Vegan chocolate hazelnut slice from Daydream Dessert Co.
Vegan chocolate hazelnut slice from Daydream Dessert Co.
Courtesy of Daydream Desserts

The Last-Minute Guide to Denver Food Gifts for Your Friends and Family

This holiday season, we've helped fill your gift list with local food and drink stocking stuffers that make Santa proud. But you're checking it twice, and you're still seeing blank spots. It's those hard to shop for groups: pregnant friends, vegans, co-workers, neighbors, etc. What to get them?

Fear not: We've curated ten perfect last-minute foodie gifts that hit every category on your list. Even better, they're all from Colorado and can easily be ordered to finish your shopping.

Backyard Soda Co. handcrafts gourmet simple syrups for mock-tails and cocktails.
Backyard Soda Co. handcrafts gourmet simple syrups for mock-tails and cocktails.
Wendy Nakajima

For Pregnant Mamas
Backyard Soda Co.
Denver

Mix a mocktail with handcrafted gourmet simple syrups, like cranberry-clove, chocolate-chai or lemon-rosemary. In 2012, Patrick Creager started concocting non-alcoholic drinks for Denver restaurants as an alternative for his pregnant wife. Backyard Soda Co. crafts with pure cane sugar and the freshest local fruits, herbs and spices available to create drinks that "excite the palate just the way delicious, thoughtful food does," says Creager.

The pumpkin-spice simple syrup is made from crimson Colorado pumpkins and Madagascar vanilla beans from Denver's Savory Spice shop (a little further down our list!). Pair bestseller ginger-lime with copper mugs for the perfect gift to mix Moscow Mule mocktails. (Pssst — each bottle of syrup comes with a cocktail recipe for the boozers.)

Get handmade pierogies delivered to your Denver door until December 15.
Get handmade pierogies delivered to your Denver door until December 15.
Courtesy of Baba and Pop. Scott and Jessie Snyder.

For Jetsetting Foodies
Baba and Pop's Pierogies
303-919-3584

We all love a grandmother's recipe, but for the worldly wise, that recipe may come from the small Eastern European village you visited while backpacking through Eastern Europe. Get handmade pierogies delivered to your Denver door until December 15 from Baba and Pop's owner Jeremy Yurek, who uses a Polish recipe from great-grandparents (affectionately known as Baba and Pop) that's more than 100 years old. Yurek's a seasoned pierogi pro; he's been filling, folding and frying the traditional moon-shaped dumplings since he could walk, and has been running his company — a farmers' market and food-truck favorite — for several years.

Satisfy your craving this holiday with authentic potato-and-cheese pierogies or updated flavors like chile relleno, buffalo chicken or pulled pork, which is stuffed with eighteen-hour slow-roasted, dry-rubbed pork shoulder. 

Salted Caramel Cheezecake made with raw, tangy cashews and swirled salted caramel.
Salted Caramel Cheezecake made with raw, tangy cashews and swirled salted caramel.
Courtesy of Daydream Dessert Co.

For Sweet Vegans
Daydream Dessert Co.
daydreamdessertco@gmail.com

Vegan. Whole. Raw. Gluten-free. Paleo. Organic. Dessert dreams for those following alternative diets really do come true. Order delicious treats like salted-caramel Cheezecake: raw, tangy "cashew cheeze" with swirled salted caramel, topped with crunchy pecans, cacao nibs and a drizzle of raw cacao.

Instead of using gluten-free flours like almond or coconut, owner and dessert alchemist Emma Nelson experiments with whole-form, plant-based ingredients like dates, raw honey, blackstrap molasses, shredded coconut and sunflower seeds. With an abundance of holiday orders, Nelson is humbled and overwhelmed by the "love, support and growth" her Boulder small business is receiving.

Boozy, farm-fresh Colorado fruit jams are the perfect gift.
Boozy, farm-fresh Colorado fruit jams are the perfect gift.
Courtesy of Naked Goat Farm

For Your Boss
Naked Goat Farm
6739 Lavell Street, Elbert
720-291-6721

Naked goats? No, it's not risqué. Instead, the Colorado farm-fresh jellies from this goat farm make a great gift your boss won't soon forget, considering flavors as memorable as Maple Apple Rum Butter or Port Wine Cranberry. Amid the sweeping views of Pikes Peak, Mark and Gina Dunham make jams with herbs and berries from their forty-acre farm in El Paso County. Peruse their jams and jellies online to make a tasty Colorado-grown gift basket. 

Pablo's Coffee installed a new single-batch brewer at 6th and Washington.
Pablo's Coffee installed a new single-batch brewer at 6th and Washington.
Courtesy of Pablo's Coffee

For Coffee Addicts
Pablo's Coffee
630 East Sixth Avenue
303-744-3323

Pablo's Coffee subscription service will have java lovers abuzz. Choose how often coffee will be delivered and pick from bestsellers like full-bodied Danger Monkey or the Leisurist — a clean, lightly roasted blend with prominent baker's chocolate and pear notes.

As one of Denver's first craft coffee roasters (since 2002), Pablo's is still roasting in a small facility at Seventh Avenue and Lipan Street and serving fresh-made coffee at two Denver shops: in the historic Alamo Placita neighborhood and in Capitol Hill.

Set up a Petey Bird hot-cocoa-and-cookie bar at work or order a gift basket.
Set up a Petey Bird hot-cocoa-and-cookie bar at work or order a gift basket.
Courtesy of Petey Bird

6. Cool Co-workers
Petey Bird Hot Cocoa and Cookies
720-432-2430

Nothing says "thank you" like an unexpected hot-cocoa-and-cookie happy hour. Treat your work team to a gourmet hot-cocoa bar with artisan, handcrafted flavors like dutch chocolate, salted toffee, maple bourbon, mocha and Dutch peppermint. Scratch-baked cookies, like snickerdoodle and shortbread, come by the dozen for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Hot cocoa and cookies are the wintery alternative to Petey Bird's main biz, ice cream sandwiches. In 2013, lifetime ice cream enthusiast Pete Bredemann left his job as an engineer to start pedaling mini-sammies from his pink bicycle cart. This holiday season, gift baskets pair small-batch cocoa with Petey Bird's signature ice cream sammies.

Picaflor's live cultured hot sauce and pepper flakes are made from organic Colorado peppers.
Picaflor's live cultured hot sauce and pepper flakes are made from organic Colorado peppers.
Courtesy of Picaflor/Craig Spinks

For the Holistic Home Cook
Picaflor Live Culture Hot Sauces and Pepper Flakes
4745 Walnut Street, Boulder
720-442-3816

For the holistic home cook who loves kombucha and fermented foods, shake it up with Picaflor's live-culture hot sauces and pepper flakes, made from organic peppers grown at McCauley's foothills farm. "Not only is our sauce fermented, but it's alive," Marcus McCauley says of the process that produces immune-boosting probiotics.

Give a bottle of Srirawcha hot sauce along with a jar of cayenne-pepper flakes to add unique heat and deepen the flavors of any dish. Hot Portugal pepper flakes add layers of flavor to broccoli or potato soup. To preserve the probiotic benefits, keep sauces and flakes refrigerated so that the healthy culture remains live and active in higher concentrations for a longer period of time.

The BBQ gift pack of fresh-ground spices packs a punch.EXPAND
The BBQ gift pack of fresh-ground spices packs a punch.
Courtesy of Savory Spice Shop

For the Host Who Has Everything
Savory Spice Shop
1537 Platte Street
303-477-3322

Bring spice to the party and impress your host with a gift basket from Savory Spice Shop. "Our spices are freshly ground, and our blends are handcrafted for superior quality and flavor, which any home cook will appreciate," says Molly Martin, marketing coordinator for Savory Spice. "We have over fifty gift packs to choose from, from baking and BBQ to exotic herbs and spices and kitchen essentials."

Give the Colorado 14ers spice pack, which contains unique and delicious blends inspired by the state's iconic mountain peaks: Pikes Peak Butcher’s Rub, Mt. Massive Steak Seasoning, Mt. Elbert All-Purpose Seasoning, and Pyramid Peak Lemon Pepper. The first Savory Spice shop was opened on Platte Street in 2004 by owners Mike and Janet Johnston and has grown to seven Colorado locations where you can sample spices. 

Sam is the chief tasting officer at Smart Cookie Barkery.EXPAND
Sam is the chief tasting officer at Smart Cookie Barkery.
Courtesy of Smart Cookie Barkery and Amanda Piela

For Your Furry Friends
Smart Cookie Barkery
720-466-9878

Don't forget to make your dog happy for the holidays. Denver's Smart Cookie Barkery makes wheat-free, dehydrated-meat dog treats and jerky. Bri and Scott Bradley started crafting dog treats in 2012 after their Australian Shepard was diagnosed with lymphoma and Bri was diagnosed with breast cancer at 24.

After a "healthy lockdown," the Bradleys wanted to create a treat that would fit "each dog's one-of-a-kind personality and nutritional needs," says Bri. Create customized dogs treats online by choosing the protein (beef, chicken or salmon), carbs (barley, oats, brown rice, or quinoa) and fruits and veggies your pet will enjoy.

All ingredients are sourced from American farms and ranches, including a few in Colorado, and the Bradleys grind meat themselves to ensure quality and consistency. Stuff your dog's stocking with Muttstletoe, holiday snacks with human-grade ingredients like turkey, cranberry and pumpkin. Shoppers can receive 10 percent off online orders by using the code MUTTSMAS.

State 38 will be releasing the exclusive two-year barrel-aged Extra Añejo December 13.
State 38 will be releasing the exclusive two-year barrel-aged Extra Añejo December 13.
Courtesy of State 38 Distilling

For Your Neighbors With Bright Spirits
State 38 Distilling
400 Corporate Circle, Golden
720-242-7219

Make spirits bright at your neighborhood holiday party with the first-ever Extra Añejo (think long-aged tequila) produced in America. Añejo is Spanish for "aged," and this agave spirit has been barrel-aged in oak for two years.

"It is a complete accident that we have this Extra Añejo," admits Sean Smiley, owner of State 38 Distilling in Golden. "I actually forgot about a barrel of Añejo because it was tucked away in the back corner. So there it sat, unnoticed for 24 months." The aging process revealed notes of rich vanilla, followed by a sugary-sweet oak finish. State 38 will offer this exclusive agave spirit, the first ever commercially produced in the U.S., for purchase at the distillery starting December 13.

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