Okay, okay, okay...we know this is a loaded topic this year, trust. Too many of us will not be partaking in the home cooking of our nearest and dearest this Thanksgiving (and arguably, too many are risking it all by doing exactly that, but that’s another post), and in an already incredibly difficult year, yes, that stings more than a little bit. But in the end, it’s simply a day and a meal—and those of us choosing not to share it with our loved ones are doing so because we hope to have many more...and know too many of us won’t have anymore.
So, how about we become less fixated on the more traditional trappings of the holiday (since those are out the window, whether you’re celebrating with family or not), and focus on the aspect of gratitude and creating a feeling of abundance? There are so many other ways we can indulge our need for comfort this season...perhaps with the gift of a little comfort food? We already tried to tell you about the gift we’re giving ourselves this Thanksgiving, avoiding the crowds (and potential contamination) at the grocery store and leaning into the joy of not hosting by cooking up one of two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef Edouardo Jordan’s Thanksgiving boxes for Blue Apron, which promises ample decadence with far less effort. But as the chef-owner of Seattle’s Junebaby and Salare recently told us, the project is also a reflection of years spent adjusting to life far from his family.
“I don’t now get the opportunity to gather and hang out and just celebrate the way that we used to, so it has been difficult,” said the St. Petersburg, Fla. native. “So, I have to figure out new ways to entertain myself and entertain the people that are around me, and now with the pandemic, it’s going to be doubly hard. So, you know, this Blue Apron box is an easy way to get four or five people together...build a meal that still feels like you’re having a feast, but it’s not all the work. Yes. So, yeah, it’s just kind of bringing joy during this dark time.”
The Thanksgiving kit is just the first of four boxes Chef Jordan produced for the brand, rolling out through December 14—meaning his acclaimed recipes (with ingredients included) are a gift you can give as an early holiday present, to give them a much-needed break.
What other sweet, spicy and savory flavors do we have a taste for this season?
This luxury chocolate-maker is a perennial favorite on our list, and for good reason: Ashley’s innovative flavors elevate the traditional chocolate box to a true work of art. We’re curious about the Memphis-based chocolatier’s collaboration with fellow Tennesseans Uncle Nearest whiskey, but while his curated boxes are sublime, should you worry about your recipient hitting the odd flavor or unwanted gooey center, you can build them a box.
Since they were already on the tip of our tongue, the whiskey lovers in your life deserve to get a taste of Uncle Nearest, the Black-owned brand based on the recipes of Nathan “Nearest “ Green, the once-enslaved man whose distilling methods made Lynchburg, Tenn. famous for the spirit loved worldwide. For the brown liquor-lovers in your life, a gift set is likely exactly the holiday spirit they’re hoping for.
The Spice Suite is that rare bird that is primarily accessible to the Washington, D.C. locals who can access the brick-and-mortar shop. But each month, Angel Anderson hand selects and releases 400-500 SpiceBoxes on her site, each time curating a different combination of her in-demand spices, mixes, condiments and kitchen tools. Boxes go on sale the first day of each month, so we highly recommend getting in line now to gift one!
We recently profiled Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson, the Midwestern makers of this expansive line of coffees and teas, and aside from the delicious blends, we are entirely into their brand ethos, which is built upon giving back. “We were disadvantaged youths,” Cezar explained to The Root; now, 5 percent of BLK & Bold’s profits go to nonprofit organizations that support at-risk youth—not a small amount, when you consider that the brand is now sold nationwide in Target, Whole Foods and Amazon. If that’s not a wake-up call, a subscription to their blends will be; right now the entire site is 20 percent off with the code “BLK20".
Okay, so not everyone is into truffles, but if you know, you know...and Oprah knows, too, making this line’s truffle-based Sriracha and Ranch gift set one of her famed “Favorite Things” of 2020. There are more gift sets to choose from, but proving that this New York-based brand is for evolved palates, it also offers actual truffles for our shaving pleasure, as well as its own line of high-quality caviar, sporting names like “Notorious” and “Nefertiti”.
Since we’re clearly into the finer things, how about gifting us a case (okay or just a bottle or three) of the historic limited edition “Reign” Rosé vintage from the first Black- and woman-owned winery in Maryland? Since this label also mentors future generations of female winemakers, we’d call that paying it forward.
Okay, hear us out: not every gift has to be upscale—frankly, we like our snacks like our music: classy, bougie and ratchet. Enter the 24-year-old Rap Snacks, which is exactly what it sounds like: tasty, crunchy and spicy treats (or all of the above) inspired by rap artists who are often likewise. It may not be the most refined of gift offerings, but in a year when snacks are requisite for our ceaseless streaming habits, a box of these campy delights may be far more welcome than you think—plus, who doesn’t enjoy a little Cardi with their crunch?
If your family hails from the Caribbean, no doubt sorrel is a familiar and sentimental flavor—and even if you can’t reunite with family this year, you can gift the flavor of this hibiscus-and-spiced favorite, endorsed by none other than Queen Bey herself. But seriously, the endorsements for Nzinga Knight’s recipe are ringing, also making this an ideal choice for the non-drinkers on your list.
A new year will be here before we know it (we promise)...why not toast to the start of what will hopefully be a much happier new year with a glass of Black-founded champagne? Yes, this is the real deal, harvested in France, but named in tribute to one of our favorite predominantly Black neighborhoods in Brooklyn by Marvina Robinson. These varietals aren’t cheap, but after the year we’ve had, we deserve.
Since we’re already in a New York state of mind (and chocolate goes so well with champagne), how about completing your gift with a set of edible gilded chocolate brownstones, currently on sale from this uptown chocolatier? For those of us unable to travel to the city that never sleeps this year, this will be a delicious placeholder.
If baked goods are more their flavor, they’ll love the flavors of Auzerais Bellamy’s virtual bakery the Blondery, which will ship its upscale bite-sized brownies to their door (including gluten and vegan options). Or, if you really want to make the season celebratory, go all-in on “The Cake,” an 11-layer tower of absolutely delicious decadence which one reviewer calls “likely the best dessert I have ever eaten.”
Now, there are cake people, and there are pie people—and if they’re the latter, no doubt they’ll love one of the “Butta” pies from this celebrity-loved Detroit-based bakery. The flavors are few but perfected: their new Mother’s Apple Butta Pie (topped with salted caramel and loaded with Michigan Apples, of course), Peach Butta Cobbler (enough said), and our favorite, the Lemon Butta (described as “a decadent mix between cheesecake and lemon meringue pie”). And proving our good taste, they’re currently 20 percent off with the code “Oprah.”
Everyone knows we don’t skimp on flavor, and if there’s an amateur chef in your life, you can upgrade their seasoning game with these ingenious and gorgeously packaged flavor combinations. (Red Wine Sea Salt? Come on!) And because this entire mood is fabulous, your recipient can revisit the site to try out the incredible recipes suggested there.
Now, we promised you comfort food, and few things are most comforting than freshly baked biscuits (you know, for those of us still eating carbs). To give your loved one the taste of homemade without the mess and effort, say no more, Fam. Mama’s Biscuits are available in a variety of flavors, from classic buttermilk to seasonally appropriate gingerbread and pumpkin (below)—all deeply discounted through Nov. 29.
If you’ve got biscuits, you might as well have jam, and Trade Street Jam Co’s inventive flavors will make you want to try them all. Frankly, we can’t think of anything more delicious to wake up to on Christmas morning—and don’t tell Mama, but their Sweet Potato Biscuit Mix is the jam, too.
Yes, vegan can be verrrrrry delicious—just ask fans of Hungry Bunny, the Wichita, Kansas-based virtual donut shop serving cake-based treats so delicious, the fact that they’re cruelty-free is the icing on top (literally). Oh—and for added fun, certain flavors feature edible glitter.
Given the financial stress too many folks have been under this year, this aptly named brand feels like just the right amount of decadence to treat them to something special, and inspire hope—in fact, its founders were furloughed when they created their now-successful brand of baked goods. With seven delicious flavors starting below $20, you can watch your spending, too.
They’re gonna need something to put all this food on—and if they’ve yet to invest in a set of elegant plates, may we suggest the gift of a posh set from Zimbabwe, Senegal or Jamaica, courtesy of 54 Kibo? Honestly, this incredible African-sourced home marketplace is so incredible it could’ve led last week’s home-focused gift guide, but we like to mix it up—just like you can the ceramics and Limoge porcelain dinnerware on their site.