Special of the Day~ Festive Foodie Gifts

Crooked Tree cookie box

30 Nov Special of the Day~ Festive Foodie Gifts

Sydne George Special of the Day

How fortunate we are in Great Falls to have the downtown destinations we do for the food enthusiast in all of us, especially this time of year when we are making a list, checking it twice and securing gifts for everyone who has been extra nice.

Supporting small businesses in your town is the way to go when it comes to Christmas shopping, and it’s easy to do with so many options right here in Great Falls. Make a list, map it out and plan for a fun day of local shopping. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Having heard from a few of our favorite elves, we here at Special of the Day are prepared to whet your shopping appetite with some enticing ideas for festive gifts for all of the foodies on your list.

On your way downtown, stop in at Hempl’s Bakery at 16 6th Street SW, where they are baking up fresh loaves of Stollen, a German yeast bread with candied cherries and pineapple formed in a tree shape, coated with white butter icing and decorated with more candied fruit, perfect for presenting as a happy hostess gift, bringing to a holiday brunch or sharing as a special treat at the office.

Hempl’s Bakery is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All our their holiday goodies can be seen on their Facebook page.

After Hempl’s, steer your sleigh to Candy Masterpiece, located at 120 Central Avenue, to pick up decadent Peppermint Stick Truffles, or a box of creamy, delicious fudge in Gingersnap, Pumpkin, Rum Raisin, Eggnog, Peppermint Stick or 50 other fun flavors. The sweet tooth on your list would surely enjoy the Snappers which are kicked up rice krispie treats covered in caramel and dipped in chocolate, lovingly hand made in the store. They also have local artisan pottery mugs made by Lisa Botti and filled with candy.

Candy Masterpiece’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. They will be open December 4th for the stroll from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Sunday December 13th and Sunday, December 20th 11-4 for those who are busy and working. They will also be open on Christmas Eve from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the last minute stocking stuffer shoppers.

Pop in to Wines by Wednesday at 214 5th Street South to pick up a selection of artisan meats and cheeses from around the world (and shipped in weekly) to serve at home or to give to the gourmet on your list. Owner Mark Tronson says their 25 year aged balsamic vinegar sells like crazy this time of year, along with their infused olive oils.

Enjoy a beautiful breakfast at Wines by Wednesday Friday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. before setting out to shop downtown or take a mid-day break and enjoy lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tapas are served in the evening until close – 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, as well.

Their new chef, Chef Sara, who has a Johnson and Wales Culinary Arts Degree and worked under a 3 star Michelin Chef at the Blue Duck Tavern in Washington D.C. is also doing catering now. She can do beautiful presentations to impress your friends. Contact Wines by Wednesday at 761-9463 for more information.

Crooked Tree cookie box

Crooked Tree cookie box

Make Crooked Tree Coffee and Cakes at 501 1st Avenue North your holiday headquarters for baked goods, picking and choosing from freshly baked assortments of shortbread, gingersnaps, snickerdoodles and sugar cookies filling tins priced at $15 and $20, mini fruitcake loaves packed full of dates, figs, apricots, raisins, currants, nuts, and candied cherries, selling for $7 each, cakes and cupcakes decorated for the holidays and macarons in festive flavors of egg nog, peppermint mocha, hot cocoa, and cinnamon spice.

Pick up some fun gadgets for the cook and entertainer on your list at Pizazz, 403 Central Avenue, including the Spiralizer that cuts vegetables and fruits quickly and easily creating wide ribbons, round chips and long spaghetti-like strands, the Nordic Ware Limited Edition Elegant Party Bundt Pan and the Whiskey Wedge. Pizazz is open Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10:00-5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Schedule a well-deserved lunch break in your downtown shopping day and enjoy good times and great food at Bert and Ernie’s, 300 1st Avenue South.

Plan to treat yourself for a night out on the town at the Sip N Dip, 7th Street and 1st Avenue South, over the holidays, a fun place to take out of town guests. Where else can you enjoy the music of Piano Pat, share a Fish Bowl with friends and watch mermaids splashing about in the drink?

Mermaids will be in the pool Tuesday through Thursday, 8:00 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Piano Pat is here Wednesday through Friday , 9:00 p.m. ish to 11:00 p.m. ish.  There will be no mermaids or Piano Pat on Christmas Eve, Christmas or New Year’s Day.  The lounge itself is closed on Christmas and New Year’s.  The mermaids will start their evenings off in special holiday tails that they only wear during the holiday season!

Splurge for someone really special and spring for a staycation at the beautifully-appointed Arvon Hotel, 118 1st Avenue South where guests can check in, enjoy a delicious dinner and drinks at the Celtic Cowboy and crash after an enjoyable day of shopping downtown.

Get downtown and get shopping with this week’s Special of the Day~ Festive Foodie Gifts.

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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