Eater D.C.’s picks for the holiday season will please a wide range of tastes. This guide spans from sugary, savory and boozy items to non-edible presents and functional party favors.
Local companies Sloppy Mama’s, District Winery, Puddin’, and Shrub District are slinging compact sets that work as easy stocking stuffers. Internationally recognized confectionary brands like Milk Bar — started by D.C. area native Christina Tosi — and Laduree also round out holiday wares on the list.
Prices start under $20 and escalate into splurge-worthy territory with a trio of Thos. Moser bowls that top $300. And in the spirit of the holiday season, proceeds from some picks go towards good causes — from a Congresswoman’s charity to up-and-coming artisans across the globe.
District Winery Holiday Bundles
Navy Yard’s resident winery — the first ever in D.C. — wants to get locals tipsy this holiday season. A ”Merry and Bright” holiday wine bundle includes a pairing of 2016 Unoaked Chardonnay and 2016 Old Vine Zinfandel bottles. Red lovers can cozy up with the “Fireside Reds” trio of its top-selling NV Cuvée Noir, 2016 Old Vine Zinfandel, and 2015 Malbec.
3 Stars Cutting Board by Godet Woodworking
Homegrown pop-up shop Shop Made D.C. presents three gifts for the holiday season sure to spruce up any table setting, starting with this cutting board. It has a stylish edge because it’s shaped to look like the District lines and features three stars on the handle. As another nod to the city it’s made in, D.C.’s famous tagline — “Taxation without representation” — is splashed on one side. Each cutting board is unique, made from different hardwoods (cherry, maple, oak, hickory, sapele, depending on availability).
Achiote Table Runner by Living Threads Co.
This scene-stealing cotton table runner is handwoven in Guatemala on traditional Mayan backstrap looms, then wrapped up in Washington by Shop Made D.C. The naturally-dyed statement piece adds a pop of color to any tabletop — all while supporting sustainable livelihoods and traditional artisan weaving. Owners are instructed to hand wash the 14” x 80” material.
Red Landscape Platter by Kuzeh Pottery
This isn’t your everyday cheese and cracker platter. Made from a midrange, buff-colored clay, then wheel-thrown, trimmed, and glazed by hand, this gift combines art with function. Minor imperfections and marks from by its TLC process are occasionally visible, adding to their beauty and individuality. Despite the hand wash-only disclaimer, this gift from Shop Made D.C. is food, microwave, and dishwasher safe.
Thos. Moser Bowls
The priciest buy in this curated bunch is carefully crafted by the same artisans behind the wooden furniture at the sleek Michelin-rated Blue Duck Tavern. The handmade walnut or cherry containers, sold in a standard set of three bowls, feature a food-safe finish. The lid’s underside can be used as a cutting surface, while the base is designed to house snacks of any sort — though stale pretzels or Goldfish would be insulting.
Republic Restoratives Gift Set
Ivy City’s women-owned and operated craft distillery Republic Restoratives released a special spirits gift set this season, equipped with 200-ml. bottles of Borough Bourbon and Civic Vodka alongside a branded tasting glass. A percentage of proceeds are donated to GIFFORDS — an anti-gun violence nonprofit near and dear to co-founder Pia Carusone, who served as chief of staff for former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Sloppy Mama’s Hogsmoker Package
The D.C. barbecue masters are slinging three hot sellers this holiday season, aimed to please more than just carnivores. The set includes a finger-licking bottle of Kansas City BBQ sauce (a traditional tomato-based sauce with a hint of molasses); mustard-based Georgia Gold BBQ sauce; and a shaker of its all-purpose Happy Sprinkles rub — a seasoning designed to liven up any dish.
Bread Puddin’ from Puddin’
This food truck-turned-Union Market stall has a Southern-style holiday offering that will put any fruit cake to shame. The Brown Butter Bourbon Bread Puddin’ arrives in a loaf pan and feeds six to eight people.
Ladurée’s 2018 Holiday Macaron Boxes
This holiday, leave impeccable packaging to the Parisian macaron makers. Their seasonal cookie collection is adorned in red, white, and gold with motifs that scream Scandinavia. Limited edition flavors, available November 26 through the end of the year, include Seabuckthorn Jam Macaron, a fragrant berry rich in vitamins A and C that doubles as an antioxidant. A rice pudding variety, with a hint of raspberry, is an ode to Norway’s traditional Christmas dessert.
Price: $28 (box of eight)
All About Cake
Sugar queen Christina Tosi’s newly released cookbook is a sweet treat to slide under the tree. The D.C. native is on an expansion spree in the area, debuting a flagship bakery in Logan Circle this year. All About Cake dishes out inside tricks of her trade, spelling out how to make Milk Bar’s two-minute microwave mug cakes, gooey crock-pot cakes, buttery bundt cakes, and iconic naked layer cakes.
Shrub District Mojito Lover Box
Trade winter blues for island time with this quick mojito-making set, complete with sweet Don’s Mint Julep and Shrub District Lime (just add rum). And for the whiskey lover in your life, go with the Don’s Old Fashioned and Shrub District Ginger set. With a dash of whiskey and splash of seltzer, a balanced at-home Old Fashioned can be whipped up in under 10 seconds.
Price: $35 each
Bottled Syrups From Buffalo & Bergen
Mixtress Gina Chersevani’s lineup of handcrafted 16-oz. bottled syrups, designed to punch up an array of spirits, include lemon lavender, grapefruit rosemary, cranberry sage, and ginger mint flavors. Her award-winning 32-oz. Bloody Mary mix is a good way to cure post-holiday hangovers.
Potomac Distilling Company’s Spiced Rum
Todd Thrasher is getting ready to debut Potomac Distilling Company at the Wharf, and those craving a first taste can go with a dry spice-forward white rum (40-percent ABV) that combines star anise, clove, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and orange peels.
Price: Each 750-ml. bottle is $27
Pralines from Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery
Celebrity chef David Guas’s authentic New Orleans pralines, made with sugar, butter, cream, and pecans, come in three different flavors this holiday season: traditional, chocolate, and chicory coffee.
Price: A packaged trio for $10
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