The holiday season is in full swing, with Hanukkah beginning on Sunday and Christmas a matter of days away – did it sneak up on anyone else? Just us?

If you’re anything like us, you likely leave gift-giving until the last minute. But we’ve got you in a pinch. We have the ultimate Local Foods Gift Guide prepped and ready (at the last minute) for all of our (equally last minute) shoppers. A guide for anyone that loves to cook (or eat!), loves to drink, has an incurable sweet tooth, or is absolutely obsessed with the Windy City’s food scene (and the fantastic vendors behind it!). Let us help guide you, with a little sampling of some of our favorite products here at the market.

And if, after all of this, you still don’t know what to gift your loved one – we have the answer, and it comes in the form of of an E-Gift Card. Yep, it’s that simple.

For Those 312 Foodies

Second City who? We are the First City when it comes to the fantastic flavors that Chicago vendors put out into the world, specifically within the condiments & sauce game. Give your loved one a real taste of the Windy City, with J.P. Graziano’s spicy, crunchy, and acidic Hot Giardiniera or That Pickle Guy’s famous Olive Muffalata. Dress your classic Chicago dog the correct way, with Big Fork’s Chicago Sauce, which combines all 7 toppings that belong on a Chicago dog (don’t ask questions) in one glass jar.  Journey into the world of lacto-fermented goods with Vargo Brothers – shop their Whole Grain Hot Mustard along with the entire selection here. Or enjoy the flavor bomb that is CO>OP’s Peachy Piri Sauce, made with Michigan peaches and chili peppers grown by Chicago’s very own SkyArt Youth.

Chicago Beer Lovers, Unite

Chicago is home to an astounding number of breweries, many of which are nationally recognized. And at Local Foods, we like to stay constantly stocked up on all the best brews in town. Come by and peruse our (multiple) beer fridges – we are chock full of holiday and seasonal bevs as well. To help you on your quest, we recommend checking out some classics: Marz, Pipeworks, Middle Brow (known for their more experimental beer), and Off Color.

For The Unofficial Sommelier of the Friend Group

A wine for any season, celebration, or occasion. If you’re looking for a holiday-inspired bottle, we recommend this merlot from Santome or this Lambrusco by Cantina Della Pioppa. If you’re looking for something bubbly, we absolutely adore Isc’s Demi Sec Sparkling Rose. And for something a bit different and refreshing, try out Marco Barba’s Gambellara Barbabianca or Flora’s Rosato (as tasty as it is gorgeous).

And if you need help deciding, don’t hesitate to reach out to our cheesemonger Mickey, who has a very keen eye for wine.

And What is Wine Without Snacks?

We couldn’t do a gift guide without showing off some of our Butcher & Larder house-made charcuterie, or our excellent and rather large assortment of cheese, right? Go ahead and peruse our charcuterie section now – everything is cut & cured in house by our incredible team of butchers. Care to add some cheese to that charcuterie? The majority of our cheese comes from local creameries – the best of the Midwest!

Stocking Stuffers for the Grownups

The ultimate stocking stuffers – these 200 ml bottles are what everyone wants to discover on Christmas morning. Go for a Local Foods x Billy Sunday Old Fashioned collaboration, or perhaps you prefer a Manhattan? For some familiar flavors with a unique twist, Blue Blazer’s Japanese-style Negroni cannot be missed. And our friends at Cellar Door make some Cocktail Cherries (and other berry assortments) that are sure to rock your Christmas afternoon.

… What Everyone Really Wants

To be quite honest, when asked what they really wanted for the holidays, many of our staff members pointed to these two gorgeous bottles. La Gritona’s Tequila Resposado is distilled and bottled in Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico, where all of the agave used has grown in the iron-rich red soil of the local Jalisco highlands. And the Tobala Mezcal by The Lost Explorer is made with 100% agave, full of smoky, umami flavors, and hints of leather and vanilla.

I Scream, You Scream, We All– Okay, you get it. It’s ice cream.

Hear us out – Yes, it’s winter in Chicago and next week we are dropping to single digits temperatures. But here’s the thing – Chicago vendors have so beautifully mastered the art of ice cream making that Chicagoans crave it, even in the dead of winter. And we think that’s something worth celebrating. Want ice cream in bar form? Pretty Cool has you covered. Ice cream in cookie form? You’re a Cookie, obviously. Choose from some Chicago cream staples, such as Zarlengo or Jeni’s, or even mix it up a bit with some unique, Asian-inspired flavors from Kurimu.

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