There comes a time in everyone’s life when they’re faced with the opportunity to bring a totally awesome hostess gift over to a friend’s home. You want to stand out, of course, and not bring something lame. Our contributing writer Michelle takes us through some of her tried and true hostess gifts, with a fun #ShopLocal spin on them:
“I’m fortunate to have some really great friends, and to attend a lot of really great events, parties, and dinners. My husband also has these really great friends and invitations, and so do our two young children. I also have a full time job, two part-time jobs, an active yoga practice and an borderline diagnosable calendar addiction. I like being… places with people. Doing things. This means, however, that I’m regularly in the market for a hostess gift, a side dish, a dessert, and, almost always, a good bottle of wine. This can get expensive, quickly, but I’ve learned that a stop at just a few local spots can help my punctuality and save my ass…ets. Here are my go-to’s:
I like good wine just as much as the next girl. Okay, maybe more. I also can’t be dropping $40 a bottle every time I go to a dinner party, so I aim to stay around the $10 mark. Here’s my favorites:
Muddy Boot Wine: We had a VIP tasting a few weeks ago and now I’m in wine loooooove. Available at Savemart stores and Nugget Markets with one perfect house red, and two whites, you’re going to want to grab a bottle for your house too.
Bogle Vineyards: I mean- you can get a bottle of their Essential Red at any local supermarket (Trader Joe’s, I’m looking at you), or, even better, join the wine club, enjoy three yearly shipments, free tastings year-round, and a 25% discount on your case, er… um, bottle. P.S. Their sparkling wine is divine.
Some days I have time to bake something. Most days I’d rather pay someone else for their labor of beautiful and delicious love. My top picks:
Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates Macarons: Pick up a dozen of these magical, gluten-free french meringue style cookies and I promise you’ll be asked back again. $21 for a dozen, and 8 flavors available. They’re made fresh daily so be sure to pick them up the same day you’ll be sharing them.
Freeport Bakery: Need something large and cake-like? Boom. Done. Eat before you get there though, or I guarantee you’ll walk out of that place with a pastry in your hand.
I really like to cook, when I have the time. When I don’t, I refuse to be that mom who shows up with the veggie tray with the $5 sign still stuck to it and a orange mesh bag of Cuties. Nope. Instead, I’ve learned to just pick something simple and stick with it, kind of like these:
Selland’s Market Cafe: Want to bring a pretty and delicious cold salad? They’ve got you covered with nine regulars on the menu available in four different sizes so if you can’t choose just one, you can always choose. . . all of them.
Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op Bread and Cheese: This pairing is like, the OG of side dishes and apps. I love the olive bread in the bakery, and a good round of Mt.Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. Mmmmm. Gluten. Dairy. Yummmy.
As a rule of thumb, I like to give gifts that are purposeful, inspiring or that make people laugh. This rules out a whole lot of carved soaps and hand lotions real fast. Luckily, our city is chock-full of amazing creations. Here’s two:
Preservation and Co.: They make everything that could come in a jar, cooler. My top picks, Bloody Mary Mix, or a few jars of pickled vegetables. Bonus points if you toss the salty goods on a pretty tray and double your gift as an appetizer.
WholeHearted Juice Co.: Planning a night involving a good amount of celebrating with libations? Make your hostess a hangover-prevention kit. Grab a Transformation to drink before bed and a Zudonic Tonic or The Cure to drink in the morning. It’s magic, I promise. 6 lbs of organic produce per bottle kind of magic.
Happy local shopping, lovelies!