On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… Okay, we all know the song, but most of us don’t have room (or the necessary permits) for partridges, turtle doves, and seven swans here in the city.
For a slightly simpler—and less messy—take on the holiday giftapalooza, check out my picks for 12 days of giving, from ice cream to olive oil:
12 Local Brewery Beer Mats
If your true love is as crazy about beer as they are about you, perhaps they’d love a set of twelve craft beer mats from the Pacific Northwest. For under $4, you can give a comprehensive collection of Oregon brewery coasters that will deck any coffee table with beer-lovin’ pride. They’d also make great tree ornaments! (P.S. No one has to know you didn’t collect them from each brewery yourself). Find them at: New Seasons.
11 Ounces of Organic Chocolate Sauce
Chances are, your true love is on a special diet of some kind. Whether sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free, or eat-everything-at-anytime, everyone needs chocolate. Holy Kakow’s locally-produced organic chocolate sauces are sweetened with agave nectar for your sensitive sweetie. Find them at: New Seasons, Alberta Street Co-op, Food Front, and Whole Foods Markets.
10 Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolates
Maybe your true love is a fan of chocolate in its solid form, and likes their sweet treats doctor-approved. If so, send them some allergen-free Missionary Chocolates that are among the best in Portland, vegan or otherwise. These large gourmet truffles come in gift-worthy sets of five, but with more than five flavors to choose from, you’ll just have to get two boxes! Find them at: Food Front Co-op and the Missionary Chocolates storefront at 2712 NE Glisan St.
9 Handmade Marshmallows
So what is your true love going to do with all that chocolate? Well, with some handmade marshmallows, they’re two thirds of the way to s’mores! These fluffy favorites from Portland-based confectioners A Little Bit of Sweet come in three flavors (in packs of three!). Choose from vanilla bean, peppermint, and chocolate covered marshmallows, or spoil your sweetheart with the whole line. Find them at: New Seasons, Food Front, and Cooper’s Coffee.
8 Ounces of Olympic Provisions Paté
By now, your true love is surely saying "Alright, alright, enough with the sweet stuff!" Treat them with a bit of savory decadence in the form of Olympic Provisions paté. Everyone’s tried the Portland charcuterie outpost’s salamis, but this product just hit the shelves in time for the holidays. Choose from Pork Pistachio Paté, Pork Liver Mousse and Pork Rillette, add some crackers, and it’s a party. Find them at: Vancouver Food Coop, New Seasons, Zupans, Pastaworks, and Cork Wine Shop.
7 Days of Farm-Fresh Meals, Delivered
What better way to detox from six weeks of eggnog and holiday cookies than with seven days of chef-inspired, farm-fresh meals delivered to your true love’s door? Farm to Fit’s locally-sourced meals—prepared by Garden State’s Kevin Sandri—are never frozen, taste way better than most brown-bagged lunches, and weekly plans start at just $160 (yep, for 21 meals). Find them at: FarmToFit.com
6 Kinds of Oregon Olive Oil
Once that detox is over, your true love will surely want to be inspired to create their own farm-fresh meals. Bring out their inner discerning gourmand by giving them a sampler of local olive oils from the Oregon Olive Mill. Here’s a romantic idea: try a blind taste-test of both the new (olio nuovo) and aged blends of the mill’s three olive varieties—Arbequina, Koroneiki, and Tuscan—then pick a favorite (blindfolds not included). Find them at: Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms, Northwest Wines to You, Salt & Straw Scoop Shop, and Made in Oregon.
5 "Kinder" Surprise Eggs
These dark- and white-chocolate eggs from Pix Patisserie hide a miniature surprise—a tiny French figurine—and will surely bring a smile to your true love’s face. If they’ve traveled to Europe, they’ll surely recognize these eggs and will be excited to amass a small army of oh-so-cute pirates, pastry chefs, motorcycles, comic strip characters, and rugby players. Find them at: Both Pix locations.
4 Ounces of Oregon Hand-Harvested Sea Salt
If your true love is a locavore at heart, chances are they haven’t been able to find a replacement for that fancy finishing salt they crave. This year, thanks to native Oregonian Ben Jacobsen, your true love can finally have it all. The hand-harvested sea salts from Jacobsen Sea Salt come from the cold waters of the Oregon coast, and add a delightful crunch to dishes sweet and savory. Find them at: Pastaworks, Salt & Straw, Foster & Dobb’s, and more to come.
3 Bottled Hot Sauces
If your true love likes to spice things up, treat them with a trio of sauces from Nong’s Khao Man Gai, now available. Pump up your sweetheart’s pantry with a bottle of Nong Sukwattana’s classic Khao Man Gai sauce, Nong’s Hot Sauce, and Thai Palm Syrup, and indulge in one of Portland’s favorite food cart flavors at home. Find them at: Both cart locations, SW 10th & Alder and 411 SW College St.
2 Pints of Ice Cream
Maybe your true love (or your true love’s mother) is cooking a big fancy meal for the holidays, and you’ve been asked to bring dessert. Look no further than Salt & Straw’s limited-edition seasonal flavors, like Egg Nog with Butter Rum Caramel (made with Deco Rum from Portland’s Distillery Row), Gingerbread with Hard Sauce, Peppermint Cocoa (made with Holy KaKow Chocolate and locally-grown peppermint from Seely Family Farm), or Brown Sugar-Caramelized Sweet Potato (with housemade marshmallows). Pack ‘em in an insulated tote and you’re ready to roll. Find them at: Salt & Straw Scoop Shop, 2035 NE Alberta St.
…and an acre of land for the hungry.
On the final day of giving, how ’bout giving your true love a gift that gives back? Through Farmers Ending Hunger and the Adopt an Acre program, you can help get farm-fresh food to families in need through the Oregon Food Bank. Farmers from around the state are donating their time and harvests to make sure hungry children and adults throughout Oregon get the nutrition they need, but they can certainly use your help. Donations start at just $25, which feeds 190 families whole grains for one day. Find them at: FarmersEndingHunger.com
Want to simplify your gift-giving but still impress? You’ve got to check out the gift baskets from Give Portland Gifts and CorksCru. These folks are putting together baskets chock full of artisan products from Portland, which means your can spend less time shopping and more time doing what your true love really wants this holiday season: Truly loving.