As Christmas approaches, I’m thinking about food.
I always think about food, but I’m also thinking about what food gifts I could give.
Here’s a short and probably incomplete list of some ideas:
Soup of Success soup and cookie mixes. The job skills program at Church Community Services has been a huge success and it’s just cool to support the program. The soups and cookie mixes are good and the line has expanded over the years. You can get the mixes at CCS in Elkhart or local retailers such as Ten Thousand Villages in Goshen.
Chocolate and candy. The area has a bunch of great chocolate makers, including Olympia Candy Kitchen and The Nut Shoppe in Goshen. The Nut Shoppe this year collaborated with Iechyd Da Brewing to create beer truffles. And who could forget about the nut crunches from Rise ‘N Roll Bakery in Middlebury. The cinnamon caramel donuts won’t hold up over time, but the crunches do.
Local wine and beer. You could support Fruit Hills Winery and Orchard in Bristol or Gateway Winery in Goshen (which uses kits to make wine). If you go a bit farther from Elkhart County, you could get some nice southwestern Michigan wines. The DiVine Black Walnut Creme from Round Barn Winery is pretty amazing.
But don’t forget at Iechyd Da either. The brewpub has some very cool gift baskets.
Gift certificates. You can make someone you love and a local restaurant owner happy by getting them a gift certificate. But I’d make sure it’s a restaurant you know and love and believe is successful. I often get calls after a restaurant closes asking about what to do with the gift certificates.
Coffee. The Refinery Coffee Co. and Electric Brew in Goshen and Main Street Coffee House in Nappanee and South Bend are all spots to get beans that are roasted locally. The beans come from elsewhere, but local roasters make them taste good.
The Dining A La King trip to California is gaining travelers who will come along to Central Coast from Feb. 6-10. If you missed the announcement a couple weeks ago, you can get all the details online or in the Dec. 2 print edition, but Menno Travel also has them. The cost varies, but ranges from $1,595 to $2,495 per person, depending on how you travel. For more information contact Ronda Morris at email@example.com or 574-534-1521.
Last week’s column said that Rise ’N Roll Bakery would be closed the week of Jan. 6. Marketing manager Jeff Petermann called back to say he got it mostly right, but that the Middlebury bakery will be open Jan. 10 that week.
It’s a good reminder that holiday hours over the holidays shift a lot. It never hurts to call ahead to a restaurant or food business before you make the trip to assure that it’s open.
Oh, and if you know of restaurants that will be open on Christmas Day, let me know and I’ll spread the word.
The third annual Brewfest will be Saturday, Jan. 11, at Century Center, South Bend. The festival from 1 to 4 p.m. will feature more than 30 local breweries and 125 brands of beer. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Designated driver tickets are $10. Morris Box Office is selling the tickets at 574-235-9190 or www.morriscentertickets.com.
Rise Up Farms will have a new farmer this year. Alex Smith is coming to the farm after interning at Eaters’ Guild Farm in southwest Michigan and helping start a CSA in Bloomington, Ind. He said in an email he’s moving the area in January. Nick Simons and Nicole Bauman will be involved in the farm, but in different roles than they have had, he said.
Marshall V. King is managing editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.