Friday, December 11, 2009

A Christmas List Good Enough to Eat

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 10:37 PM

Is there anything more wonderful that a beautifully wrapped present that you can eat or drink? Not for me, which is why I’ve put these locally made gifts on my Christmas list.

More of my favorites are in this week’s issue of the Memphis Flyer, so please pass them along to Santa. And let me know of any homegrown gifts I’ve missed.


Going Nuts Pecans
If you’re on the fence about mixing sweet and salty, you need to check out Going Nuts Pecans, a specialty business owned by Brooke Ballenger and Louise Turley, who sell candy, flavored pecans, and gift baskets at Miss Cordelia’s in Harbor Town, at Palladio Antiques (2169 Central) and Market Central (2215 Central) in Midtown, and at Judy’s Tack Shop (2075 Exeter) in Germantown.

Ballenger and Turley are cousins who dreamed up the partnership while vacationing together. Now they offer a tempting selection of plain pecans (okay, they are roasted and salted), along with these yummy sweetened varieties: chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, honey toasted (the most popular pecan), and a new mixed bag of white and dark chocolate.

“Our mixed bag of white and dark chocolate pecans looks cute and festive,” Ballenger said. “And it’s something a little different for the holidays.”

The company also sells praline and peppermint bark, and can combine the candy and pecans into gift baskets, which are available by special order. See their website for photos and suggestions.

“We have a great assortment of gifts,” Ballenger said. “And we can work with any budget, from $2 stocking stuffers to $50 baskets.”
Going Nuts Pecans, (331-1491)

Ghost River Brewing
Here’s a sure bet for revving up the fun at holiday parties: show up with a growler (or two) of locally brewed beer from Ghost River Brewery. Located on the northwest corner of South Main Street and Crump Boulevard, the downtown brewery offers its four beers — plus the seasonal Wee Heavy — in half-gallon growlers for $10 plus a $3 bottle deposit.

You can stop by the brewery dock and purchase growlers (or kegs!) Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ghost River Brewing, 827 S. Main, (278-0087)


CSA Shares from Whitton Farms
So many CSA enthusiasts asked Jill and Keith Forrester about buying shares as holiday gifts, that the local farmers posted application forms for the upcoming spring and summer season on their Whitton Farms website. “People want to give shares as presents, and we think it’s a great idea,” Jill said.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture and purchasing a share ensures subscribers a grab bag of organic fruit and vegetables every week. Subscribers pay in advance for shares, which are delivered to local farmers markets.

Jill recommends a half share of veggies ($20) each week for a couple with mixed diets. A full share ($30) is recommended for two vegetarians. (FYI: I buy a full share for my husband and me, and we eat a mixed diet, but I do cook a lot and sometimes have veggies for freezing.) Mixed flower bouquets (and they are beautiful) also are sold in half and full shares.
Whitton Farms, Tyronza, Arkansas, (870-815-9519)

Caramel Apple Cake
A few weeks ago, I had lunch downtown at the Market Café on Madison with my co-workers, and we shared a slice of the café’s caramel apple cake. It was a hearty dessert, served with a generous wallop of whipped cream, and we marveled at the cake’s delicious combination of apples, pecans, and caramel. We all wanted the last bite.

Thanks to the culinary expertise of chef Kjeld Petersen, the café’s caramel apple cake is available during the holidays for specials orders. It costs $24, and the café needs a two-day turnaround time.

“This is a great cake for the holidays, because it’s not your normal dessert,” said café owner Ed Bell. “There’s only one problem. We don’t give you the whipped cream. You’ll have to make that on your own.”
Market Café, 149 Madison, (577-0086)

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