A week into December, many of us have finished our big-ticket Christmas shopping and are too exhausted from the near-riots of Black Friday to contemplate hitting the stores for more. If you're still looking for something for your remaining friends and family, heading to the mall for a Norelco shaver or a Target gift card won't exactly say it with love. Here are four gift ideas — all made in Colorado — for the food and drink lovers in your life.
1) Ace Crisp Chili Oil
It's not often that a condiment catches our attention in a restaurant, but the crisp chili oil at Ace is so good that we awarded it Best Tabletop Condiment in our Best of Denver edition this year. What makes it so good? In addition to the addictive burn, the sweet, salty and roasty flavors are made more enticing by the crunchy texture of sesame seeds. If you're like us, you'll drop by Ace at 501 East 17th Avenue for an Asian-inspired snack — just so you can spoon on a little of the sauce. Next time you stop in, you can pick up a six-ounce jar of the stuff for $8.50. It's the perfect size for a stocking stuffer — if you can stand to part with the jar.
2) Chile Billy Sauces
Not so long ago, Bill Yalch could be found ladling up some of the best green chile in town from his food cart in front of the Denver Beer Company on Platte Street. While Yalch still caters special events, his Southwestern flavors have been a little hard to come by — until now. Chile Billy is unleashing a line of bottled sauces, including a slow-fermented sriracha sauce made only with red chiles grown by DiSanti Farms on the Saint Charles Mesa near Pueblo. The bottled sauces are brand new to the market, so online sales will begin on Wednesday, December 9. You can buy the bottles individually on Chile Billy's Facebook page, or you can get a set of all the sauces in a handmade wooden box for $69.99, with $5 of each sale going to the Denver Rescue Mission (and you'll also get a fifth bottle for free). Perfect for the Colorado chile-head in your life.
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3) FROST'D Coconut Oil Frosting
Jessica Hamel is an ultra-marathon runner with a sweet tooth. She was looking for a sweet but all-natural product to put on cookies, waffles, toast or just about anything else, but couldn't find anything without preservatives or artificial flavors, so she ended up making her own. Her best friend, Hannah Lloyd, liked the resulting frosting so much that the two decided to go into business together. Hamel's creation is FROST'D, a creamy dessert topping made with nothing but coconut oil, confectioner's sugar and natural flavors like chocolate, cinnamon, lemon, vanilla and lavender. Because of the ingredients used, FROST'D is shelf-stable even though it's free of chemical preservatives, making it a great gift idea for someone sweet. Jars can be purchased on the FROST'D website for $8 each and are also available in select stores, like Cured and Alfalfa's in Boulder, Lucky's Markets in Boulder and Longmont.
4) The Grabopener ST
As unbelievable as it sounds, until 2012 humans had to use two hands to open a bottle of beer. But former Denverite (and former Westword photographer) Mark Manger found a solution while living in Colorado; he developed the one item every beer drinker needs: a one-handed bottle opener. With the Grabopener, you can channel surf and open a beer at the same time, or check your fantasy football scores with one hand while opening a beer with the other. The latest in this line of miracle products, the Grabopener ST (for steel tooth), is still made in Colorado and is available on the company's website for $30. Ten percent of sales will go to Pencils of Promise to help build schools in Ghana. Perfect for friends and family who want to do something with one hand while opening a beer with the other.