Stuffing a Christmas stocking can be one of the best parts about the holidays. After all, it's all about little, tasty and useful things that will fit inside a giant foot-shaped vessel. With the days counting down, you should be thinking about what to get for the food lovers in your life; consider these ten items, which run the gamut from delicious to handy to something you will treasure for years. All of these items are made in Colorado, and some you can't find outside of the state.
1. Brisket Soap from Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Que and Brown Castle Farms
Make a meat lover happy with this unique handmade soap from Roaming Buffalo and Brown Castle Farms. Folks from the two spots collaborated on the project as a way to use up leftovers from the restaurant's smoker. First, the restaurant clarified the fat and then the talented folks at the farm turned it into a savory-smelling soap, which does indeed give off the essence of smoked meat. Try that flavor or any of the other body goods, such as the bacon-scented soap and lip balm. Head to the eatery at 2387 South Downing Street for lunch and to purchase your gifts for $8.50 a bar.
2. Chocolate-Filled Peppermint Candy Canes from Hammond's Candies
5735 North Washington Street
This may be one of the most festive holiday candies out there, and it's the perfect size to fit in a giant knitted sock. These hand-crooked candy canes have been a Hammond's seasonal staple for decades, and you can only get them through January. But how, exactly, do they get the luscious chocolate in the hardened peppermint shell? The technique remains a secret, but the result is something you won't quickly forget. And for those who prefer fruit and chocolate over mint, the shop offers a chocolate-filled cherry cane, too, all for $2.95 each.
3. EatDenver Dining Deck
With this little deck of cards, you can stuff your loved one's stocking with a gift that will carry on throughout the year. Each pack comes with 56 vouchers worth $10 off when you purchase $25 or more of food. This adds up to $560 of savings at the sixty independent EatDenver member restaurants, including Bacon Social House, Ophelia's, Racca's Pizzeria, Vesta, Vital Root and more. Just make sure the cards are used by December 31, 2017, lest they expire. Buy the deck ($55) online at eatdenver.com or at any Tattered Cover retail location in the metro area.
4. Ganache Truffles from Fortuna Chocolate
Chocolate almost always wins during the holiday season, and the sweets coming out of Fortuna's tiny mobile lab in Boulder prove to be some of the best. Treat your loved ones to a twelve-piece gift box of truffles, a delightful set made with with Xoconusco premier cru cacao and creamy fillings that Fortuna creates by emulsifying triple-boiled, 24-hour cured organic cream from grass-fed cows. Each piece is lovingly hand-rolled and packaged by the company's three-person team, Aldo Ramirez Carrasco, Sienna Trapp-Bowie and Spencer Bowie. Purchase the gift set for $40 online at fortuna-chocolate.com.
5. Honey Bear from Haefeli Honey
Make this holiday a bear-y sweet one by stuffing stockings with local honey in a cute, bear-shaped squeeze bottle. Haefeli Honey sells untreated honey sourced from high-altitude clover fields in Monte Vista. Owners John Haefeli and his wife, Patti, got their hives more than 35 years ago, when the company was passed down from Haefeli's father, Edward. In turn, it was Edward's father who started the whole thing way back in the family's homeland of Switzerland. The Haefelis came to the San Luis Valley in 1903 and have been selling delicious honey ever since. For only $5.90 a bear, you can share a little bit of the valley with your own family this Christmas. Honey and other bee-related products like beeswax candles and lotion can be purchased on the Haefeli website or at the family's store, at 425 Grand Avenue in Del Norte.
Keep reading for more Colorado-made gift ideas...
6. Fireside Vanilla Spice Tea by Celestial Seasonings
Although Celestial Seasonings has gone mainstream, it's still a Boulder-based company cherished by many tea lovers. In fact, fans like the products so much, they begged to get the whimsical old-school packaging back on the shelves — hence Fireside Vanilla Spice's cozy image of a cat curled by the fire while a steaming mug of tea awaits its owner in the foreground. While this picture is charming, that's not the only reason you should stuff your darling's stocking with this herbal tea. With cinnamon, vanilla, ginger and cardamom, the mixture proves perfect for cold nights when you yourself might be snuggled by the fireplace. Each box retails for about $3.40, and you can either order the tea online at celestialseasonings.com or visit your local grocery store.
7. Madrone Burl Pepper Mill by Colorado Kitchen Heirlooms
While the piece of Madrone wood used to make this stunning pepper mill came from Oregon, Pat Scott, the creator, handcrafts all of his goods in a Lakewood workshop. This particular beauty stands ten inches tall and runs $185. Though it might be on the more expensive end for a stocking stuffer, it's a gift that will be loved and passed down for generations. The only way to get Scott's products is to order from the Colorado Kitchen Heirlooms online shop. You can also call Scott's shop at 303-988-7584 to find out which local markets are carrying his unique pieces.
8. Rocky Mountain Hot Sauce by Motherlode Provisions
It's Colorado, and Santa would never get away with skipping hot sauce for the holidays. Luckily for you, Motherlode Provisions in Gold Hill makes a tasty and local tongue-scorcher, with a tomato and vegetable base and four moderately spicy peppers. While that might not sound like much, each $4 mini-flask of Rocky Mountain hot sauce packs a savory, smoky and rich flavor that really helps to round out morning eggs, a burger, roasted potatoes or pulled pork. As a bonus, the sauce is vegan and gluten-free. Order from the Motherlode Provisions website or seek it out at Sprouts grocery stores and other specialty retailers.
9. Toni's 10 Bean Soup from the Women's Bean Project
Anything you buy from the Women's Bean Project will not only be appreciated by the recipient, but will also contribute to the women involved in the company's transitional job-training program. One great item is Toni's 10 Bean Soup, a dried mix of lentils, split peas, pearl barley, black-eyed peas, navy beans, black beans, red lentils, garlic and spices. It fits perfectly into a stocking and cooks up into a delicious stew that might even benefit you — if your loved one decides to share. Find the goods at all King Soopers and City Market stores, as well as Marczyk Fine Foods, Great Harvest Bread Company, Made in Colorado and the Women's Bean Project shop, 3201 Curtis Street.
10. Waxed Canvas Knife Roll by Valentich Bags
Though this $100 knife roll is on the more extravagant stocking-stuffer end, it's a gift that's sure to be appreciated by any chef, cooking enthusiast or knife lover. Each piece is handmade by Ryan Valentich and comes in either leather or waxed canvas. The latter proves excellent in the kitchen, as it develops a patina over time and the wax protects from stains and spills. It features leather tie closures, a zippered spoon pocket on the side, and three large, four medium and three small slots for your blades. Purchase one from the Valentich website or find one at the brand-new Carbon Knife Co., 3264 Larimer Street in RiNo, where you can fill the rest of your kitchen-related holiday shopping needs.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.