you and happy holidays.
Winter Frolic hostess tray
Dolfinger’s has a variety of intricately painted plates and platters by Juliska, each one embellished with idyllic winter landscapes. We liked the hostess tray in particular, the Winter Frolic scene playful and perfectly elegant. This gift is ideal for the most discerning of hosts and is oven-, dishwasher- and microwave-safe for easy cleanup and handling. Available at Dolfinger’s for $78
The Manhattan Cocktail: A Modern Guide to the Whiskey Classic by Albert W. A. Schmid
We trust anything a local writes about spirits, and since Albert Schmid is a Louisvillian, well, we trust his guide. A Manhattan is so much more than whiskey, vermouth and bitters, and Albert goes about detailing all the different types of this fantastic drink that has been around since right after the Civil War ended. There are more than 50 recipes in this book and a great deal of interesting history, as well. Available for purchase at Carmichael’s for $14.95
What’s a Hostess to Do? by Susan Spungen
It’s always great to gather entertaining inspiration from an expert, especially when he or she covers such a wide range of topics. In this book by Susan Spungen, she gives us tips on saving money, time and sanity, and she offers great (and easy!) recipes, as well. This is sold for $17.95 at Work the Metal.
We hope this list of hostess gifts inspires you to entertain or to entertain the idea of shopping for your hostess. Either way, celebrate the holiday season to its fullest! Be sure to download our free SB App, and you can have access to all the shopping and foodie delights here in Louisville right at your fingertips. Have a great month!
Thank you to Lindsey McClave for contributing to this article.