Austin certainly makes it easy to shop locally, especially when you’re buying for the foodies on your gift list.
Here are some of our favorite culinary finds all around town for holiday gift-giving.
Austin Homebrew Supply
9129 Metric Blvd., 512-300-2739
Though primarily known for beer- and wine-making supplies, Austin Homebrew also carries everything needed to make your own cheese. Each kit clearly lists the ingredients included plus other equipment needed to turn your home kitchen into a cheese cave. Choose from individual kits for making ricotta and paneer, mozzarella, feta, marscapone or goat cheese ($4.99-$24.99), or a basic hard cheese kit which makes up to 30 pounds of farmhouse cheddar, gouda, Monterey Jack, cottage cheese, Colby, parmesan and ricotta ($29.99).
603 N. Lamar Blvd., 512-472-5050
Don’t fret if you missed Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook signing this past weekend — Book People is stocked with signed copies ($35) for the aspiring food blogger in your family. On December 14 at 7 p.m., Dai Due’s Jesse Griffiths will also make an appearance and sign copies of his new book, Afield, a beautifully photographed cookbook and guide to preparing and cooking wild game and fish in Texas. You can also pick up issues of harder-to-find magazines like Lucky Peach and Gastronomica and surprise your favorite foodie with a subscription! The cooking aisle, much like the rest of the store, is also chock-full of fun gift items, like a cocktail shaker disguised as a spray paint can ($20), Russian doll measuring cups ($13), and reusable silicone Chinese takeout containers ($12).
Dickey Glass and Company
937 Reinli, 512-574-9838
Surprise your family’s hostess with the mostess with a set of glasses fit for a holiday feast. Dickey Glass and Company specializes in customized glassware hand-painted with organic, eco-friendly paints. Choose from 144 colors, 3 finishes, and endless shapes, including wine glasses, cake plates, votives, pint glasses, vases, beer mugs, and martini glasses (prices vary). Check out the online color guide and call to place an order or make an appointment in the showroom.
4001 N. Lamar Blvd. #300, 512-381-8111
With its old-timey hardware store feel, it is only appropriate that Zinger retails the hand-cranking Whirlypop stovetop popcorn popper ($27) and a spectrum of Amish popping corn ($5.99) to accompany it. They also have high quality grilling gadgets for the pitmaster of the bunch, including sturdy, wooden-handled Sportulas — stainless steel spatulas laser cut with various team names, state shapes and emblems ($24.99).
601 N. Lamar Blvd. #100-A, 512-236-9301
The kitchen section of Anthropologie could inspire even the most gastronomically challenged takeout queen to get cookin’. Visit Austin’s Lamar and Fifth Street location for an array of frilly, striped and floral aprons ($36-$42), and paisley, polka-dotted and patterned potholders ($12-$14). Bejeweled and carved knobs and hooks ($8-$48) transform lackluster cabinets into any foodie’s wonderland. Ceramics include an adorable hedgehog measuring cup set ($36), handpainted measuring spoons ($14-$18), and egg cartons and farmers market baskets of the reusable persuasion ($12-$20).
3419 N. Lamar Blvd., 512-371-9929
This central Austin gift shop prides itself on unique items for home, garden, kids and pets. The kitchen section boasts an array of salt and pepper shakers, from clear glass pigs by Made by Humans to a bird house with bird by Tag to glass king and queen chess pieces by Kikkerland ($7.50-$28.00). Awww-inspiring, chrome-plated menagerie (bird/bunny/cat) bottle stoppers by Umbra make for great stocking stuffers ($13).
Faraday’s Kitchen Store
1501 Ranch Road 620 North, Lakeway, TX, 512-266-5666
It’s worth the trek to Lakeway for the wealth of culinary items that Faraday’s Kitchen Store has in stock. Some popular gift items include a non-stick pan that makes grilling pizza a cinch ($19.99), a donut pan with Stonewall’s doughnut mix (pan $26.99, mix $9.99), and a stovetop smoker ($38.99-$59.99) with a variety of wood chip refills to choose from ($3.99). For more info and ideas, check out the 2012 Holiday Gift Guide on Facebook.
Savory Spice Shop
1201 W. Sixth St., 512-524-1093
There’s something for everyone — even the fully-equipped cook — at the Savory Spice Shop. Spices are freshly ground and packaged in-house and can be purchased individually or in themed sets with names like Bayou Bounty, Flavors of Morocco, and Tastes of Texas. Choose from over 30 pre-made gift baskets ($20-$75) or design your own. Himalayan sea salt slabs ($31.75) can be used to cure or serve sushi at room temperature, or can be used in the oven or on the grill to evenly cook and season meat, fish or vegetables. And don’t miss the charming Lilliputian pewter salt cellars ($36) at the counter, which can be paired with one or more of their spectrum of gourmet salts, from red to pink to black.
241 W. Third St., 512-480-0171
This new Warehouse District kitchen store opened just in time for the holidays. Find everything from high-end brand names like Le Creuset, All-Clad and Wustof to stocking stuffers like fork and spoon graphic condiment dishes ($5) and local condiments such as Torchy’s Tacos diablo sauce and Black’s barbecue sauce. Other products range from the utilitarian JosephJoseph line, with smart gadgets like the Chop2Pot ($22), a cutting board which neatly shoots choppings to their destination, to whimsical Imm Living products like sea-inspired mugs, horned creature cruets and Chinese New Year wine corks ($15 and up). For the friend who entertains frequently, a pad of vintage-inspired, illustrated paper placemats ($22) from the Kitchen Papers line would serve as the perfect gift.
Whittington’s Jerky and General Store
602 U.S. 281, Johnson City, TX, 830-868-5500
Though Whittington’s jerky can be found at Central Market, Spec's, and a handful of Austin convenience stores, it’s worth the drive out to the Johnston City general store for the samples alone! Whittington's also offers $5 off gift baskets for online orders during the month of December, and free shipping on orders over $10. Take one bite into the fresh, lean jerky and you will understand why they’ve been doing it this way for over 40 years.
Austin Wine Merchant
512 W. Sixth St., 512-499-0512
Need a gift for your mixologist cousin… or spirited uncle? Austin Wine Merchant carries a variety of bitters which add depth to any cocktail. Choose from Sarsparilla Dry Bitters, locally-made by Bad Dog Bar Craft ($13.75), ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters from Bittermen’s Bitters ($16.25), locally-made Barkeep Chinese Organic Bitters ($14.99) and many more. Also available is a Cocktail Bitters Traveler’s Set made by The Bitter Truth. With five 20mL sample-sized bottles, it’s perfect perfect for the indecisive (or experimental) drinker ($21.25). AWM also prides itself in beautifully wrapped and packaged liquor or wine-focused gift baskets in various price ranges.
Back to the Roots mushroom kits
Available locally at Natural Grocers, Whole Foods and Central Market
Back to the Roots was founded by two students in their last semester at UC Berkeley in 2009 as a way of turning waste into revenue and teaching the community about growing local food. Their grow-at-home mushroom kit ($19.95) lets you grow up to one and a half pounds of oyster mushrooms per box, simply by misting recycled Peet’s coffee grounds twice daily. Pay it forward and post a picture of your fully grown kit on their Facebook page: they’ll then donate a kit and sustainability curriculum to an elementary school classroom of your choice.