Chucklet & Honey, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Colt's Chocolates have pretty gifts all wrapped up 

Tasteful Displays

Tasteful Displays

Yes, yes, we all know it's what's on the inside that counts. Still, when it comes to edible gifts, nobody wants to give or receive homely food. With the season of gift-giving sneaking up on us, three local confectioners have gussied up their wares, creating festive comestibles that are pretty both inside and out.

Chucklet & Honey


click to enlarge Chucklet & Honey cookie assortment - PHOTO: ERIC ENGLAND

Chuck Hargett knows a thing or two about presentation. A recovering ad man whose design-savvy pedigree runs through the entertainment industry in New York and Los Angeles, Hargett recently returned to his adopted hometown and chucked in his advertising hat for a baker's apron. He's the "Chuck" in Chucklet, and his grandmother, who taught him to bake when he was young, is the "Honey." But honey isn't just an affectionate nickname. It's a key ingredient in three of Chucklet & Honey's four signature cookies, including butter-and-toffee-enriched chocolate chip; oatmeal laced with maple syrup and bulging with raisins and dried cranberries; and double chocolate hazelnut infused with decadent Nutella hazelnut-cocoa spread. The fourth variety is a playfully indulgent sandwich of two peanut butter cookies stuck together with a fluffy cloud of marshmallow.

Chucklet & Honey cookies are available in tins of a dozen (starting at $24) or in a mixed batch of 20 ($34). That's where the fun presentation comes in. Each 2-ounce cookie comes individually packaged in a cellophane sachet and numbered with a whimsical label. One sticker says simply, "1: Who gets it?" Another reads "5: Maybe it's the oven, maybe it's the packaging, maybe it's just your luck, but it seems like cookie no. 5 is always the best one of the batch." Yet another says, "8: It's either 8? Or infinity? Depends on how you look at it."

For now, Hargett is baking his cookies in the kitchen at Red Tree Coffee in Kingston Springs, but if things go according to plan, he'll launch a storefront in Nashville. Until then, Chucklet & Honey cookies are available online, with shipping and pickup available. (Without tin and packing, cookies start at $19 a dozen.)

Nothing Bundt Cakes

21 White Bridge Road, 354-6300

click to enlarge Red Velvet cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes - PHOTO: ERIC ENGLAND

Cupcakes, you better watch your butt — or should we say, "your bundt"? Restaurant industry veteran Jeff Warne — former CEO of O'Charley's — and his wife Linda are giving cupcakes a run for their money in the tiny-cake stakes. The Warnes are banking on the traditional German-style ring-shaped cake, which Pillsbury made into a household name in the 1970s, to capture Nashville's sweet appetite for delicate desserts.

Located in the Greenway at Belle Meade retail strip, the White Bridge Road shop marks the local debut of the Las Vegas-based Nothing Bundt Cakes brand. The company markets a succinct list of cake flavors, packaged and presented like exquisite gifts. Since the September launch of their franchise, the Warnes have made a splash with their moist and memorable cakes, which come in red velvet, pecan praline, double chocolate, white chocolate, white chocolate raspberry, lemon, cinnamon swirl, marble and carrot, and are embellished with silk flowers and puffy petals of cream cheese-butter frosting.

For smaller gifts, Nothing Bundt Cakes offers individual bundtlets, about the size of — dare we say it? — a cupcake. Bite-size bundtinis are also available by the dozen. Prices range from $4 for bundtlets to $65 for a two-tiered cake that serves 26. The store also stocks a range of party supplies, including cake stands, aprons, candles and gifts. Delivery and pickup are available.

Colt's Chocolates

click to enlarge Colt’s Chocolates’ Bella Bark - PHOTO: ERIC ENGLAND

More than two decades after former Hee Haw performer McKenzie Colt turned from country crooning to candy cooking, she has launched her first line of all-natural chocolates. The elegantly wrapped tins and boxes of Bella Bark and Smoked chocolate-almond bars have earned coveted shelf space at Whole Foods and The Turnip Truck among the local and all-natural offerings.

Each slim silver case of Bella Bark opens to reveal a sweet 10-ounce shingle of chocolate laden with either caramel and pecans, dried cherries and almonds, or peanut butter and almonds, wrapped preciously in butcher paper. Puffed brown rice adds an unexpected airiness to the dense bars, while abstract drizzles of white and dark chocolate and peanut butter give each bar the expression of a tiny edible painting by Jackson Pollock.

Smoked takes its name from the smoked almonds strewn throughout the dark chocolate bars, which are packaged to recall the masculine elegance of cigars and pinstriped suits. Each 7-ounce package contains two bars — one with smoked almonds and one with smoked jalapeno almonds. "Nobody smokes anymore," Colt says, "but they can have Smoked." Prices vary, but Bella Bark is $15 at The Turnip Truck. Colt's Chocolates ships orders (a minimum purchase is required), and will also hold orders for pickup at the factory, located off the Gulch, across from Yazoo Brewing Co.


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