Holidays

The Ultimate Arizona Gift Guide for Food Lovers in 2021

The Dark Chocolate Salted Toffee Pistachio Bar from local chocolatier Alex Olmos Axelson.
The Dark Chocolate Salted Toffee Pistachio Bar from local chocolatier Alex Olmos Axelson. Noi Cacao
We're not interested in cookie-cutter gifts (unless they're actually cookie cutters; we like those). On special occasions, we're looking to give our friends and loved ones unique, one-of-a-kind presents.

Good news: We have a wealth of local makers, artisans, and small businesses in Arizona, and many of them are making delicious stuff that you can put in your mouth. Here's a field-notes-style guide to Arizona-made gifts for the food lover in your life.

Sock It To Ya

These gifts may be small, but they’re mighty good.


Alex Olmos Axelson, chocolatier and owner of Noi Cacao, might have made the perfect chocolate bar with his Dark Chocolate Salted Toffee Pistachio Bar ($10).


Once you go Fleur De Sel + Orange Bitters ($17) finishing salt by Arizona's own SEE SALT, you don’t go back.

Speaking of fleur de sel, the Fleur de Sel Caramels ($7.50 each) by Scottsdale-based Super Chunk are ooh-la-la.

A Coyote Bottle Opener ($24) by Flagstaff blacksmith Cathi Borthwick of Flag Forge? Yes, please!

click to enlarge Iconic Cocktail Co.’s Mini Mixer Packs can spruce up any at-home cocktail. - ICONIC COCKTAIL CO.
Iconic Cocktail Co.’s Mini Mixer Packs can spruce up any at-home cocktail.
Iconic Cocktail Co.

Drink and Be Merry

Cheers to drink companies dedicated to upping boozy and non-boozy sips.


Iconic Cocktail Co. Mini Mixer Packs ($40) add handcrafted flavor to your cocktails and mocktails. It’s like gifting your own personal mixologist.

Beer that smells like a slice of pecan pie? Sounds great. Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.'s Pecan Pie Brown Ale four-pack ($20) is brewed with Arizona-grown pecans. Pair it with the custom Pecan Pie Beer Soap ($12) by Siphon Draw Apothecary for major bonus points.

Shrubwell makes tart and fruity drink mixers by hand in Phoenix. With too many amazing flavors to choose from (think strawberry, basil, and peppercorn or grapefruit, sage, and hibiscus), make it easy on yourself and get the Mix & Match four-pack ($40).

LDV Winery’s 2015 Syrah paired with a stylish bag of Arizona pistachios ($78) really does say “I’m Nuts About You!” What’s more, the Scottsdale wine shop is offering its own gift guide accessible via the LDV catalog. Curated wine and gift baskets include the Que Sera, Syrah! ($60) and the Grenache Celebration ($115).

James Beard-honored mixologist Kim Haasaruds has recently launched Garden Bar — a delivery-based food and beverage concept. Just order over some cocktail kits (like the 5-Citrus Margarita for $49) and the Grazing Box #1 (award-winning cheeses, cured meats, and fruit for $45). Kits serve two to four people.

click to enlarge The Desert Provisions Wild Desert pantry box set. - DESERT PROVISIONS
The Desert Provisions Wild Desert pantry box set.
Desert Provisions

You're All Set

The best thing about gift sets: All the work is done for you.


We’re wild for this Wild Desert Pantry Box ($55) from Tucson-based Desert Provisions. The package contains Wild Chiltepins, Sonoran Sea Salt, and Pinon Vinegar, and it will wow any cook.

Rise and shine with this breakfast-in-bed sampler ($59) of Hayden Flour Mills White Sonora Pancake Mix, Cartel Coffee Lab beans, Zak’s Chocolate, maple syrup, and more.

It’s official: Wine is always a cool gift, especially when it’s made by a rock star living in Arizona. But this Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards wine gift set ($199) is so much more.

click to enlarge Mediterra Bakehouse's Chocolate Cherry Levain loaf. - MEDITERRA BAKEHOUSE
Mediterra Bakehouse's Chocolate Cherry Levain loaf.
Mediterra Bakehouse

See You at the Farmers’ Market

Way better than mall gifts, farmers’ market finds are true gems.


Joining Mediterra Bakehouse’s already stellar lineup of loaves the Chocolate Cherry Levain and Fig & Anise ($10 per loaf) is love at first sight (and bite) and an ideal addition to any holiday table.

Pasta just got oodles better thanks to Sonoran Pasta Co.’s roster of heritage and ancient grain pastas and sauces (prices vary). May we suggest the pappardelle paired with bolognese?

Breann and Ben Bowman of Simple Soda Co. in Mesa make a mean soda with real fruit juice. For instance, the Arizona Orange tastes like a real creamsicle. Available in four-packs and as singles ($3 a bottle), just keep ’em refrigerated till the big day.

click to enlarge Paige Poppe's "Saguaros Eclipse" tea towel. - PAIGE POPPE
Paige Poppe's "Saguaros Eclipse" tea towel.
Paige Poppe

When Art Meets Food

We don’t need Jeff Koons for food and art to mix, just these local creations.


The only downside to Scottsdale artist Paige Poppe's "Saguaros Eclipse" tea towel ($22) is ... it’s almost too gorgeous to use.

There’s a reason Phoenix-based ceramicist Miro Chun’s Instagram has 54,000 followers. Her handmade line, Miro Made This, is sublime and available for purchase (prices vary).

Phoenix Cooks: Recipes from the City’s Finest Chefs ($32) by Christina Barrueta is a beautifully photographed ode to the dishes, recipes, and chefs putting Phoenix on the food map.

click to enlarge Molé Caramel popcorn from [POPPED] Artisan Popcorn in Tucson. - [POPPED] ARTISAN POPCORN
Molé Caramel popcorn from [POPPED] Artisan Popcorn in Tucson.
[POPPED] Artisan Popcorn

Gifts That Keep on Giving

Think of these as the opposite of presents you never use again.


Not sure what the best thing about giving a monthly popcorn subscription from Tucson-based [POPPED] Artisan Popcorn ($99) is? The flavors (you had us at Molé Caramel) and the fact that’s it’s vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of preservatives are two.

Beans really are magic, especially when they arrive at your recipient’s door each month. Local roaster Press Coffee subscriptions ($42 for three months) make this easy.

Give the gift of pizza with a four-pack of Pizzeria Bianco’s wood-fired faves ($129) delivered to your door. They ship frozen with dry ice. Just bake for pizza bliss.

click to enlarge Novela Coffee Roasters' Bandera Blend is an easy get. - NOVELA COFFEE ROASTERS
Novela Coffee Roasters' Bandera Blend is an easy get.
Novela Coffee Roasters

Last Minute but Still Totally Thoughtful

To run into a store at the last minute for a rad gift is to be human.


Honey in a can is even better than wine in a box, and Tempe-based Crockett's Valley Honey Can ($12 at Whole Foods and Bashas') is 100 percent pure and naturally sourced from Arizona wildflowers.

You don’t have to find a store to snag Novela Coffee Roasters' signature Bandera Blend ($15). Delivery is free on local orders. Just say a special delivery is on the way.

Cider Corps Mango Foxtrot four-packs ($16 at AJ’s, Whole Foods, Total Wine, and the taproom) comes in cool cans with a cool story. The veteran-owned and operated business was built by Mesa brothers Jason and Josh Duren.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on November 16, 2020. It was updated on February 9, 2021.
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Allison Young has written about food, nutrition, and travel for Sunset, Women’s Health, Oxygen, Clean Eating, Mindbodygreen, and Prevention. Her local jam is food writing, where she happily eats her way across the Valley to discover the best hidden gems, hole-in-the-walls, pizza joints, and the latest Phoenix food trends. She also loves to pick Valley chef’s brains for their favorite food finds. On her website, TheGlitterList.com, she posts one thing she’s looking forward to each day, from food to books and podcasts.
Contact: Allison Young