Louisianans love food—no doubt about it. It seems like the local production of handmade culinary goods is at an all-time high in south Louisiana, making it easier than ever to surround the holiday tree or present table with thoughtful, tasty gifts made right here in the Baton Rouge area.
Here’s a list of gifts perfect for the foodie in your life.
Nicknamed Mardi Gras rice for its natural purple color, this distinctive long-grain rice contains high levels of antioxidants more commonly found in blueberries or acai—not usually in brown or white rice. Milton C. Rush, a rice pathologist at Louisiana State University, developed this product right here in Louisiana. The rice cooks for 15 to 18 minutes, and it turns a striking color when cooked. It tastes a bit chewier than white rice.
A 3-pound bag of Blanca Isabel’s purple rice is about $15 and can be found at certain Rouses Supermarket and Breaux Mart locations, as well as Berry Town and Piggly Wiggly in Hammond, Mizer’s Cost + Food in Slidell and Dorignac’s in Metairie.
Gov’t Taco owner and local celebrity chef Jay Ducote’s sweet and spicy Louisiana Molasses Mustard mixes local sugarcane molasses with mustard and a bit of cayenne and jalapeño. Putting a local twist on honey mustard, the mustard works well with more than just a sandwich—it can be used as a marinade, a glaze on grilled foods, a salad dressing or even as a dip.
A 12.7-ounce bottle of Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard costs $9 and can be found online on Ducote’s website and Amazon.
Martin Wine Cellar is known for its wine, but it’s also a place to find spirits, beer and more, including a selection of gift box kits perfect for a quick shop. With baskets ranging from $40 to $80, buyers can choose what their gift recipient would like best, with multiple choices of wine and sweet and savory treats.
Holiday baskets can be found online or at any brick-and-mortar location, including the Baton Rouge location at 7248 Perkins Road.
The Louisiana Culinary Institute trains would-be chefs in the professional culinary arts, but it also offers a wide variety of year-round leisure classes for folks who want to perfect their kitchen chops. Two different three-hour, $125 classes are offered each month, taking place in LCI’s spacious, professional setting. A sample of upcoming topics: Mardi Gras appetizers, Cajun creative, comfort food and artisan breads. LCI is at 10550 Airline Highway.
For classes in a lower price range, learn to decorate sweet treats at Party Time. The shop offers classes for almost any baked good, from little desserts like petits fours and chocolates to full-blown, multi-tiered cakes. Classes range from $25 to $40 and can be purchased online. Party Time is at 3350 Bluebonnet Blvd.
This Baton Rouge pottery shop offers handcrafted kitchenware with everything from plates and mugs to trays, pitchers and tumbler cups. Pottery by Osa is a one-woman operation, making sales online via its website, and at craft shows in Louisiana and Texas. The clay kitchenware makes an original, intricately crafted gift for the person in your life who loves to dine in style.
Prices range from $38 to $285, and Pottery by Osa also runs a studio space at 351 Burgin Ave.
River Road Recipes include editions I to IV and have received national recognition for delicious content. Buying the recipe books are a great purchase for those looking to learn more about cooking, or just want to diversify their personal menus. The books put the money straight back into the community with more than $3 million derived from cookbook sales and donated by the Junior League of Baton Rouge to local charitable and educational projects.
The cookbooks are sold online starting at around $20 each, or you can purchase them by the case starting at $100. The Junior League of Baton Rouge is at 9523 Fenway Ave.