July 24, 2024


Free For All Food

Food lover’s holiday gift guide for Tacoma, Pierce County

Food lover’s holiday gift guide for Tacoma, Pierce County


Johnson Candy Co., anchoring Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood since 1925, debuted its online shop in the fall of 2020.


If you want to support local this holiday season, this guide is for you and all your food-loving friends and family.

Early on in the pandemic, when the food supply chain upended, average people started Googling “butcher shops near me” and “farmers markets” and “local grocery delivery.”

Local businesses nationwide that have managed, thus far, to weather the dreadful torrent of 2020 have felt the love. The support pays dividends beyond the small business itself: For every $100 spent locally, about $50 stays in the community, compared to less than $15 at a big-box store or restaurant, according to the Small Business Administration.

There has been no better year to stay local and shop local, whether masked and in-person or online and comfortably from the couch.

We’re all getting to know our own homes way more intimately than perhaps we imagined was possible (or desirable). We’re cooking, sometimes happily, sometimes begrudgingly. We’re learning new skills. We’re creating a lot of trash. Here you’ll find food-oriented and food-adjacent gifts for all of these wonders and conundrums.


Séka Hills – Oil & Vinegar (at Adorned Abode)

$18 each, adornedabode.net

Sourced from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in northern California, the medium-bodied, estate-grown Arebequina olive oil is one of many indigenous products now available at the lovely Adorned Abode shop in downtown Tacoma. Pair with a bottle of Italian balsamic vinegar infused with California elderberries for a complete set.

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Sound Foods focuses on pantry products that upgrade any home-cooked meal. Sound Foods Courtesy

Sound Foods – Romesco & Salsa Verde

$14, soundfoodssupply.com

This Puget Sound-based company creates “pantry staples” ideal for quickly enhancing home-cooked meals. Each gift box comes with two 9-ounce jars: one Verde Mexicana made with tomatillos, pasilla and poblano peppers, and one Romesco, a smoky red pepper and almond classic of northern Spain.

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Splat Hot Sauce ferments heirloom peppers to create some darn addictive hot stuff. Splat Hot Sauce Courtesy

Splat Hot Sauce – Golden Cayenne

$11, splathotsauce.com

Baced in Lacey, Splat sources heirloom peppers from local farms and ferments them to create addictive probiotic hot sauces. This bright yellow one, made with a South American varietal, pairs with everything, especially as added spice for Cajun and Southern dishes.

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Based on Oregon’s coast, Jacobsen Salt Co.’s infused salts provide a flavor punch in one little jar, available at Compass Rose in Tacoma’s Proctor District. Jacobsen Salt Co. Courtesy

Jacobsen Salt Co. – Black Garlic, Habanero & Rosemary Sea Salt (at Compass Rose)

$12.95 each, compassroseshop.com

Sourced from Netarts Bay, Oregon, these infused sea salts make haute cooking at home a breeze. Compass Rose stocks an impressive array of kitchen gadgets and accouterments, from an avocado spatula to Le Creuset cookware, cute aprons to cocktail shakers and, for the holidays, food-themed ornaments like a bottle of ranch dressing.

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Trove Provisions in Puyallup, Wash., stocks bulk spices and loose-leaf teas. Trove Provisions Courtesy

Trove Provisions – Chinese Five Spice, Taco & Fajita, Herbes de Provence spice blends

$6.95-$11 per jar, troveprovisions.com

Trove Provisions opened in early 2020 with a dizzying array of spices and tea in bulk and jar formats. This starting trio covers so many bases, whether grilling skirt steak for fajitas or trying your hand at any number of Asian dishes. The herb medley is a must-have for sprinkling on salads, potatoes and chicken.

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These reusable, machine-washable cloths can help trim paper towel usage, available alongside a plethora of zero-waste home products from Tacoma-based A Drop in the Ocean. A Drop in the Ocean Shop Courtesy

A Drop in the Ocean – Swedish Dishcloth, The PNW Collection

$19.50, adropintheoceanshop.com

Spending more time at home means we’re creating way more waste for our own trash bins. Help your food lover nix the paper towels with these reusable cotton-cellulose towels decked out with Pacific Northwest scenes. They can be cleaned and sanitized in the dishwasher or laundry machine. Order online for local delivery.

Jack’s BBQ – BBQ 101 online class

$39, jacksbbq.com

Fresh off the opening of its Algona restaurant, Jack’s BBQ is offering virtual barbecue classes to learn everything a wannabe pitmaster needs to know about smoking meat at home. Select a January, February or March date.


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Tacoma’s roasting stalwarts at Bluebeard Coffee have jumped into the instant coffee game. These packets should please coffee travelers and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Bluebeard Coffee Courtesy

Instant Bluebeard Coffee – El Capitán

$15, bluebeardcoffee.com

Tacoma’s coffee roasting stalwart diving into the instant coffee game means the trend is real. Ideal for campers or someone obsessed with Dalgona coffee — an inside-out cappuccino with a frothy coffee top — this 6-pack of 5-ounce grounds is also suitable for shaking up some coffee cocktails at home.

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Roasting in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, Manifesto releases its first-ever holiday blend. Manifesto Coffee Courtesy

Manifesto Coffee – Holiday Blend

$16, manifestocoffeeroasters.com

Hilltop’s roaster, which wholesales its beans at a limited selection of cafes and restaurants in Tacoma and Seattle, has released its first-ever holiday blend. Give your coffee aficionados a first taste of this new edition.

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Bite Me, Inc.’s cookie dough batches can be shipped fresh throughout western Washington. Bite Me, Inc. Courtesy

Bite Me, Inc. – Bake-at-home cookie dough balls

$20, bitemeinc.cc

For the non-bakers everywhere, Deborah Tuggle has fully-baked cookies and cookie dough ready for the oven at your gift recipient’s leisure. Each batch makes six 5-ounce cookies. Choose with nuts, without, or a combination of both.

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The Art of Crunch crafts biscotti in classic and seasonal flavors from a commissary kitchen in Tacoma, Wash. The Art of Crunch Courtesy

The Art of Crunch – Biscotti

$22-$33, theartofcrunch.com

Rhonda Hamlin sells her uniquely flavored biscotti to cafes around town (including at T Town Apparel, where you can also pick up some Tacoma-themed garb), but for gift orders, head directly to her Etsy page for a selection of curated assortments. Build your own with flavors ranging from orange almond with dark chocolate, lavender caramel with white chocolate, or the most recent addition of tiramisu.

Johnson Candy Co. – Assorted Chocolates

$19, johnsoncandyco.com

A box of assorted chocolates is a no-brainer holiday (or anytime) gift with a classic mix of dark and milk chocolate creams, caramels, truffles and nut clusters, including a sugar-free option. The vegan assortment features only dark chocolate with nuts and candied fruits. The best part? You can now order online and have it shipped directly from this nearly 100-year-old Hilltop stalwart.


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Three Magnets Brewing in Olympia started Porch Drops during the pandemic as a homegrown home delivery company. Porch Drops by Three Magnets Courtesy

Porch Drops – The Uncommons, case of PNW beer

$79.99, porchdrops.com

Spun from the minds behind Three Magnets Brewing in Olympia, Porch Drops is a new kind of beer delivery service. Each case contains six 4-packs of regional brews, but for your pal who tries a new beer every day, this one features a handful of harder-to-find selections. Ship anywhere in Washington state for a flat $10 fee. If you don’t know the recipient’s style, get a digital gift card and let them choose what and when to order a case.

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Heritage Distilling Co. is best known for its Brown Sugar Bourbon, but the family’s Norwegian roots mean the aquavit is also a great buy. It’s also an ideal holiday spirit. Trevor Murphy Heritage Distilling Company

Heritage Distilling Co. – Bestemor’s Besties Aquavit gift set

$40, heritagedistilling.com

An underappreciated spirit, this Scandinavian-style aquavit — ripe with caraway, dill and orange peel — blends nicely with most everything that gin does and can often sub for vodka or whiskey in cocktails. Add a bloody mary mix to encourage that delicious application. This “kit” comes with two die-cut wood ornaments (a little fox and house) in homage to the company’s Norwegian family roots.

Amitie Wine Company – Wine Club Membership

$30-$180, amitiewine.com

Let Amitie’s pros, Kris Blondin and Jack Noble give the gift of good wine. A great value, the Everyday Drinking series allows you, the gift-giver, to set up your recipient with six months of two bottles each for $180 (or $90 for three months). You pay for it, and the shop will handle contacting and arranging pickup with your lucky guest.

Kristine Sherred joined The News Tribune in December 2019, following a decade in Chicago where she worked for restaurants, a liquor wholesaler and a culinary bookstore. She previously covered the food business for Industry Dive and William Reed. Find her on Instagram @kcsherred and Twitter @kriscarasher.