Instead of spending your money on big corporations this holiday season, give back to your Bay Area community by shopping from these local artists and creators. From liquor to chocolates to self-care and books, there’s something for everyone in this gift guide that prioritizes small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Food and Drink
Endless West, a Dogpatch-based distillery, is creating the world’s first molecular whiskey — whiskey that’s made in just a single night. Unlike other whiskeys that might spend years in a barrel, Glyph Whiskey doesn’t need a traditional process to get its flavor. Instead, the creators over at Endless West take molecules from plants and yeast to craft its liquor, yielding notes of vanilla, hazelnuts, or black fruit. In blind tasting contests, Glyph has taken home quite a few medals, including silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and from the Wines & Spirits Wholesalers of America earlier this year. You can find Glyph at 45 bars or liquor stores in San Francisco, or purchase a bottle online for $40.
To find Glyph at a local store: www.endlesswest.com
To purchase Glyph online: www.blackwellswines.com
Caramel Caravan Co.
You might have seen Caramel Caravan Co.’s renovated 1957 CalCraft vintage trailer around the Bay Area. Dubbed “Lucille” or “Lucy,” the two-tone trailer supplies a bevy of sweet treats for lucky passersby. If you’d like to bring some of the joy home for your loved ones, Caramel Caravan Co. sells $18 10-piece holiday caramel gift boxes filled with peppermint, pumpkin, sea salt, dark chocolate, and marshmallow flavored candy. You can also buy the $32 20-piece box, if 10 pieces doesn’t feel like enough. Each piece is handmade from Bay Area ingredients (Clover cream and Gilt Edge butter) in a copper kettle.
To purchase from Caramel Caravan Co. online: www.caramelcaravan.com
SoMa’s Sôcôla Chocolatier has a very specific way of tasting chocolate, if you can resist the temptation to drop the whole thing in your mouth all in one go: First, bite off a piece, smell the center, then move the chocolate around in your mouth. If you can keep it there for 20 seconds, good job. They call that the “Sôcôla experience.”
Of course, we’d understand if you’d rather just eat everything right away because Sôcôla has embraced inventive chocolatiering. One of their gifts sets, ranging from $98 to $168, gives your giftee a chance to sample some of their best flavors. Try the raspberry pop rocks or the crispity white matcha — it’s hard to go wrong with Sôcôla, whose durian flavored truffles have even garnered a small following called “the Durian List.” Sôcôla also offers much more affordable 4-piece truffle sets, starting from $11.95.
To find Sôcôla Chocolatier in store: 535 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94105
To purchase from Sôcôla Chocolatier online: www.socolachocolates.com
We Are La Cocina, published by the famed San Franciscan nonprofit business incubator that’s been changing the city’s food scene for immigrant women of color, is more than your average cookbook. Priced at $29.95, We Are La Cocina holds recipes from all over the world — Brazil, Cambodia, Mexico, Palestine, Ireland, Jamaica, etc. — and profiles of the chefs behind them. Each recipe is accompanied with a small memory or blurb by the chef, and beautiful photos by San Francisco photographer Eric Wolfinger.
We Are La Cocina is the perfect gift for anyone who’s even remotely interested in learning more about food, or learning more about our city. It’s a vibrantly colored immortalization of what La Cocina means for San Francisco, and how the culinary landscape of the city can change and thrive when equity and inclusion in business is finally prioritized. Just the very title — We Are La Cocina — is a proud declaration in itself.
To find We Are La Cocina at an independent bookstore near you: www.indiebound.org
To purchase We Are La Cocina online: www.lacocinasf.org
San Francisco literary journal ZYZZYVA’s latest winter issue is all things Bay Area, featuring Bay Area authors and a new short story by Writers with Drinks organizer Charlie Jane Anders. (“San Francisco used to have a million pockets and folds in her long flowery skirts, where the strange and barely loved could create their own reality,” the piece reads. “But lately, not so much.”) Other notable short story writers and poets featured: Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Chia-Chia Lin, Lydia Conklin, Meg Hurtado Bloom, and more. The Bay Area Issue is only $15, so it’s a great way to support a longtime San Francisco publisher and the city’s evolving literary scene without breaking the bank. That, and gifting a literary journal with multiple pieces means that there’s bound to be a short story or poem that’ll resonate with the pickiest of readers.
To purchase The Bay Area Issue online: www.zyzzyva.org
After facing intense fibromyalgia, founder Pia T. Barton turned to CBD to find some pain relief. Now she’s the CEO of her own botanicals shop, where she infuses pain cream, bath bombs, essential oils, and other products with CBD to spread the wellness message. Malaya Botanicals offers a hair care gift bag for $80, but feel free to make your own gift set using the variety of products Barton has to offer.
To purchase from Malaya Botanicals online: www.malayabotanicals.com
Soyful Aromas is all about self care. Their candles are handmade from soybeans, resulting in an environmentally non-toxic product that burns longer than your average candle. Their $25 “Be Intentional” gift set includes a travel candle, lavender peach tea and an accompanying infuser, a journal, and a diamond ballpoint pen. The $55 spa trio gift set includes three candles — you can customize the scents.
To purchase from Soyful Aromas: www.soyfularomas.com
Grace Li covers arts and culture for SF Weekly. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org