Tasteful Gifts for Foodies

We’ve rounded up some of the most delectable gifts money can buy in Alaska – a cornucopia of locally made food and drink products, culinary classes, cookbooks by local chefs, kitchen tools, and plenty of other "goods" – and there’s something for every size wallet. In the guide below, you’re sure to find something to please every foodie friend and family member on your shopping list.

Sweet & Spicy

Birch Boy Gourmet Tonia's Biscotti Alaskan Fudge

Pour on the love

The Birch Boy Gourmet Alaskan Birch Syrup Company harvests native fruits and berries, then turns them into unique and flavorful syrups. One such tasty combination is the Alaskan Highbush Cranberry Syrup, made with tangy red berries. Great on French toast and as a marinade ingredient for wild game and fresh Alaskan salmon. It could easily turn into a holiday favorite.

■ 8 oz bottle $10-$12; www.birchboy.com

Slam dunk with coffee

Biscotti, that delicate, flavorful Italian cookie that dunks so well in coffee is now sweeping the Alaska cafe scene. When Tonia Winkler of Tonia’s Biscotti moved to Alaska from Italy, she brought some wonderful recipes with her. Her biscotti combine Old World sophistication with the robust flavors of Alaska to make a unique and delicious treat.

■ Large biscotti packs, $13.50; Biscotti bites, $9.95; www.toniasbiscotti.com

Oh, Fudge!

The Alaskan Fudge Company makes its fudge fresh every day with the finest ingredients and no preservatives. Two of their top, tasty sellers are the Motherlode Maple (maple fudge with pecan pieces) and Mendenhall Mudd (chocolate with marshmallows and pecan pieces).

■ $16 for a 1 lb. box; www.alaskanfudge.com

Basically Basil Kahiltna Birchwords Doggy Decadents

Fusion of flavors

The richly flavored vinegars from Basically Basil offer an exciting and robust addition to dressings, marinades, and sautes, transforming any meal into a gourmet experience. Up to 20 flavors of gourmet herbal vinegars.

■ Ranging $3.25-$19 per bottle; www.basicallybasil.com

Extreme jams

Kahiltna Birchworks calls their wild berry jams "extreme" because they’re made with whole wild berries kettle cooked slowly to the proper concentration and consistency, with a minimum of added sugars. The result? A deeper, richer berry flavor that’s higher in nutrition. Most of the jams contain Alaska wildflower honey as part of the sweetener.

■ 3.75 oz., $5-$6; www.alaskabirchsyrup.com

Pampered pooches

Your dogs will love you for giving them treats made with wholesome and delicious ingredients. Doggy Decadents specializes in freshly baked, all natural treats for your canine friends, with no preservatives or other additives. Perfect stocking stuffer to get your dog sitting, staying and shaking for more.

■ 8 oz bags are $10.00 each; www.doggydecadents.com

Summit Spice & Tea Sweet Darligns

Truffles with an attitude

Got an atypical chocolaholic on your shopping list? The handcrafted truffles at the Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge are sweet and sassy. Surprise that sweet tooth when chocolate meets lime zest and tequila, or cayenne and chipotle peppers or a pinch of smoked Alaskan salmon on top.

■ Gift box of four truffles $11.80; www.moderndwellers.com

Tea and scones

For lovers of afternoon tea and scones, think Summit Spice & Tea. The store carries premium quality loose-leaf teas (more than 170!) and delicious sweet scone mixes, such as the house-made Double Ginger Scone Mix, a customer favorite.

■ Prices vary; www.summitspiceandtea.com

A bark with a bite

Few flavors capture the spirit of the holiday season the way that peppermint does, especially the classic taste of peppermint bark. Sweet Darlings makes an award-winning white chocolate bark with incredibly delicious bits of homemade peppermint brittle.

■ $11; www.sweetdarlings.com

Culinary Cool

Rise & Shine Bakery Wild Alaska Smoked Salmon & Seafoods Allen & Petersen

Loaves of love

These local breads rise to the occasion. Rise & Shine Bakery is committed to using as many local ingredients as possible – from barley grown in Delta Junction, to potatoes and onions grown in Palmer. Flavors include cheese and roasted garlic, onion rye, potato and chive, and in the fall, a savory pumpkin bread. For the holidays, try the dark chocolate and cherry bread, or the fruited almond bread.

■ $6.75 a loaf; www.riseandshinebread.com

Salmon with taste

A perfect delicacy for any occasion: Alder smoked salmon in the Native tradition from Wild Alaska Smoked Salmon & Seafood. Its full flavor and natural deep red color makes it a connoisseur’s choice.

■ Ranging from $14.95-$46.15 depending on weight; www.smoked-fish.com

Cook like a chef

From bakeshop basics to steakhouse workshops, you’ll be amazed at the selection of cooking classes at Allen & Petersen in Anchorage, Wasilla and Kenai.

■ From $69; www.aphome.com

Local Harvest Sasquatch Books Wild Alaska Smoked Salmon & Seafood

Food futures

Sign up someone for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and give a gift that keeps on giving for an entire growing season. Interested consumers purchase a share from a farm (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits – from local wild salmon to organic veggies. Visit localharvest.org for a list of local farms.

Delicious reads

For the ultimate resources to cooking Alaska style, pick up these two much-lauded local cookbooks: The New Alaska Cookbook: Recipes from the Last Frontier's Best Chefs, by Glenn Denkler & Kim Severson; and What's Cooking, Alaska?: 100 Recipes from Alaska's Favorite Chef by Al Levinsohn.

■ Each for $19.95; www.sasquatchbooks.com

Let them eat caviar

Not only is salmon caviar a unique luxury gift, but it’s also a healthy one: a mere spoonful delivers a full gram of omega-3s. Wild Alaska Smoked Salmon & Seafood’s salmon caviar comes from fresh, wild Alaskan Pacific Keta salmon eggs harvested in the clear waters of Southeast Alaska.

■ 1.75 oz, $19.95; www.smoked-fish.com

Yolife Yogurt Maker Wusthof

Yum yum yogurt

The Yolife Yogurt Maker is an easy way to make fresh yogurt at home. In just 8-12 hours, Yolife can make up to 42 oz of nutritious probiotics-rich yogurt from milk or soymilk.

■ $39.95; Available through Habitat Housewares, www.habitathousewares.com

Super slicer

For a high-quality Chef's knife, grab a Wusthof from Habitat Housewares. This true professional knife makes cutting and slicing astonishingly easy.

■ $119.99; www.habitathousewares.com

Drink & Be Merry

Raven's Brew Coffee Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge Celestial Meads

Get your goat

Crudely named, but aptly famed! That’s the famous Three Peckered Billy Goat, a gourmet coffee blend from Raven's Brew Coffee. Freshly roasted in Alaska, this dark roast has a velvety mouthfeel and superb body. The unique artwork on the labels is by one of our favorite Alaskan artists, Ray Troll.

■ 12 oz bag for $10.95; www.ravensbrew.com

Hot, hot, hot chocolate

Ready for some crazy good drinking chocolate in the Mayan tradition? At Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge, let those taste buds roam wild with rich, thick dark chocolate spiced with three types of chili peppers.

■ From $4.25 to $4.75; www.moderndwellers.com

Got mead?

Made by fermenting honey with yeast, mead is not a beer and not a wine – it’s in a class by itself. As the farthest north meadery, Celestial Meads produces a wide variety of meads, three of which recently won gold medals in an international competition: Southern Heat (made with pure, raw tupelo honey); Raizin d'Etre (made with blackberry blossom honey and zinfandel grapes); and Scheherazade (made with cardamom, sour cherries, plums and a hint of pomegranates).

■ Southern Heat, $25; Raizin d'Etre, $34; Scheherazade, $24; www.celestialmeads.com

Alaska Brewing Company Midnight Sun Brewing Company Glacier Creek Distillery Bear Creek Winery

Smokin’ beer

Alaskan Smoked Porter has won more medals at the Great American Beer Festival than any other beer. Brewed seasonally since 1988, this robust beer from Alaska Brewing Company has a pronounced smoky flavor making it an adventuresome taste experience. Unlike most beers, it may be aged in the bottle, much like fine wine.

■ 22 oz. for $5.99; www.alaskanbeer.com

A beast of a brew

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Company is aptly named after the ferocious wolverine of the north. Aged for several months in oak barrels, each annual batch is released on the Friday after Thanksgiving. In its youth, Arctic Devil gnarls and snarls its way across the palate. The long aging tames the beast, melding and mellowing this powerful liquid into an incredible elixir. This "Devil" is Alaska's most awarded barley wine.

■ 22 oz for $10; www.midnightsunbrewing.com

Home-grown vodka

Alaska’s only licensed distillery, Glacier Creek Distillery, produces vodka made from glacier water and organic potatoes grown in the Mat-Su valley. Triple distilled and filtered five times at this eco-friendly distillery. Coming soon are Alaskan wildberry-infused flavors.

■ $39.99; www.permafrostvodka.com

Feeling blu?

Locally grown blueberries blend with white zinfandel to make this one-of-a-kind smooth Blu Zin wine from Bear Creek Winery in Homer.

■ $24; www.bearcreekwinery.com

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