Whether you like to entertain fam and friends… know someone who does… maybe you need a hostess gift idea for all the parties you’ll be attending this holiday season… or just want to put together an awesome snack set as an awesome gift set… THIS is the list for you! There are many great locally made products throughout the Queen City and the rest of the Carolinas, but here are some of our absolute faves that you need to get your hands on!
First things first, if you need some inspiration to get your party started, may we suggest that you snag the awesome cookbook by the one and only Chrissie Nelson-Rotko. She had as at “easy entertaining!” Have more time to spend with your guests and still create the most impressive spread that will have your fam and friends “oooooh”-ing and “aaahh”-ing! Click here and purchase directly from our very own local foodie and author–and also public defender! What can’t she do!!! You can also visit her blog from there and check out her other posts about travels and other recipes she’s got!
To have a great spread, you need to start with great products, and here are some of our musts. These are staples in our pantry so that even when we have just neighbors popping over, we can quickly put together a great cheese board with the best accompaniments. We’ve also made plenty of gift sets and given to friends and family–they make for great hostess gifts!
- Anything…and we mean ANYTHING from City Farm Foods! We are absolutely obsessed with EVERYTHING from City Farm Foods. Our top picks though if we had to narrow it down would have to be: the strawberry with thyme jam, the spiced marcona almonds, and the peach bourbon fruit spread. These three are absolute staples and MUSTS for any charcuterie board for us. Additionally, we love using their jams/spreads for when we make cocktails! Scroll below for Manny’s recipe using their apple chai spread: Apple Chai Old-Fashioned!
- The Queen City Crunch obsession started this summer when fellow foodie friend, Karen of @finer_with_thyme, and the peeps of City Farm Foods introduced us to them. We love all of their pretzels but our absolute musts are The OG and the Dill flavored pretzels! You guys, just beware! Once you get hooked, you’ll be buying 5lb bags of these bebes!
- When it comes to local honey, you’ve got a lot of options. We usually have a few on hand from Dancing Bees Farm and Bee Well but are absolute fave [and yes, we’ve used a lot of ‘absolutes’ in this post!!!] has to be CLOISTER HONEY. The bourbon infused honey and the wildflower honey are our go-to’s! Nothing like a drizzle of Cloister honey on cheese to really punch up that flavor!
- Every meat and cheese board needs some MUSTARD, and it’s gotta be LUSTY MONK mustard for us. We love the “Temptation”: Honey Mustard–it’s a MUST for us but we also always have the “Original Sin”: Mustard in our refrigerator.
- Our most recent snack discovery that we have to include on this list is: Piedmont Pennies!!! Their lids should come with a similar warning like Pringles: “Once you pop, you can’t stop!” Every cheese-lover would be obsessed with this cheese snack, perfect on its own as a snack, but that extra OOMPH in a charcuterie board for sure!
Where can you find these awesome treats? Well, we recommend that you reach out to each individual maker and purchase directly through their IG or online platforms. Many of them also deliver and/or ship straight to your door. Or, you can also find them sold in some of these awesome local stores/boutiques all over Charlotte:
- CLT Find in 7th Street Public Market
- Mere’s in Dilworth
- Reid’s Fine Foods
- Common Market
- Rhino Market Deli
Round out your spread on a fancy, local handmade board by Mossick & Co or a personalized one by Boot and Flower.
And as promised, here’s a little quick recipe to give your Old-Fashioned a little upgrade! Here’s to hoping you have some of the most amazing parties and gifts while also being able to support LOCAL!!!
APPLE CHAI OLD-FASHIONED
2 oz bourbon
Apple Chai fruit spread
2 dashes Angostura
In a mixing glass add 2 cherries, a barspoonful Apple Chai spread (you can add more or less based on desired sweetness) and angostura then muddle. Add bourbon and fill with ice. Stir until chilled. Serve cocktail in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with cherries and a twist of orange peel.
BONUS points if you use The Ice Trade 🧊🧊🧊!!!
Cheers!!! We hope you enjoy!