We all want to give gifts that people will enjoy. This year, enjoy building a gift box or basket filled with local specialty food. In Vermont, we have award winning cheese, beer, cider, jam, and so much more. So how do you choose what to give? We decided to speak to the experts!
When we asked a few of our favorite Vermont food markets to build a holiday gift basket with their Vermont specialty food picks, we knew that Vermont had a lot to offer. And now we have proof! It's no surprise that each market offered us a completely different list of their favorite local specialty foods.
Craftsbury General Store, Craftsbury
The Craftsbury General Store is a community gathering place that carries an ever-growing list of local ingredients and products on their shelves and in their deli case made by local artisans, farmers, and food producers.
Craftsbury General owner, Kit Basom, chose these favorites for your holiday gift basket!
Northwoods Apiaries Raw Honey
This smooth and creamy honey hits the sweet spot! Add a touch to your tea or toast.
Burke Mountain Confectionery Maple Truffles
These melt-in-your-mouth morsels are the ideal indulgence.
Jan's Farmhouse Crisps
Add a bit of flair to your holiday cheese platter with these fun crackers.
Wash down those holiday treats with a light and refreshing can of SAP maple seltzer. Or substitute for tonic water for a twist on your favorite mixed drink.
Local Maple Syrup
Who doesn't need a little extra supply of Vermont liquid gold?
Tom Knows Salsa
All the flavors of summer, packed into a jar to enjoy with some mid-winter snacks.
High Mowing Microgreens Seeds
Add an interactive element to your gift basket with these grow-your-own microgreens.
Harvest Market, Stowe
Harvest Market is a gourmet shop that offers a great selection of chocolates, wonderful cheeses, meats, wine, beer, local produce, and specialty food items. (When you visit, be sure to have some of their wonderful bread and desserts baked in-house.)
General manager Maddy Bertrand-Gerndt says the following.
Harvest Market sells many items that are local and ideal for gift baskets!
- Fat Toad Farms goat caramels in fun holiday packages
- Gateway Farms Maple Products
- Local cheese such as Trapp’s Oma, Consider Bardwell Farms Rupert & Pawlet, and Lazy Lady Farms specialty goat & cow holiday releases
- Stocking stuffers from Owl energy Bars of VT, “owl bites”
- Mini jars of honey and maple from local producers
- Special mints, confections
- Tavernier Chocolates of VT and Bien Fait Cakes of VT - brandied fruitcakes, and chocolate lover’s cakes.
- Our In-house Bouche de Noel garnished with marzipan owls and sugared cranberries and greenery
- Charcuterie platters with Spanish Serrano, roasted tomatoes, and specialty cheeses
- Vermont beer & cider, including Boyden Valley Winery, Eden Specialty Ciders
Cabot Farmers’ Store, Waterbury Center
This store is a can’t miss stop on Vermont’s famous RT. 100. Here you’ll find local cheese, jam, crackers, beer, wine, and many other specialty food from Vermont. Here are manager Margo Sayah's favorite additions to a holiday gift basket.
Cabot Private Stock Cheddar – This cheese has a smooth texture and is a clean, full-flavored Cheddar. Tasty on its own but also good with syrup drizzled on it or serve with a dab of jam.
Cabot Artisan Reserve Cheddar – This is Cabot’s hand selected 3-year aged Cheddar. (See above)
Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar – This hickory-smoked Cheddar and bacon combo is even more yummy when paired with summer sausage.
Castleton Crackers, Simply Wheat – Great cracker to eat with cheese and summer sausage or salami. Also delicious with Cheddar and jam or maple syrup.
Vermont Smoke & Cure Summer Sausage – Wonderful addition to a party platter.
Vermont Salumi Fennel Salami – This aromatic salami has a dusting of ground fennel seeds.
Potlicker Kitchen Raspberry Smoked Maple Jam – This raspberry jam is sweetened with maple syrup and infused with hardwood smoke.
Vermont Epicurean Country Mustard – Serve with pretzels or meat.
Distler’s Spicy Pretzels – We love the story of Distler’s. Plus these spicy pretzels are delicious!
Butternut Mountain Farm Sweet Bourbon Maple Syrup – Try it drizzled on Cheddar for a treat.
Lincoln Peak Marquette – Every party basket needs a little wine. This rich, dry red has smooth tannins. Try it with hearty dishes or have it with appetizers.
Mad River Taste Place, Waitsfield
The Mad River Taste Place is a learning center, tasting gallery, retail store, and gathering place focused on local, artisan food and drink. Retail Manager and Head cheesemonger Mary Tuthill builds a lot of gift baskets for folks.
Here is a list of what we like to put into gift baskets. We like to do a well rounded product selection, so we try to include sweet and savory items. Here's an example of a basket we would do:
- It's Arthur's Fault Rodeo BBQ Sauce - we love this because it is amazingly delicious. You can use it for all the usual BBQ things, but you can also use it in meatloaf, cooking veggies, or eating right out of the jar.
Quayl's Chocolates Buttercrunch - Nothing says special gift, like buttercrunch from Quayl.
Butterfly Bakery Heady Topper Mustard - Everyone knows about Heady Topper and Vermont Butterfly Bakery has added the beer to their whole grain mustard and it's magic.
Karen's Artisan Popcorn - This is such a fun product - comes in different flavors and all the corn is from VT or Quebec and it is Non-GMO, and organic where she can.
Tonewood Maple Flakes - Vermont is so well known for its maple products and the maple flakes are a fun and unique way to enjoy your maple! Use on yogurt, ice cream, salads, etc.
Ariel's Honey Infusions - Raw, Vermont honey infused with herbs and spices all grown on Ariel's farm. Perfect for teas, cheese boards, yogurt, etc.
Shelburne Farms 3 Year Cheddar - we love this right now - flavor and texture are exactly what you expect in an aged cheddar. It is also a crowd pleaser so any recipient is sure to love this.
Babette's Table Saucission Sec - Traditional French style salami made with all Vermont pork, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. This pairs amazingly well with the Shelburne cheddar (or most any cheese!) grapes and beer!
We also ask if they would like to add alcohol - we have some really beautiful bottled Vermont ciders, wine, and of course anything from Mad River Distillers or Barr Hill. In the cold weather season, we love to send people home with Mad River Distillers Maple Cask Rum to add to their favorite Vermont eggnog!
MKT: Grafton, Grafton
MKT is a general store, restaurant, specialty shop, and catering kitchen in the heart of Grafton, one of Vermont’s most historic and idyllic villages. We spoke with co-owner June Lupiani about their gift box plans.