Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide Goes Local: Objects of Desire, Around Town and Down the Road

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 5:31 AM

Tennessee has paddlefish, and paddlefish make caviar, available from Kelleys Katch.
  • Tennessee has paddlefish, and paddlefish make caviar, available from Kelley's Katch.
Holidays mean special, traditional, luxurious food and drink: rib roasts, Champagne, fine chocolates, caviar. Kelley's Katch Kaviar in Savannah, Tenn., fishes for paddlefish, a relative of the sturgeon (source of much of the world's caviar), harvests the caviar and ships it out overnight in 2-ounce, 4-ounce, 7-ounce and 14-ounce tins. The prices are a bargain for fresh caviar (about $30 for 2 ounces, and less than $200 for nearly a pound of caviar), even after you add the $33 overnight delivery charge. For more information, call (731) 925-7360. Spread some soft butter on rye bread, pile on the caviar and wash it down with a shot of icy vodka to enjoy breakfast like a Russian oligarch.

Bathtub Gin sells beautiful jewel-like jars of jams and spreads in flavors you've never even dreamed of: rum raisin-mission-fig, peach brandy-blueberry, elderflower liqueur-blackberry, peaches & cream. Or get a last bit of summer in their few remaining strawberry and tomato products. Buy the spreads alone, or buy a gift basket that includes their jams, condiments from Perl Catering (see below), cheese from The Bloomy Rind, and Dozen bakery baked goods. It's like a dream of a local gift basket. (Gift baskets include spreaders and other noshing tools, plus pretty packaging.) The jars are a generous 11 ounces for $10-12, plenty for spreading on toast and making yogurt parfaits and a little extra for flavoring a cocktail.

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Perl Catering makes other luscious things in jars that you'd love to give or get. In the past, chef Robert Spinelli has offered Sweet and Sour Green Tomato Chutney, Roasted Tomato, Fennel & Lavender Ketchup and Local Apple/Horseradish Relish. Try the Smoky Tomato Jam on a bit of aged cheese, or his Balsamic Onion Marmalade on a sliver of ham. Most retail for around $5-$6 per 6-ounce jar.

O.Liv Body Bar in Edgehill Village (750-3701) uses Greek olive oils and sea salt in some of its luxurious treatments, and sells the same Greek olive oils, sea salt and olive oil soaps — plus balsamic vinegar — at exceptional prices.

Taste the difference that freshness makes in cornmeal and grits with Falls Mill stoneground cornmeal and grits. Falls Mill, in Belvidere, Tenn., operates a century-old water wheel powered by the nearby creek to grind corn and wheat into cornmeal and flour. Falls Mill corn products are usually available at Whole Foods and Produce Place, or order from the company.

Walker Creek Toffee out of Alexandria, Tenn., got the Scene staff's chomp of approval recently for its addictive buttery crunch and alluring burnt sugar flavors. Order half-pound or 1-pound tins or vacuum packs from the website.

Also toffee-flavored, but with natural mellowing agents, is Prichard's Private Stock Rum ($80) Turn a Saturday drive into a shopping trip and tour of Prichard's Distillery in Kelso, Tenn. Get a kick out of the schoolhouse-distillery, then take home a prize: a bottle of Prichard's Private Stock Rum, aged 10 years in charred oak barrels and only available at the distillery.

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Mumbo Jumbo Seasoning listened to its customers and super-sized its containers to appease cooks and barbecuers who use it in quantity for rubbing. True, the Mesa is brilliant massaged into pork chops, and the Elegance works wonders on grilled or pan-grilled fish and chicken. But they're also just as useful for seasoning soups, potatoes, grilled vegetables and casseroles. It's available at Lazzaroli Pasta or from their website.

You can do a lot with a bourbon barrel: use it as furniture, decorate with it, burn it to keep warm, or stoke a fire under some meat or vegetables. Buy a bourbon barrel from Corsair for about $15, a little more for a big barrel. Call 321-9109.

Buying gifts with a social conscience? Out of the Blue granola is a premium blend made by women in the Blue Monarch program. Besides rockin' granola (the sages at Rolling Stone say it's Taylor Swift's fave!) you get a card in each from the woman who made and packed it, telling her story of determination and recovery. Buy it at Green Wagon, the Sunshine Shop at 1912 Church St., and Turnip Truck on Woodland Street (Produce Place on Murphy Road is considering stocking it in bulk bins!)

Round up several of these gifts at one swell foop this weekend at the Nashville Farmers' Market, which has teamed up with Local Table magazine for Local Table Holiday Market in the Market House on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. Meet the merchants, sample the products and buy from the person who made the gift. That's a satisfying shopping experience right there.

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