I don’t like to play favourites, but there are some Arkansas-made food gifts I absolutely adore. These packages of love sometimes come to my doorway thanks to the lovely friends I have… and sometimes they come to my door because I couldn’t wait and ordered them myself!
Here are the ten Arkansas food gifts I enjoy receiving the most.
Chocolate covered orange peels from Martin Greer’s Candies. I love the heritage chocolate that the Greer family makes, and utilizing it to enrobe slices of candied orange peel is about the best thing I can think to do with either one.
You can get them in the store or you can call the shop itself and have an order made – the website covers just about everything else, including different chocolate and nut barks (better than candy bars!), pralines, brittle and such. Incredible.
Bread-of-the-Month from Neighbour’s Mill. The Harrison bakery is always a must-stop on any trip to that section of northern Arkansas… and for good reason. There’s always a loaf calling my name, whether it’s blueberry pecan sweet bread, four cheese rotel bread or Woodstock.
For a while, I was on the Bread-of-the-Month plan, and there were so many fantastic goodies that came to my door, including sourdough, cheesy garlic bread and this marvelous choice – cranberry pecan sweet bread – for Christmas. Sign me up for this, and you have a fan for life.
A smoked Peking duck from Burge’s. The smoked turkeys from Burge’s are wonderful, but this is an extra special treat – a dark meat bird with lots of incredible flavour. This bird was meant for the Burge’s smoking treatment. Ho buddy.
Pastrami from Petit Jean Meats. You know how some places have a secret menu? Petit Jean Meats doesn’t promote this peppered beef all that much, but you can find it on the website and boy, isn’t it wonderful?
A nice smoke and pepper flavour goes great on a toasted bun with a little mayo and a thick slice of tomato. You owe it to yourself to try this one.
Bear Kingdom Vineyards Cherub’s Rapture jam. I don’t know how Dennis Kolb managed to come up with this one, but it’s perfect – raspberry jam with just the right touch of cinnamon. It’s addictive, and once you’ve had it, you’re going to have a hard time going back to anything else.
Blue cornmeal pancake mix from War Eagle Mill. Organic? Check. Tasty? Check. Blue? Yeah! This lovely concoction is hearty and makes a nicely pourable, won’t-fall-apart-on-the-spatula pancake that’s the perfect combination with real maple syrup or cinnamon butter.
I just found out there’s a Goodies-of-the-Month plan at War Eagle Mill. I may just have to get on that!
Pretzel Explosion from Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory. Milk chocolate bark with pretzels, caramel, peanut butter and dark chocolate? Ridiculously edible. This won’t last long around anyone.
Robbi’s Salsa from Eggshells Kitchen Company. There may not be many around who recall the old JF’s on Old Forge Road. It had a salsa that it stopped making when it closed (well, yeah!) but this is the absolute closest thing to it.
Robbi’s doesn’t have a storefront to sell from, but Eggshells Kitchen Company in the Heights does offer it and a whole lot of other Arkansas products, too.
The Master Gift Set from Riceland Foods. We eat a LOT of rice in my family, and this set has it all — Extra Long Grain Rice, Gold Parboiled Long Grain Rice, Plump and Tender Medium Grain Rice and Long Grain and Wild Rice, too – as well as several different seasoned rice mixes. It may seem like a whole lot of rice (which it is), but it goes quick!
Orange Dream Macarons from MaryClare Macarons. I keep these in the freezer and have one when I’m really wanting something sweet right then. I should put them out on the table as a nice hostess when I have guests, but they never make it that far because I want them all for myself. Which is okay, right?