There's no reason to scour the North Pole for edible stocking stuffers when there's plenty of Southern-bred comestibles—ranging from candy to coffee to coffee-infused candy—ready for the giving. Whether you're shopping for chocoholics, caffeine addicts or teetotalers, tying a big red bow on any one of these decadent indulgences is sure to get you off the naughty list.
Loveless Cafe's Piggy Popcorn
Try explaining bacon caramel corn to your cousins from above the Mason-Dixon line. They'll think you're crazy—until they try it. Piggy Popcorn from the Loveless Cafe makes maize sizzle with sugar and salt. Each crisp candied cloud of corn gives way to a chewy lardon, making old-fashion bacon-free Cracker Jack seem, well, a little sad. Available at Loveless Cafe or online through the Hams and Jams catalog, 7-ounce bags retail for $7
Olive & Sinclair Southern Artisan Chocolate
The good news is that Scott Witherow's bean-to-bar operation in East Nashville uses simple ingredients and old-world processes to turn cocoa beans into decadent bars of rich chocolate flavored with salt and pepper, coffee beans, cinnamon and chili and other natural flavors. The bad news is that Olive & Sinclair's product will ruin your taste for mass-market candy bars. So before you give someone a $6 bar of Southern artisan chocolate, consider this: You might very well be turning them into a chocolate snob. Is that a gift or a curse? 1404 McGavock Pike
You've probably tasted a Tennessee Cheesecake without knowing it, since the family-owned business has been supplying cakes and pies to restaurants since 1981, but now you can shop in the retail storefront on Alabama Avenue. Cheesecakes, layer cakes and pies start at $15 and come in flavors such as peppermint, turtle, Oreo and mocha. Through Christmas, 10 percent of proceeds from each pumpkin cheesecake sold will go to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. 4611 Alabama Ave.
Give Love, give a Kiss, give a canister of organic fair-trade tea. Globe-trotting tea maven Sarah Scarborough and business partner Jodi Banks are building a brand that supports women in the tea trade around the world. With signature blends such as Love, Sweet Friend and Goodnight Kiss, infused with exotic flavors of jasmine, rose, raspberry and yerba mate, Nashville-based Partners Tea packs the far-flung flavors of Asia and Africa into an elegant silk sachet. $10 per dozen sachets; partnerstea.com
Bongo Java Roasting Company's Yes We Can Coffee
In the spirit of the old SNL gag "It's a floor wax; it's a dessert topping," Bongo Java Roasting presents Yes We Can Coffee, which doubles as a work of local art. The third installment of BJRC's Coffee Can Art Series celebrates the election of Barack Obama, drawing on the talents of local artists Buddy Jackson, Jimmy Abegg, Jackie Rippey, Paul Harmon and Sunny Becks to package BJRC's house-roasted Mystic Brew in a reusable container. Available at Fido and Bongo stores and online, 10-ounce cans are $9.50 and refills are $8
Charpier's Bakery Cakes
The elves at Charpier's Bakery in West Nashville recently expanded from breads and burger buns into a limited line of cheesecakes and flourless tortes that will knock your stockings off. Need a last-minute gift for a holiday party? Weighing in at 3 pounds, Jonah's Favorite Cheesecake (named for owner David Mosow's grandson) would make an impressive offering to any holiday hostess. And if you're in charge of feeding the family, no one needs to know you outsourced the confections. Charpier's no-nonsense cakes rely on dense chocolate and cream cheese rather than frou-frou embellishments, so you can plausibly pass them off as your own creations. Flourless chocolate torte ($15.50) and traditional cheesecake ($19.50); Harris Teeter in Belle Meade
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