Fancy butter, burritos, miso soup balls: Shop local for holiday gifts

By Evan Kleiman

Luxurious Dan Dan sauce from Chinese Laundry comes in beautiful and thoughtful packaging. Photo courtesy of Chinese Laundry.

If we’re going to shop until we drop, we may as well leave our money in our own community. The last two-and-a-half years have been no walk in the park for people in the food business and farmers. Gift-giving season is a great way to remind yourself of the bounty of great products and people in Southern California. Here are some ideas for the people on your list. 

Farmers markets

Go to a farmers market and shop. Not for veggies and fruits this time, but the items that have a good shelf life that you can send to friends who don’t have our sunshine this time of year. There are nuts, raisins, dates, jams, and honey of all kinds. 

Fall into a vat of artisanal butter possibilities from Le Beurre Bordier at Epicurus Gourmet. Photo courtesy of Epicurus Gourmet.


If you don’t know what you’re looking for, these are great places to browse. Make a list of who you want to buy for before you go or you’ll run amok.

-Cookbook offers tabletop gifts. 

Now Serving
-Now Serving offers cookbooks, tools, and tabletop gifts. 

-Surfas offers unique food items and tools for the serious cook. Get a selection of tinned fish.

Epicurus Gourmet
-Epicurus Gourmet offers unique food items for the one who loves to entertain. Bordier Butters are wonderful gifts. Also add a fantastic loaf of bread from your favorite bakery.

Monsieur Marcel
-Monsieur Marcel offers unique food items in beautiful packaging. Put a pasta and sauce basket together.

Truly unique syrups tell the American story with nuance and deliciousness. Photo courtesy of Ghetto Gastro.


Chikara Mochi
-Get beautiful and tasty rice-based sweets.

Chinese Laundry Dan Dan Sauce
-Get delicious sauce in gorgeous and thoughtful packaging.

Omiso Soup Balls
-Get delicious and beautiful instant miso soup balls in festive packaging.

Monastery of the Angels pumpkin bread
-Buy from an old-school LA tradition.

SouthLA Cafe
-Buy coffee beans from people making a difference in their community.

Holbox Hot Sauce Set
-Get "Kut" habanero, Habanero, Salsa Macha, Arbol-Guajillo, and Morita from the famed seafood stand at Mercado Paloma.

Burritos La Palma
-Get a box of frozen burritos, the most LA of gifts. They ship.

Guelaguetza Mole
-Get high-quality, ready-to-use moles from the famous Oaxacan restaurant.

Ghetto Gastro syrups
-The only non-local on this list but I love what they’re doing. I’ve never seen syrups like these. Syrups with a story made from a blend of maple, sorghum, and apple cider syrups.