Homegrown culinary gifts are the best kind in any year, but that’s especially true in 2020. This holiday season, throw small businesses some support by buying local. Talented food producers have given you lots to work with—there’s an endless bounty of products the food lovers in your life will relish. Here are a few of our favorites.
On backpacking trips, local cocktail enthusiast Cliff Couvillon used to bring along space-saving homemade powder mixes to make cocktails around the campfire. The exercise planted the idea for a more refined product. Add water and booze to Couvillon’s Leisuremann’s Cocktail Mixes, and poof, you’re holding a Margarita, Cosmo, Bee’s Knees or some other adult beverage. The mixes are available in tins or single-serving envelopes—we found ours at BLDG 5—and are great for the cost-conscious cocktail fan, the tailgater and the road tripper. leisuremanns.com
C is for cookie
You’ve seen “Papa Tom” Bonnecaze’s products at the Red Stick Farmers Market: a lineup of stone-ground goods that includes grits, cornmeal, corn flour, polenta, fish fry and seasoning mix. The family-run business has also created Cookie Mix jars made with Papa Tom’s rice flour and fresh-crimped oatmeal (whole oats that have been pushed through an old-fashioned crimping machine). It keeps the oats whole, and gives them a unique texture. Each jar includes flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, brown sugar and oats, and comes in one of several fun flavors, including chocolate chip, butterscotch, cranberry and others. Add wet ingredients, and off you go. bonnecazefarms.com
A custom herbal formulary right down the road in Walker makes and sells seasonal elderberry syrup blends to keep your respiratory system in tip-top shape. What timing, right? Except that Andi Lynn’s has actually been producing natural health remedies for nearly a decade through its store and website and in 200 stores across the country, including more than a dozen groceries and shops around Baton Rouge. The company is the brainchild of Andrea Leyerle, who first developed the elderberry remedy when her family came down with a lingering respiratory virus several years ago. Products not only address coughs and colds, but also help with sleep issues, allergies and other ailments. andilynns.com
Here’s your chance to give a gift box packed with artisan, hyper-local items made by food entrepreneurs at the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator. The incubator, which helps culinary microenterprises get products to market, assembles different seasonal gift boxes curated with its tenants’ products. The Deluxe Gift Box, for example, includes two varieties of Hanley’s Foods salad dressing and a package of its Po’Boy Croutons; a package of City Gelato mix to make at home; D’Agostino Pasta made with old-world dyes; and sweets by Mama Roos and Cane Land Distillery. lsuagcenter.com
Eating his words
Well-known restaurateur and radio host Jay Ducote can now add cookbook author to his list of job titles, a lineup that also includes competition chef, product manufacturer and blogger. His Jay Ducote’s Louisiana Outdoor Cooking, co-written by Cynthia LeJeune Nobles and out now on LSU Press, includes 150 festive Cajun- and Creole-influenced recipes. It also features engaging narratives about how this former LSU student tailgater ended up a frequent participant on national culinary reality TV shows. Recipes include Crawfish Etouffée Arancini, Coconut Chili-Chocolate Tarts and Blackberry Bourbon Bone-In Boston Butt. jayducote.com
This article was originally published in the December 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.