‘Tis the season for friends, celebrations and gift-giving! What could be more perfect than sharing a delicious hand-crafted treat made right here in the Mid-South?! Memphis has so many talented local artisans making homemade snacks, condiments, beverages and candies — each one-of-a-kind product is good food made by good people with love. Here is a list of 10 of our favorite locally made food gifts for the holidays.
10 Locally Made Food Gifts for the Holidays
Shotwell Candy Company creates some of the most delicious caramels. They are chewy and have a depth of flavor like no other caramel we have tasted. Owner Jerrod Smith started his now-thriving business in his home kitchen. “I love making caramel and making people smile,” he says with a grin. For the holidays, look for their brand-new Signature Collection Holiday Box. It features four 4-ounce boxes of caramel in original salted, dark chocolate & orange, hand-crushed espresso and holiday mint. “It makes a great gift not only because of the quality of the caramel inside, but the box also tells the story about how I started Shotwell Candy and how important family was in our growth. Not just blood relatives, but our friend families, faith families and work families,” says Jerrod.
We can’t get enough of Billie’s Pecans! This family-run business based out of Crenshaw, MS, has been creating delicious pecan treats since 1981. With a variety of flavors and combination gift boxes, a box of Billie’s Pecans makes the ideal gift. One of our favorite flavors is their cinnamon spiced pecans. They’re deliciously sweet and offer a true taste of the season. For your holiday gift giving, consider the Simply Duo sampler, which includes those yummy cinnamon spiced pecans and their milk chocolate pecans. “Since most love chocolate and sugar, this is a perfect combination to satisfy any craving,” says Stacy Crenshaw, who now runs the business.
WHERE TO BUY: Billie’s Pecans can be purchased online at billiespecans.com or by calling (800) 624-7404.
Carolyn Dodson-King of Dodson’s Farm makes the most wonderful jams and jellies from fruits and vegetables grown on her family farm and from neighboring farmers. Her most popular flavor is the strawberry limeade. “It takes strawberry jam to a whole new level and makes the best peanut butter and jam sandwich ever,” says Carolyn. For the holidays, she has cooked up something special. “We have two flavors of jam that I love for the holidays! Cranberry jalapeño, which is fabulous with cream cheese and crackers, over goat cheese on a sliced baguette or on a turkey sandwich,” says Carolyn, “and Christmas spirit jam is our other holiday favorite. It features strawberries, cranberries, orange juice, orange liqueur and spices.”
For over 25 years, Stephanie Upshaw has been making her irresistible toffee from a special family recipe and giving it as Christmas gifts to her friends. When her daughter headed off to college last year, she decided to turn this hobby into a business. And we are glad she did! Made with Delta pecans and milk chocolate, this made-from-scratch treat is her Southern twist on English toffee. Beautifully packaged in eye-catching ribbon-wrapped boxes, Bluff City Toffee is the perfect gift for anyone. “Teachers love it; hostesses love it; grandparents love it,” says Stephanie. “And it is a special small gift for all occasions, not just the holidays!”
WHERE TO BUY: Bluff City Toffee is available online at bluffcitytoffee.com and at several retail stores in town such as Palladio Home & Garden, Buster’s and Dixie Pickers. Orders may also be placed by phone at (901) 486-8500.
Judy Douglass has been baking pound cakes her whole life. Using her mother’s recipe, she has always given her cakes to friends and loved ones during the holidays and offered them as comfort food when words simply wouldn’t work. Soon her friends were calling to place orders. Perfect for the holidays, cinnamon pecan is the most popular flavor. You can choose from 10 flavors, and they all have their own unique taste. “My favorite flavor,” says Judy, “is pretty much whichever one I am eating at the moment. The taste of butter and real ingredients always comes through. And they make great gifts, because who doesn’t like cake?!” As an added bonus, Judy’s cakes are packaged in a cute brown box that makes it perfect to give as a gift!
WHERE TO BUY: Judy Pound Cakes can be bought in a number of stores in Memphis, such as Whole Foods, Miss Cordelia’s, Buster’s, Doc’s Wines, Spirits, & More and High Point Grocery, as well as online at judypoundcakes.com.
Jim O’Brien’s drink mixers are crazy good! This talented chef started his Crazy Good® Specialty Foods back in 2013 with his specialty hot sauces and Crazy Mary! Bloody Mary mix. Crazy Rita! margarita mix soon followed. The originals are two of the most popular in his line of drink mixers, but if you like a Bloody Mary with a twist, try his Crazy Chipotle Mary! or Crazy Green Mary! For the holidays, Jim is offering a 4-pack of his sauces and seasonings: Green Chili Dust, Red Chile Rub, 901 Pepper Sauce and Gold Habanero Sauce. He’s also offering a special holiday pack of all three of his Bloody Mary mixers.
WHERE TO BUY: Crazy Good products can be purchased online at crazygoodsauce.com as well as at local stores such as City Silo Table + Pantry, Curb Market, SuperLo Foods, Whole Foods, Miss Cordelia’s and City Market.
When you eat a cookie from Sweet LaLa’s Bakery, not only are you enjoying a delicious treat, you are making a difference in our community. Owner Lauren Young has partnered with a local nonprofit called JIFF, a highly effective juvenile intervention program for repeat offenders, to give these kids a second chance. Using Lauren’s family recipe, Sweet LaLa’s cookies have a soft texture and hint of almond. “Every cookie flavor we have is crafted from this amazing base recipe,” Lauren explains. Their Dainty Dozen Tin with a mix of the Original LaLa and ChocoLaLa cookies makes a holiday gift we’d love to receive.
WHERE TO BUY: Sweet LaLa’s Cookies can be found at City Silo Table + Pantry, Buster’s, City & State, Curb Market, Great Wines and Spirits, Novel, Palladio Home & Garden and Pickering Boxwood. All their products can also be ordered online at sweetlalas.com.
Wolf River Popcorn makes sweet and salty popcorn snacks that are howlin’ good! They offer classic flavors like caramel corn and cheesy white cheddar, as well as a fun Memphis mix with a hint of smoky BBQ seasoning. For the holidays, give their Memphis mix (choose from mild or spicy) in a half-gallon bag or 1-gallon holiday tin, or opt for the personal holiday favorite of the owners, Jim and Jan Owen: a really big, 2-gallon holiday tin containing Classic Caramel, Better White Cheddar and Spicy Memphis Mix. “Here is variety and just plain fun that gives everyone plenty of the best — from rich, warm and buttery caramel, to a light and lively true white-cheddar experience, to the wallop of our Memphis BBQ explosion,” says Jim.
WHERE TO BUY: Visit Wolf River Popcorn’s website at wolfriverpopcorn.com to order online or to check for the many different retailers in the area that carry their products. Or order by calling (901) 849-9262.
Loren Powell has been making her great-grandmother’s fudge sauce for over 25 years. Last year, she launched Backhouse Foods with the idea of sharing her special family recipes that have been passed down through the years. Loren’s current line of products consists of three wonderfully indulgent and delicious dessert sauces appropriately branded as “Nana’s Famous.” We can’t pick which one we love most! “The new Wrapped Trio is perfect for holiday gift-giving,” explains Loren. “It is beautifully packaged and includes Nana’s Famous Hot Fudge Sauce, Praline Sauce and Walnuts.”
Some like it hot! Nikki’s Hot chips, seasoning and Bloody Mary mix all make great holiday gifts for those that love all things hot and spicy! After years of family and friends showing up at owner Nikki Schroeder’s door for little baggies of her homemade seasoning, she finally decided to bottle it. “From the seasoning, the chips and Bloody Mary mix were born,” she explains. For the holidays, Nikki’s Hot is offering a Holiday Gift Basket that includes a bottle of Nikki’s Memphis Hot Bloody Mary Mix, a party-size bag of Nikki’s Memphis Hot Chips, four individual bags of Nikki’s Memphis Hot Chips and a bottle of Nikki’s Memphis Hot Seasoning.
WHERE TO BUY: Nikki’s Hot Products are available at Kroger, Whole Foods and lots of other local shops around town. You can also order online at NikkisHotProducts.com. The Holiday Gift Basket is only available online.
Now, go support your local food makers by giving hostesses and loved ones these delicious holiday gifts!