Every year I am faced with sending gifts to members of my extended family in Sweden. I makes no sense to me to buy mass produced items made in China then ship then to my relatives across the pond, so I scour about for regionally made items art, house wares and food stuffs. Here are some of my suggestions for a Merry Made in Louisiana holiday.
The Palmer Park Arts Market, put on by the Arts Council of New Orleans, will be held both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park is bordered by South Carrollton Avenue, South Claiborne Avenue, Dublin Street and Sycamore Place, at the end of the St. Charles streetcar line. The Arts Market is the Arts Council’s free, open-air marketplace of artwork by New Orleans and Gulf Coast artists, featuring between 80 and 130 local artists. The artwork ranges from paintings, photography, printmaking, ceramics, glasswork and jewelry to wood, handmade clothing, soap and other handmade items. Over the years I have found many spectacular items to share as gifts – and more than a few to add to my already hefty collection.
Founded in 1953 by LL Doc Mullins, Baker Maid began as a bakery supply company providing bakery ingredients to bakeries and food retailers in New Orleans. Doc also operated several of his own retail bakeries throughout the city, including Dixiana Bakery and Barracks Bakery in the French Quarter. Shortly after Doc opened Baker Maid, he developed a fruitcake that became a local favorite and, eventually, so popular that it became Baker Maid’s sole offering. Doc later closed his retail operations and focused solely on Baker Maid and selling his Creole Royal Fruitcake to local stores. I know: most fruitcakes are terrible things best used as doorstops. Not so with Baker Maid’s Creole Royal Fruitcake, which is made with a vaguely sweet, dark dough loaded with glacé fruit. It is cut and wrapped in individual slices and comes in a beautiful reusable tin with a watercolor painting of St. Louis Cathedral on the cover. Their products, made right over on Julia Street, really are top notch and, in many cases, beautifully packaged. I buy mine at Castellon Pharmacy (8232 Oak St., 866-3784, castellonrx.com) or Langenstein’s Market (1330 Arabella St., 899-9283, langenstiens.com).
On Sunday from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. the Church at Hotel Peter and Paul (2317 Burgundy St., 356-5200, hotelpeterandpaul.com) will host a Holiday Bake Sale and Gift Market featuring many of the city’s top bakers, printmakers, florists, vintage treasure hunters, ceramic artists, perfumers, jewelry makers and beyond. Snack on holiday exclusives from our bakers, find that perfect gift, or just experience the beauty and merriment of the Church with a hot bowl of pozole from Little Kitchen or a glass of mulled wine from Bacchanal Wine. Fill your cookie tins, fill your stockings, fill your heart.
French Truck Coffee has released its 2019 holiday blend, La Fête de Noël. In addition this year, French Truck offers two specially curated holiday gift boxes for easy gift-giving. The Nola Holiday Gift Box, priced at $52, is filled with four 12-ounce bags of signature New Orleans blends, including La Fête de Noël, La Nouvelle Orleans Chicory Coffee, Premium New Orleans Dark Roast and Le Grand COQ Rouge. The Holiday Gift Box, priced at $60, allows the gift giver to mix and match signature blends and single origins. This box includes two 12-ounce bags of signature blends and two 12-ounce bags of single origins. Each coffee has been crafted with the highest quality standard for which French Truck is known. Also this year, French Truck has added FTC themed merchandise for family and friends. Merchandise includes mugs and tumblers, apparel and several stocking stuffers. All items are available online or in any French Truck location.
The Link Restaurant Group has created three unique Cochon Butcher bags available for gift giving this holiday season. Each Butcher branded cooler bag was specially curated by the meat cleaver-wielding krewe at Cochon Butcher and packed with a selection of gifts for any meat lover or drink enthusiast. The bags are ideal for tailgating, parading, picnicking, and other casual gatherings. Butcher’s Meat Cooler Bag includes Cochon Butcher’s andouille sausage and country-smoked sausage paired with Cochon Abita whole grain mustard. The meat cooler bag is available for $50. Butcher’s Bar Bag is packed with two Butcher branded pint glasses and koozies, the infamous Rik Slave bottle opener, a handcrafted cutting board made by Chef Stephen Stryjewski’s father, Bob Stryjewski, Cochon hot sauce and a Bloody Mary spice bag for $90. Butcher’s Kitchen Bag is stocked with Cochon signature hot sauce and whole grain mustard, a handcrafted cutting board made by Bob Stryjewski, an embroidered kitchen towel, and the choice of one of Chef Donald Link’s cookbooks for $125. How easy is that? All Butcher bags are available for purchase online at shop.LinkRestaurantGroup.com.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Use it to celebrate the people and the community you love and shop local.