Bummer. You forgot to order something online for your sister, and now shipping is going to cost a million dollars. None of us should be ordering as much as we do online, anyway, and if you’re looking for culinary-minded gifts, you’re in the right region. Locally owned shops filled with locally made products are abundant. Before you lies our curated gift guide for your people who love to eat, cook and set a nice table. None of this says “I’m from a gas station.”
Handmade dishes and serving pieces
Duluth Pottery owner and potter Karin Kraemer made this hand-painted birch tree plate ($60) and carafe ($40), but her shop is full of the work of other local artists, like Cheryl and Bob Husby. You’ve probably seen Kraemer’s dishes at the Duluth Grill and Lake Avenue Cafe. For your last-minute purposes, there is plenty of functional art to pick from at the Lincoln Park shop, but Kraemer also does custom orders. Find a range of dinnerware, mugs, vases and serving pieces.
Duluth Pottery, Tile and Gallery
1924 W. Superior St.
Cookbook with foodstuffs
Find the winner of the 2018 James Beard Award Best American Cookbook, “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” ($34.95) at a Duluth shop and gallery with a great mission: to feature the work of local and regional indigenous artists. The cookbook, by Minneapolis chef Sean Sherman, focuses on indigenous, pre-European cuisine. Recipes include locally sourced and seasonal indigenous American fruits and vegetables, wild game and fish and foraged foods.
To help with mastery of the cookbook, throw in some hominy, wild rice, maple cider vinegar and black garlic, all found at the shop. The wild rice is harvested by Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa member Bruce Savage and his family, $16 for a pound.
Indigenous First Art and Gifts
(inside the American Indian Community Housing Organization)
202 W. Second St., Duluth
Reader, I sat down intending to taste the potica croissant made by Duluth’s Best Bread and then save the rest for my 4-year-old. I’m sorry, kiddo. I was seduced by those delicate, buttery layers in an outstanding interpretation of the Iron Range-famous potica. A box of the festive eggnog éclair and the potica (both $4 each) make a lovely host gift for someone’s Christmas morning. The shop will be open for pick-ups Christmas Eve.
Duluth’s Best Bread
2632 W. Third St.
It’s no secret we are spoiled by the amount of craft beer at our fingertips in the Twin Ports and on the North Shore, and some breweries sell growlers or crowlers. (Plenty of cans in grocery stores, too, from those who don’t sell growlers.) Pick up these festive crowlers from Hoops Brewing ($10-$11), or hit up Bent Paddle, Canal Park Brewing, Fitger’s Brewhouse or Voyageur Brewing in Grand Marais for growlers. Duluth Cider also offers a take-home option.
Hoops Brewing Company
325 S. Lake Ave.
Maple syrup, maple sugar
It’s an obvious last-minute gift, shelf stable and exceptionally representative of the Northland. Find Lutsen-made Caribou Cream maple sugar ($6.99) and maple syrup ($10.99 for a flask or $35 for a jug) at the Blue Heron, which also carries a maple rub. The shop also has a nice selection of Le Creuset cookware.
Blue Heron Trading Company
394 S. Lake Ave.
Longtime downtown popcorn maker Fannie Rose just rebranded, but the Duluth mix remains the same and the most popular pick of its gourmet popcorn choices. Now named the Duluth Candy Co., its take on the salty-sweet caramel and cheese Chicago mix is delightful. Owner Pat Garofolo said she made the name switch so customers associate the candy and popcorn with the city. (Duluth mix, $4.29 for a small, but you’ll want to go bigger.)
Duluth Candy Co.
103 E. Superior St.
A breakfast basket
Grocery stores are really the best last-minute gift stops. Fine olive oils, good cheddar, fancy crackers — hard to mess up. If you want an extremely local gift, put together a breakfast basket at Whole Foods. Find an always useful Epicurean cutting board ($26.99) — in the shape of Minnesota! — Babbitt’s Dahl’s sweet cream butter ($5.99), Wrenshall’s Locally Laid eggs ($4.69), Cook’s Homestead Mills blueberry pancake mix ($5.69), Squaw Lake’s Bar Bell Bee Ranch honey comb ($8.69), Bayfield Apple Co. apple butter ($4.99), Rogotzke Family Simple Gifts maple syrup ($8.69) and Carlton’s Yker Acres bacon ($12.99 per pound), otherwise known as the best bacon in the world.
Whole Foods Co-op
610 E. Fourth St.
Locally roasted coffee
A pound of beans from quality-intense Duluth Coffee Co. is a solid pick for your coffee snob, who probably already has a grinder. Some other local coffee can also now be found, including Lutsen’s Fika and Duluth’s City Girl Coffee, sister company to longtime Duluth roasters Alakef Coffee.
(Price by the pound ranges at Duluth Coffee Co., but the Zenith whole bean espresso is $15 for a pound.)
Duluth Coffee Co.
105 E. Superior St.
These pretty Lake Superior wave tumblers ($44 each) are a good pick for a relative who longs for the inland sea but pays property taxes much farther away. The shop has some in stock, but you can custom-order a set. They are dishwasher and microwave safe, plus hard to break. Which makes them even better. The Oulu Glass Gallery near Brule is another good choice for hand-blown glass.
Lake Superior Art Glass
357 Canal Park Drive
Touted by Vikre owner Emily Vikre as the perfect stocking stuffer, this little bottle of Sugarbush whiskey ($34) will crank up the perfect Old Fashioned. If you miss open hours of the distillery, go another route with Vikre’s Frenchies, a gin and sparkling rose mix found in liquor stores that is the best thing in a can since La Croix.
525 S. Lake Ave.
These Hucklebeary-carried cherry wood coasters ($5.50 each) with northwoods symbol engravings are a sweet option for someone into cabin-inspired decor. Brett Behrendt from Upbound Woodworking makes these, which are a good place to set some Duluth-made Mike and Jen’s hot cocoa ($12.95).
106 E. Superior St.
The Candy Kitchen’s peppermint crush bark is a huge seller, and makes the perfect yuletide addition to a basket you might put together with brittles, truffles and other colorful sweets at just about the cutest shop you’ll find in Minnesota. (Peppermint crush bark is $9.50 for a half pound.)
Great Lakes Candy Kitchen
223 Scenic Drive, Knife River
The Northern Waters Smokehaus all-season salmon fillet ($92) doubles as both a gift and an offering for your holiday gathering, and was recently featured in Bon Appetit magazine. The fillet is sectioned into four flavors: traditional, Cajun, dill, and pepper-coriander. A good way to dabble. The shop also has gourmet cheese, spreads and salumi.
Northern Waters Smokehaus
394 S. Lake Ave.
I have been obsessed with this pitcher for years. The Gurgle Pot comes in a rainbow of colors and lo, it does gurgle when you tip it forward. How fun is that?
Gurgle Pot ($39.99, large version)
Duluth Kitchen Co.
600 E. Superior St.
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Freelance writer Jana Hollingsworth is a Twin Ports native and former News Tribune reporter. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.