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Great gift ideas for food lovers

By Margie Mansure (

Article Published: Dec. 13, 2012 | Modified: Dec. 13, 2012

Every Christmas, there are people on my gift list that probably shouldn’t be, since they have everything they need and want.

But there are certain traditions, like buying for parents and siblings, that are nearly impossible to change. This year, I have decided to use my purchasing power to support the High Country’s ethically ran businesses that produce food and beverage. I carefully assembled gift baskets filled with locally produced goodies.

If this is something you would like to consider, here are a few basket stuffing suggestions:
Hands Gallery on King Street in Boone has beautiful, handmade baskets to begin with. Purchasing anything in this store makes a beautiful gift and supports a local artist, but a handmade coffee mug fits nicely into the theme.

If there are wine lovers on your list, check out New River Winery in Lansing. The grapes are grown regionally, and they have white, red and a variety of fruit wines to choose from. You may visit the tasting room in Lansing on Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m. The product is also available at Bare Essentials in Boone.

Adding a pound of freshly roasted coffee beans is easy, since there are a couple of amazing local coffee roasters in town. Bald Guy Brew donates 10 percent of every sale to the International Justice Mission to help fight the battle for children who are forced into slavery or prostitution. He also uses organic, shade-grown, certified fair trade beans. He is located on the N.C. 105 Bypass and open Tuesday through Friday mornings. Espresso News has longer hours and is located on Howard Street in downtown Boone. They roast a variety of organic and fair trade beans, as well.

Fire from the Mountain is a local brand of applewood smoked chipotle and habanero hot sauce and salsas. Smoking the peppers and tomatoes gives the salsa a wonderful flavor. They grow as much as they are able and purchase the rest from local farmers. You may find the products at Bare Essentials, Peabody’s and Earth Fare, or order on-line

The Pasta Wench makes excellent, novelty dried pasta that ships nicely. I found that the lemon pepper fettuccini tastes great with seafood. There are many other flavors to choose from, including chocolate cabernet, wild mushroom, southwest chipotle and cabernet wild wine. Bare Essentials and Earth Fare carry this pasta, or you may order on-line

Stick Boy Bread Company makes many yummy Christmas treats, but the rum cake and chocolate liquor cake would be great for shipping. Any of their sweets would be a nice addition to a basket delivered in person, especially the Christmas stolen.

Mountain honey is so delicious, but hard to find in the winter. I did locate some at Bare Essentials and Earth Fare in Boone. The Honey Hole of the Blue Ridge, a shop in West Jefferson, carries a variety. Burton Moomaw, acupuncturist and beekeeper on Depot Street, sells from his office.

Lynne Soder, president of the area beekeepers association, makes bees wax candles and goats milk and honey soap. You may contact her at (336) 877-5161 for more information.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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