Friday may be the day to snag the deals at the big box stores, but I’m all about Small Business Saturday (November 24). I can Amazon Prime like the best of them, but when it comes to gifts, I love to shop locally. I believe in supporting small businesses, especially at a time when you’re buying gifts for everyone and their mother. So without any further ado, here is your Gulf Coast Gift Guide: a few of my favorite items to be purchased all along the Gulf Coast.
First up on the Gulf Coast Gift Guide is the Oyster Bed. Did you know the Gulf of Mexico yields 70% of oysters harvested in the United States? The Oyster Bed, the brainchild of Tommy and Adam Waller of Louisiana, is a unique way to cook delicious seafood and help the coast. Oyster reefs take a few years to be viable, so they need all the help they can get. The Waller brothers figured out a way to encourage cooks and restaurants to consume pre-shucked oysters so that the oystermen can return the shells to their rightful place: the reef. Although it can be used for all sorts of things, (ahem, deviled eggs) the oyster bed is best suited for cradling a dozen oysters Rockefeller on a screaming hot grill. It’s the perfect gift for the seafood lovers on your list.
Edible Lower Alabama Magazine
I will admit, I’m a little biased on this one (see my most recent articles in the fall issue). But that doesn’t make it any less wonderful. Gift a subscription to Edible Lower Alabama to the food-obsessed Alabamian on your list. Thanks to Editor-in-Chief Alyson Sheppard, each publication is more stunning than the last. From the unearthing of Rosa Parks’s pancake recipe to what to do if you find yourself with 36 hours to kill on Lake Martin, it’s all within the pages of ELA.
ELM Design has been creating gold-leafed glassware for over ten years. Eileen Morrisson, the creator of this lovely stemware, is based in Long Beach, Mississippi, but ELM Design items are available at retailers all throughout the Gulf Coast. You can find it in Mobile at Atchison Home and Zundels. Eileen Morrisson’s copper, silver, and gold-accented glasses are so stunning, they caught the attention of Chivas Regal, which used them in an advertising campaign for their Chivas XV.
Domke Market, a wine shop in West Mobile, is in the gifting spirit all year. A membership to their monthly Wine and Cheese Club would make a fantastic gift for any gourmand. The membership comes with two bottles of wine, cheese pairing, fun “pick-up” party, free wine tote, and discounts on in-house food, as well. Priced from $35 to $120 per month, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, the whole year through!
Haint Blue Brewing Company
Haint Blue’s Ice House just celebrated its long-awaited opening this fall. For the beer lovers on your list, grab a t-shirt, glassware, or a handblown glass ornament. Take a six-pack of their bottled Marianne, a saffron saison, or a howler (Haint Blue’s version of a growler) full of one of their well-balanced IPAs to a friend’s Christmas party as a host/ess gift.
Bienville Bites Food Tour
Two Mobile residents, Chris and Laney Andrews, of Bienville Bites Food Tours, have a unique and tasty way of showing some of the best of what downtown Mobile has to offer to tourists and locals alike in their food tour. The three hours of this Bienville Bites Food Tour passed like minutes in the stroll down Dauphin, as we listened to Chris tell fascinating stories of the history of our fair city and its most famous dishes. Know a food lover in the Mobile area? Purchase a gift certificate for them to Bienville Bites Food Tour.