There are 10 days until Christmas, and I am no more ready now than I ever am. I like to spend several weeks just thinking about Christmas...what cookies I'll bake, the menu for Christmas Eve dinner, and how will I have time to ski...but the execution of Christmas preparation comes later. And typically at the last minute.
A visit to Lily & Co. on Deloney Street in Jackson will get you in the right frame of mind.
Which is why I am always foraging the local shops for that perfect present, long after the shipping deadlines have passed. Fortunately, we live in a delightful place to shop for Christmas presents, especially if you have a foodie on your list.
There it is, the perfect Christmas tree. Chopping down a tree in the forest and hauling it home is one of our Christmas traditions.
Jack got to pick out the tree this year, but maybe next year we won't let him carry the saw.
In my quest for locavore foodie gifts, I first thought of chocolate. We have several artisanal chocolatiers here in Jackson, all with something unique to offer. Lately, I have been addicted to the dark Belgian chocolate truffles made by Laurance Perry at Petit Secret
. Little did I know that her exquisite handmade chocolates are made in her chocolate shop just around the corner from my house.
Laurance in her tiny chocolate studio off the Teton Village Road, with her secret recipe Belgian chocolate ganache.
Laurance and her mother Suzanne craft thousands of exquisitely rich and elegant chocolates into whimsical shapes such as bears, skis, trout, bison, cowboy boots, and custom logos. The dark and milk chocolate truffles are filled with their secret recipe Belgian chocolate ganache. No coconut filling, no surprise yucky gooey cherry, just chocolate ganache. I like that.
The double decker box of truffles is definitely on my Christmas list.
Give the cowboy boots to a Jackson Hole wannnabe. Doesn't everyone want to be in Jackson?
If you are lucky enough to be dining at the Snake River Grill this holiday season, then you may be served a custom SRG chocolate with your coffee.
Laurance and her mother Suzanne, Belgian chocolatiers right here in Jackson.
I could have hung out in the Petit Secret studio all day, helping Laurance temper the chocolate, and watching her mom meticulously organize the truffles, but I had a long list of gourmet foodie stops on my agenda. So I headed down to the town square, to the most Christmasy place I could think of: Lily & Co.
At Lily & Co. I found my favorite English toffee, made locally by Simply Sweet. I have been hooked on their buttery toffee coated in milk chocolate every since I first sampled it at Lily years ago. And making toffee from scratch, well that's just not in my repertoire.
Lily has lots of other great foodie finds: vintage-style aprons, peppermint bark, a few well-chosen cookbooks, and fun kitchen stuff.
Lily & Co. is the place to buy paperwhite bulbs, cool plants for hostess gifts, children's clothes and toys, and of course flowers.
If you really want to get into the spirit of the holidays, and I do mean spirit, check out Vom Foss on the town square. There is so much here for the foodie on your list that it is a bit overwhelming, like walking into Dean & DeLuca in New York City. The selection of olive oils, vinegars, flavored oils, and spices is mind-boggling. Here's a locavore gift: honey from Wyoming, beautifully packaged.
A dash of these extracts would be perfect in fudge, cookies, or cheesecake. This year I think I'll make a mocha glaze for my Christmas morning cinnamon buns.
Then there are the spirits. I had not been into Vom Foss since they obtained their license to sell alcohol. Oh....my....goodness. There's grappas, flavored vodkas, sweet wines and liquors in flavors I have never dreamed of drinking.
When you stop by Vom Foss, be aware that Andrea and Kim will want you to try everything....I sampled 3 grappas (or was it 4?) while I was there!
After my tasting extravaganza at Vom Foss I needed a coffee, since I was determined to skin up the King by the end of the day. I scooted over to the coffee shop that makes my favorite locally roasted beans, Jackson Hole Roasters.
Jackson Hole Roasters is a true coffee house in the European tradition. Locals come for coffee daily, and sometimes stay all day, holding meetings, tapping away at their laptops, and drinking more coffee. Slovakian owners Stefan and Luba understand. They started out as baristas and now have their very own coffee shop right here in Jackson Hole.
Since I am a bit of a freak about fresh coffee, I like to buy my beans at the shop, where they are roasted in-house. Although you can buy Jackson Hole Roasters coffee beans at most grocery stores, and I'm sure they don't sit on the shelf for long.
I wish you could smell these freshly roasted beans. Fuel for the holiday season.
Have you heard that Glory Bowl Soup Company is back and better than ever? Ramsie and Price are back in the kitchen making hearty, healthy homemade soups every week, with delivery or pick-up on Wednesdays.
This year, Glory Bowl Soup Company is offering a soupscription
, which would make an amazing gift for anyone who loves soup and needs a break from slaving over the stove every night (I think I"ll put this on my list too). They will customize your weekly order, with pick-up or delivery, and with or without 460 Bread. Gift certificates are also available on their website
The ultimate gift for the foodie on your list will be a culinary knife, but not just any knife. Go see Corey at New West Knife Works
on the West Bank near the Aspens.
I stopped in to purchase a knife for my brother, who loves to cook. (Hopefully Pete is a bit behind on reading my blog, and won't see this to spoil the surprise). Last summer I sent my other brother a knife for his 50th birthday. Any home cook would be thrilled to recieve one of Corey's knives; not only are they beautiful, they are incredibly well-made.
My other brother's knife, handmade by New West Knife Works.
The blade is all about the steel. Corey uses an alloy with twice as much carbon as my popular Wustoff blades. Carbon gives the knife its durability, sharpenability, and edge-holding capability. It seems that carbon is not just an attribute of ski boots; it can do a lot for your knife too.
Corey gave me a knife-sharpening lesson last summer. We'll check back with him in the spring, as he has lots to teach us all about high altitude gardening.
Corey's "refrigerator" displays all the places his knives have been raved about in print. Wow!
It is easy to be a locavore elf in Jackson Hole. It feels good to support the many talented and passionate people who make up our foodscape. Speaking of which, I have one more tip for you: Cosmic Apple Gardens is having a winter market this Saturday December 17th from 1-3 pm at Owen-Bircher Park in Wilson. Dale will be there to stock you up on beef, pork, and cheese, dog bones and jerky, and even kids' T-shirts and onsies. Email Dale at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
if you'd like to get on her list for more Winter Farmer's Markets.
It would be hard to think about local, organic food in Jackson without thinking of Dale and Jed at Cosmic Apple Gardens. They started the whole darn movement.