We’ve seen quite a few gift guides this year, and even a few that “specialize” in Los Angeles-themed items. But every time we saw a new a guide pop-up in our social media feeds the same thought occurred: We can do this too… and we can do it better.
But what does doing better mean? It starts with including goods from only local makers, bakers, chefs, producers and authors. And not just any locals, but some our absolute favorites that we’ve tried over the past couple years. Our goal is not only make a killer gift basket for 2016, but hopefully inspire you to try some local faves that are absolutely deserving of your hard-earned dollars.
Hope you enjoy, and happy holidays!
Now… let’s get to it.
The Gift Basket
We didn’t necessarily have a strategy going in. We just knew we wanted to gather as much cool stuff as possible, and then see how we could make it fit.
If you want to watch the basket creation end-to-end, we broadcasted the assembly in real time on Facebook Live (a recording of you can watch below).
Would you rather skip the video you can simply scroll down to read a quick word on all our vendor choices along with pics, price checks and a link for more product info. And course at the end a photo of how it all came together.
Ok, so here’s what we’re working with…
Angel City Brewery Libations
Angel City is a long-time player in the Los Angeles craft beer scene with a history going back nearly two decades. After a lengthy stint at an old German-made brewery location in Alpine Village. Angel City transitioned to a space in the Arts District (the historic John A. Roebling Building) which they have expertly transformed it into one of the coolest public house spaces in all of L.A.
The gifts: Sparkling Berliner Weiss ($18 ), a pint of Dark Rye Lager aged in brandy barrels ($11), a pint of Brettanomyces Bloke Ale aged in oak barrels ($11)
Valerie Confections Holiday Treats
With a commitment to only using the finest ingredients, Valerie’s Confections has earned a reputation as possibly the best sweet shop in L.A. Their award winning chocolates, unique cakes and delectable pastries make for excellent holiday (or any time) gifts.
The gifts: Durango Cookies ($18 for a half dozen), Edible Ornament Box ($75), Fruitcake Blanc ($60)
Compartes Chocolate Bar
Made in L.A. since the 1950’s Compartés Chocolate Bars have become the most visually stunning gourmet chocolates in bar form… ever. The attention to detail, both in the packaging and the bar itself, is world class.
The gifts: Malted Milk Chocolate Bar with Malt Balls and Sea Salt ($10) You can purchase the bars online or at several local retailers. We picked ours up from Joan’s on Third.
Greenbar is L.A.’s first distillery since Prohibition and one of the first craft distilleries in the states. Founded in 2004, the company brings a new standard of flavors to spirits using only real and organic ingredients. They even plant one tree for each bottle of spirits sold! The GRAND Poppy liqueur we selected is a California-inspired take on classic euro amaros. The distillery used local citrus, herbs, berries and one very bitter flower, the California poppy – to create a unique blend of flavors perfect for pairing with sparkling wine, soda, silver tequila, vodka or whiskey.
The gift: Grand Poppy Liqueur ($31.99)
Carlitos Gardel’s Chimichurri Sauce
Family owned and operated for 20 years, Carlitos Gardel located on Melrose avenue is considered one of the best Argentinian steak houses in the city. The family’s chimichurri recipe is well sought after and now you can get it at your nearest grocery store! Made in L.A. using all-natural and non-GMO ingredients the sauce comes in two flavors: Autentico and Spicy Balsamico.
The gifts: Gardel’s Chimichurri in two distinct flavors: Autentico and Spicy Balsamico ($9.99 each)
Follow Your Heart Tote Bag and Klean Kanteen
Based out of Canoga Park, Follow Your Heart has helped Angelenos live a healthy and responsible lifestyle since the 1970’s. Aside from their expansive Vegenaise products they also provide everyday gear, including a foldable tote bag made from recycled plastic bottles. What truly makes this a perfect tote is the impressive 40 pound carrying capacity! Paired with the FYH Klean Kanteen made from top of the line stainless steel materials, you’ll never have to worry about keeping up with your water intake since the bottle is portable, reusable and BPA-free. Just drop in into the tote and be on your way.
The gifts: Follow Your Heart Tote Bag ($7.50) and stainless steel Klean Kanteen ($19)
Joan’s on Third Wines
Joan’s on Third just launched two new private label wines. Gather is a 2014 Cab Franc that’s medium bodied and slightly fruity. On Third is a 2015 Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc/Pinot Gris/Verdelho blend that’s crisp and subtly fruity with a hint of floral notes. Not only is Joan’s a great place to grab a bite, its also a one stop shop for artisanal gifts for all occasions.
The gifts: Gather ($20), On Third ($20 )
Day Hiking Los Angeles by Casey Schreiner
Casey Schreiner is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Modern Hiker, a blog dedicated to providing detailed reviews of trails in Southern California (and now beyond!). Casey’s new guide, Day Hiking in Los Angeles ($18.95) maps out 125 unique trails in greater Los Angeles are with crystal clear clarity and precise organization. A must-have for local outdoor enthusiasts of any skill level.
Available at the Americana on Brand in Glendale, Napoléon’s Macarons are lovingly handmade by a real frenchmen! The collection of flavors range from classic to unique and all macarons are gluten-free and made with organic products.
The gifts: Box of one dozen macarons ($21.50)
Rubies + Diamonds Coffee and Tea
Rubies + Diamonds offers top-of-the-line caffeinated creations using old world and new world techniques. Their genius coffee rating system helps people easily understand the levels of caffeine in each blend. Not a coffee drinker? Try the teas, each selection is designed to deliver optimal health benefits.
The gifts: 12 oz House Coffee Blend ($16) and 3 oz Green Kukicha Antioxidant Tea ($22.50)
How to Find Old Los Angeles by Kim Cooper
Kim Cooper is the co-founder of Estouric Bus Adventures, a fascinating tour service that provides insights into the secret history of Los Angeles and the essential personalities that really define L.A. culture. Kim’s book How to Find Old Los Angeles ($15) provides a handy overview of divey haunts, unique locations, and historical landmarks that need to be on the to-do list of any would-be L.A. adventurer.
Novogratz Family Apron and Candle
L.A. based Novogratz is owned by design duo Bob and Cortney Novogratz, well known for their unique designs around the globe. Their recently launch product line is meant to bring energy, comfort and cool into your home at an affordable price.
The gifts: Black and white candle with notes of amber and sea salt ($24), ‘Family’ apron ($30)
SQIRL’s famed ricotta toast featuring seasonal jams made in-house has taken the city by storm. All preserves are made on site at the restaurant using copper jam pans and techniques developed in the 1500s. Take home a jar and change your toast game forever.
The gifts: Elephant Heart Plum Jam ($14.40) You can purchase jams online or at several local retailers. We picked our jam up from Joan’s on Third.
The Final Product…
We couldn’t fit everything we initially picked out into the basket, but we tried our best. Here’s what the final product looked like:
Included here are: Valerie Confections Fruit Cake Blanc, Grand POPPY Liqueur, Dark Rye Lager, Elephant Heart Plum Jam, How to Find Old Los Angeles, Day Hiking in Los Angeles, Black and White FAMILY Candle, Rubies + Diamonds Green Kukicha Antioxidant Tea, Compartés Chocolate Bar, Gather wine from Joan’s on Third, Napoleon’s Macarons, Klean Kanteen, Gardel Chimichurri: Spicy Balsamico.
The total price for that basket (including the $30 basket from Cost Plus World Market) comes in at $267.33.
Just remember that you don’t have to buy it all if you’re looking for unique gifts. Even one or two of these items might make for a thoughtful present for the right person.