If you’ve ever participated in a white elephant gift exchange, you know that the best gift is the one that’s the most “stolen.” Played with other participants – be it family members, friends or co-workers – this holiday game can play out several ways.
A little background: The game gets its name from the term “white elephant” – referring to something of limited value that could have value to others. This often results in “gag” gifts, which can be fun, but participants often walk away with something they don’t want or need.
To put a fun spin on this holiday tradition, give the game a foodie twist by asking participants to choose shelf-stable gifts that can be consumed or used in the kitchen but don’t need to be refrigerated until opened – like wine, pepper jellies, hot sauces or wine, beer, cider or mead.
Here are some of our favorite gifts to give when you don’t know who the recipient is:
Pepper jellies add sweet heat to just about anything – think cheese, meats and appetizers. Most come in glass jars to show off their jewel-like colors, making them the perfect gift. Best of all, many of them are made right here in Oregon.
Rose City Pepperheads award-winning jellies come in 30 flavors and are handcrafted with organically grown hot peppers and other locally grown ingredients in Portland. They make an excellent glaze for meats and make bagels with cream cheese sing!
Aloha from Oregon in Eugene creates an assortment of delicious pepper jellies, as well as chutneys and butters. The subtle flavors of fruits and berries are blended with the heat of jalapeños, habaneros or Thai peppers for a sweet-tart taste.
Kelly’s Jelly’s took home the coveted Good Food Award in 2016 for their small-batch jellies. These sweet-hot delights are made in Portland with natural, Non-GMO, gluten-free ingredients and are based on a family recipe. They’re amazing with blue or triple-crème cheeses and crackers.
In our grocery aisles, you’ll discover an endless selection of hot sauces, which are heating up the food scene, thanks to food trucks and fusion restaurants.
Secret Ardvark creates Caribbean/Tex-mex fusion sauces, featuring habaneros, roasted tomato, mustard, carrots and onions. White wine vinegar gives it a unique tang. It’s great on chicken wings or pizza, and it’s made in Portland.
Marshall’s Haute Sauces are created in Portland with locally sourced vegetables, as well as vinegar, spices and sometimes sugar or local honey. Each bottle is hand-stamped with a batch number and enjoy-by date to ensure its freshness.
NW Elixirs, based in Sherwood, Oregon, makes spicy cooking sauces that have the potential to turn any meal into a culinary experience. They’re great for cooking, grilling, baking, marinating or using as a finishing sauce. And, they come in cool-looking bottles, making them a great gift.
Wine, beer, cider or mead
At your Market Wine & Beer Shop, you’ll find a wide variety to choose from – here are some local picks that make fantastic presents!
Johan Jazzy Juice is blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris is bright with strawberry, cherry, raspberry and a hint of spice and is made with biodynamic fruit grown in Oregon’s Van Duzer Corridor.
Ecliptic Brewing produces world-class craft beer in Portland, led by beloved brewer John Harris – known for his success at McMenamins, Deschutes, Full Sail and his current celestial venture. Whether you’re giving a flagship beer or something from the seasonal series, you can’t go wrong.
Tumalo Pomegranate Pear Cider has a lively spritzness. Bosc pear, pear blossom and prominent pomegranate make it crisp and refreshing. Rooted in Central Oregon, Tumalo is an eco-friendly cidery, based in Bend, Oregon.
Author Marionberry Mead is crisp and carbonated with bold, full-bodied marionberry flavor and a smooth finish, made in Vancouver, Washington.
Non-alcoholic spirits or shrubs
Distilled, unique and complex, Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits blends that can be served with tonic or mixed to create sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails. Along those same lines, Lola’s Fruit Shrubs are handcrafted in Eugene with live raw vinegar, fresh herbs and fruit sourced from the Columbia River Gorge and Willamette Valley. They mix well with spirits, soda and carbonated water for cocktails and mocktails – a great gift for drinkers and non-drinkers, alike!
Home & gift items
In addition to food and beverages, you’ll find an array of kitchen gadgets and tools, cookware, bakeware, and other items, from practical to whimsical, that make cooking fun and easy at your Market Home & Gift department.