Wedding season may finally be winding down, but the holidays are coming up quick. Somehow, Thanksgiving is next month, and December is just 2 months away. As a foodie, it’s a given that food is my favorite thing, both to receive and to give. But how do you give the essence of such a great city like Portland? Most people aren’t here all the time, but the consensus seems to be that people love it (duh!) My new favorite thing to do is give people a taste of Portland.
Depending on your budget, you can fill a gift bag (or basket) with all of the things that you love most about Portland. This is what I put in mine for a wedding I recently attended.
Lost Woods Hot Sauce: This hot sauce takes on mythical proportions in my house, since I gave it to my boyfriend as part of a Valentine’s day gift last year and we became hooked. It’s hot, smooth and has just enough heat that you can put it on almost anything. This is hot sauce that the Great Lost Bear always has on hand and comes highly recommended!
Maine Maple Syrup:
Let’s face it, Maine is known for a lot of things, maple syrup especially! Not everyone is lucky enough to have it with their pancakes or waffles. I can tell you it was a real treat in my house when I was a kid, because my mom almost never bought it. Just get them a small bottle to sample the golden goodness that is Maine maple syrup.
If you’re giving this gift immediately, you can stop by East End Cupcakes and get a few cupcakes for your gift bag! These are a treasure of Portland to locals and tourists alike, and a great way to treat your sweet tooth. My favorite: Red Velvet hands down.
Hello people, we’re in the height of Maine Apple season! This means that apple picking is happening constantly, and I love it. If you have apples left over from your frequent forays into the orchards, add a few fresh Maine apples to the gift bag.
Two Fat Cats:
You can almost sum up Maine in two words: Whoopie Pies. And in Portland, a delicious option is a whoopie pie from Two Fat Cats. If you’re lucky, pick up a few Pumpkin whoopie pies and save one for yourself!
No gift is complete without chocolate, and Dean’s Sweets has the best chocolate in this town, hands down. A fun way to add chocolate is to put a few individual flavors into a gift box, so they can sample the best that Dean’s has to offer.
Not a cupcake, whoopie pie or chocolate truffle fan? How about pastries or the chocolate bomb from Foley’s? Obviously, with perishable goods, make sure they make it in the bag last, but oh! Pastries and desserts are some of my favorite things about the food in Portland (besides lobster, of course). You could also indulge in brownies, seasonal cookies, or a cake if you really want to show them you care!
Assuming you aren’t giving this gift to someone under the age of 21, Allagash White is my favorite beer, and it’s local. We are in the midst of a beer renaissance in Portland, and Allagash White is crisp, slightly fruity and great for beer novices and connoisseurs alike.
Maine Mead Works:
Not a beer drinker? Maine Mead Works is a Portland favorite because they get mead. From iced tea infusions to Cranberry, Raspberry, Strawberry, and more, there’s plenty of mead to go around there. The Original or Cranberry is great for this season!
Coastal Maine Popcorn:
After all the sweets in this bag, the person receiving it is going to need some popcorn! Coastal Maine Popcorn is unique to Maine, and their Portland location makes snacking easy, since you can try 2 flavors before you buy. From S’mores, Buffalo Chicken and Caramel Apple to Glazed Pumpkin Dounut, there’s no shortage of flavors to choose from! Get a large bag or a few small ones in different flavors and let the feasting begin!
Are there any Portland favorites that you’d give as a gift? Let me know!