10 food gifts from Black-owned companies

I think most of us would agree that the best gift right now would be an actual physical hug from a quarantined friend or family member we haven’t seen in a while, but until we get so lucky, here’s the next best thing: food and drinks that you can order online — and all sourced from Black-owned businesses. Friend got a birthday coming up? Want to let your sister (or aunt or teacher or uncle or grad) you are thinking of them? Here are 10 food gifts that they’ll love…

1. Hot Sauces, $10, Basbaas

Two sauces  — tamarind date and coconut cilantro chutney — both laced with heat and reminiscent of flavors from owner Hawa Hassan’s native Somalia.

2. Waffle Mix, $10, ReMix

Fluffy with just the right amount of crunchy, the not-too-sweet all-natural waffle mix makes Sunday brunch that much better. Gluten-free also available.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies, $21 for half dozen, The Salty Heifer

Ever hear of a chocolate chip cookie described as smoky? I hadn’t, and now I can’t get it out of my head. This salty chocolate chip cookie is made in Brooklyn with pork lard — hence the smoke — and through June 19, as part of the Bakers Against Racism initiative, 70% of the company’s proceeds go towards Color of Change and United we Dream.

4. Blondies, $45 for two dozen, Blondery

Owner Auzerais Bellamy trained in Michelin-starred restaurants including New York’s Bouchon Bakery, and according to legend, spent three years perfecting her recipe for these Pecan and Salted Caramel blondies. I’m convinced!

5. BBQ Sauce, $7 for 15-ounce bottle Jones B-B-Q

Sweet-and-Tangy BBQ original sauce from a beloved, sister-run Kansas City BBQ favorite. Also available in a two-pack: Coconut-pineapple sauce. How good would that be slathered on grilled chicken?  (Note: They currently have a 2-week delay in shipping, so plan accordingly.)

6. Carrot Cake (Lloyd’s, $59 for 8-inch cake)

The lines are always long at family-run Lloyd’s, and it’s for one thing: the legendary carrot cake, dense and moist, iced with classic cream-cheese frosting, and studded with optional nuts and raisins. The New York bakery with two locations churns out more than a thousand cakes a week and has fans all over the world.

7. Granola (JuneBaby, $16 per bag)

Granola made from currants, sultanas, coconut, millet, baharat spices makes this a favorite at heirloom-grain focused Lucinda in Seattle (sister restaurant to renowned JuneBaby, run by two-time James Beard Award winner Edouardo Jordan). While you’re there, check out JuneBaby’s Ancient Grain Pancake and Red Flint Cornbread mixes.

8. Coffee, $19 per 12-ounce bag, Red Bay Coffee

A wide variety of blends and single origin coffees from the Oakland-based community hub, which prioritizes hiring, supporting, and training people from marginalized communities. Start with single origin Kings Prize from Ethiopia or fruit-forward Carver’s Dream.

9. Small-Batch Whiskey, $55 for 750-ml bottle, Guidance

Distilled in Iowa and “captained” by R&B singer Larry Dodson, this two-year-aged whiskey has notes of burnt caramel and vanilla essence.

10. Chardonnay, $25 per bottle, Maison Noir

Award-winning Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from maker André Hueston Mack, a one-time sommelier at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry and Per Se, and the first Black man to be given the prestigious Chaine des Rotisseurs Best Young Sommelier award. Also: How amazing are those labels? Mack designs them himself.

Thoughts? Which would you want?

P.S. 8 gifts dads secretly want for Father’s Day and how to drink wine like a sommelier.

(Graphic design by Maud Passini.)