Friday, December 13, 2013

D.C. Local Gift Sources

Two of my favorite places to buy gifts are right here in the D.C. area  - Artisan Confections and Under the Olive Tree.  Both shops are locally owned, small businesses with attention to detail and are the best in their fields.  I have given these presents as hostess gifts and thank you gifts and there has never been any disappointment!  I also like to give these as gifts to people who, er, have "way more means" than myself because I find it so hard to find presents for people who can buy anything they want for themselves.  This is a way for me to give the best quality gift I can afford that these people will enjoy.

Artisan Confections is located in the Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington and at the Mosiac shopping center in Fairfax.  They sell the-MOST-delicious-melt-in-your-mouth-decadent bon bons.  Their flavors range from traditional (vanilla bean) to exotic (apricot-cardamom).  My personal favorite is the mint, which tastes like fresh mint rather than York patty.  If chocolate bon bons ain't your thang (who are you? how do you live?), they also have crispy peanut butter bars, caramel marshmallow bar, soft caramels, and hot cocoa mix.

15 Piece Box
Image Source: Artisan Confections
If you live nearby, Artisan Confections also has premium chocolate you can buy by the pound for baking; and occasionally, the shop will have made from scratch brownies using their premium chocolate.  Everything is made at the Clarendon location in small batches and there are no preservatives or fillers in these actually have to eat them within two weeks of their make date.  Artisan Confections will ship, but orders must be placed by 12/18 to arrive before 12/25 (703-524-0007).

My other favorite place to purchase food gifts is the Under the Olive Tree store in Tyson's Corner shopping mall.  This store is run by a wonderful family who are super friendly and really passionate about their products - mainly high end premium extra virgin olive oil and vinegars.  One of the daughters has become the second certified olive oil taster in the U.S. (similar to how a sommelier is for wine) and another is working on becoming a chef.
Image Source: Under the Olive Tree

I use their products all the time when I cook.  My favorite vinegars are the apricot and the blackberry balsamic and you can't go wrong with the blood orange olive oil.  These are so delicious!  If you need a bit more excitement with your cooking try out the coffee or chocolate vinegar.  My other go-to item at Under the Olive Tree is the black truffle sea salt.  I put it on popcorn and mashed potatoes aaaaaaaaall the time.  The product quality is higher than all the other olive oil stores and certainly better than what you will find in the supermarket.  The family takes great pride in their store and their olive oil is regularly lab-tested for freshness so you know you are getting a great product.  If you need recipe ideas, check out their Facebook page...I've been lucky enough to try several of their recipes at a tasting event at the store and they did not disappoint!  Under the Olive Tree will also ship, give them a call at 703-356-8880.

Got any local small business shops in your area?  Let us know if they have great gifts and are willing to ship!