Enough with the bath salts.
For too long, soapy, fizzy, flowery bath products have been the go-to holiday gift for people who fall into the hard to shop for category. It has to stop.
Its not that were not grateful. Its just that there are only so many lotions, bath gels and body sprays a person can use in his or her lifetime and, frankly, were at our limit.
This year, if you find yourself at a department store – holding tight to a shopping list filled with ambiguous soap-related gift ideas – stop yourself and back away from the pink grapefruit-scented gift baskets. Remember, not everyone wants to smell like vanilla.
Eating vanilla, on the other hand thats a different story. Everybody likes vanilla.
So maybe its time for shoppers to make food their go-to gift for the hard to shop for crowd.
Gourmet food items such as artisan cheeses, imported olive oil and wine are just as indulgent as a bubble bath, right?
Here are three edible gift ideas, culled from gastro-boutiques and businesses from around the area.
Sweet and salty basket
The Nut House, 4150 W. Jefferson Blvd., offers roasted nuts and seeds, such as macadamia, pepitas, Brazil nuts and butter toffee peanuts. The store also sells specialty candy such as coconut haystacks and heavenly hash (marshmallows and roasted almonds smothered in chocolate).
Amish Country Popcorn, made in Berne, is sold throughout our area. In Allen County, you can pick some up at these locations (according to www.amishcountrypopcorn.com): The Great American Spice Co., 1411 Coliseum Blvd. N.; Josephs Herbs & Vitamins, 8816 Coldwater Road; Forever Friends Floral & Gifts, 618 Broadway St., New Haven; Grabill Country Sales, 13813 Fairview Drive, Grabill; H. Souder & Sons General Store, 13535 Main St., Grabill; Millers Country Store, 11205 Roth Road, Grabill; and Schmuckers, 12815 Doty Road, New Haven.
Candies from DeBrand Fine Chocolates
are a popular holiday gift, but this year, buck tradition and include a few of the stores unusual sweets such as the berry-flavored hot chocolate kit, cinnamon marshmallows or the spicy smore kit. Pick one up at any of these locations: 5608 Coldwater Road, 4110 W. Jefferson Blvd. and 10105 Auburn Park Drive.
Sweets are for amateurs. Real foodies want ingredients for creating lavish dishes that make their friends and family members drool. For lovers of Italian food, here are suggestions for locally made pasta-ready goodies.
The Olive Twist
in Covington Plaza at 6410 W. Jefferson Blvd., allows customers to taste and match olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars to please their individual palettes. Also available are specialty oils such as black or white truffle oil, avocado oil and Persian lime or blood orange extra virgin olive oil. The Olive Twist also has an Auburn store, 1339 S. Jackson St., open Fridays and Saturdays.
The Cheeseman Store, 1343 S. Jackson St., Auburn,
offers 50 varieties of artisan Wisconsin cheese, including combinations such as morel and leek cheese. Swissland Cheese Outlet in Berne sells grass-fed organic, raw milk and goat milk cheeses. According to the companys website, you can find Swissland Cheese in Fort Wayne at the Health Food Shoppe, 3515 N. Anthony Blvd., and Three Rivers Food Co-op, 1612 Sherman Blvd.
For wine, check out the selection at regional wineries such as Satek Winery in Fremont (www.satekwinery.com), Country Heritage Winery and Vineyard in LaOtto (www.countryheritagewinery.com), Stoney Creek Winery in Millersburg (www.stoneycreekwinery.com) and Stoney Ridge Winery in Bryan, Ohio (www.stoneyridgewinery.com).
And if you want to keep all of your ingredients local, you can also purchase pasta and spices such as oregano, rosemary and basil through The Great American Spice Co. (www.americanspice.com) or at the factory outlet, 1411 Coliseum Blvd. N.
Both early risers and night owls will appreciate a basket of local breakfast fare, including coffee and pancake mix.
Many local coffee houses roast their beans on site, including Old Crown Coffee Roasters, 3417 N. Anthony Blvd., and Higher Grounds (check www.highergroundsonline.com for locations).
For the tea drinkers in your life, check out the offerings at Firehouse Tea and Coffee Café, 1245 E. State Blvd., and pick up a gift certificate.
Greenfield Mills in Howe is Indianas oldest commercial water-powered mill and is famous for its organic flour and pancake mixes. The pancake mix comes in 11 flavors including pumpkin spice, chocolate chip, blueberry, buttermilk and buckwheat. The companys website (www.newrinkelflour.com) says you can find Greenfield Mills products in Allen County at the Three Rivers Food Co-op, 1612 Sherman Blvd., and Millers Country Store, 11205 Roth Road, Grabill.