One of my favorite things about winter is – well, eating. Perhaps it’s a primal reaction, an attempt to store up on food as I head into hibernation mode, but I think there’s another reason: there are so many festive winter and holiday treats that only happen now! If you’re a fellow foodie, I think you’ll agree that this really is the most wonderful time of the year to excite your palette and enjoy the glorious taste of winter’s splendors.
Here’s a list of seven of my absolute favorite places to pick up winter treats — for myself, for every friend and family member on my holiday shopping list, and my holiday hosts, to thank them for their hospitality.
1. The Candyman, Orient
There’s an unmistakable chill in the air, and winter has indisputably settled in for the next few months, which means two things: 1) the holiday season is upon us, and 2) it’s time for homemade candy canes at The Candyman. You probably don’t often think of the fact that a handmade candy cane is essentially a piece of hand crafted art — but it is. Creating these edible masterpieces is in fact a time consuming process — which is why I am grateful I can go buy them! Candy makers boil a traditional mixture of sugar, water, corn syrup in large batches, add flavoring then roll, stretch, layer, and twist each candy cane into exquisite works of edible art that’s fun for hanging on the tree, giving as a gift, or my favorite — eating!
2.Tate’s Bakery, Southampton
Okay, I’ve said it before, there are just so many reasons to love Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton. The building is tastefully decorated for the holiday season in greenery and red bows, taking you back to a simpler time. If you think the outside is festive, you should see inside. Tate’s packages all of their best sellers (which include whole wheat and gluten-free options) in beautiful tins, baskets and towers. You can even purchase their famous crispy cookies all bagged up, which make thoughtful gifts for coworkers and neighbors. Tate’s offers shipping too, so if you can’t make it in person, you can certainly still indulge – and have it pretty much delivered to your doorstep.
3. Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Greenport
You’re wearing your ugly sweater, corduroy pants and big stupid elf hat with a jingle bell. You effortlessly ease into the party and everyone is glad to see you — not because of your attire, but because you brought the beer (it’s okay, don’t take it personally). Hopefully you filled up your growler with one or two of my favorite winter brews from GHBC: the Anti-freeze Ale (an English Olde Ale style malt brewed to a deep delicious amber) or the Longest Night (an oatmeal stout with notes of chocolate, hints of cinnamon, and orange peel).
4. Harbor Market and Kitchen, Sag Harbor
The Harbor Market is a warm urban market with a rustic flair that marries the best of both worlds. For the holidays, I offer you two wonderful gifts – one for the foodie in your life and the other for your own holiday party! Harbor Market makes custom food baskets beautifully arranged in rustic wooden crates and baskets (for the foodie, as I said) consisting of locally made goods like honey, coffee, pasta, tea, chocolates, brownies, granola and more! Seriously, if you are wondering what to buy me . . . sorry, I’m getting side-tracked.
Alright. You’ve made it through the main course and everyone is delightfully full, but being the hostess that you are, you have one last surprise up your apron sleeve! That’s because you pre-ordered Harbor Market’s Traditional Christmas Trifle which is (try not to drool) layers of sponge cake, vanilla bean pastry cream, raspberry jam, and fresh berries, topped with whipped cream. Of course, you didn’t tell anyone that you bought this — and that’s okay, we can keep a secret, just this once.
5. Montauk Brewing Company, Montauk
It’s your friend’s annual New Year’s Eve party. It’s that time of year when you gather your loved ones close, reflect on the past twelve months and look optimistically forward to the future. Also, there’s going to be, you know, a night of listening to your friends sing their favorite karaoke tunes. Your contribution? Hopefully it’s Montauk Brewing Company’s Arrowhead Red Ale. This brew is only available starting December, which is yet another reason to love the winter! If bitter beer is not your thing, then you’ll love this brew which has a strong malt backbone, sweet caramel finish and slight fruitiness with hints of roasted barley.
6. Grindstone Coffee & Donuts, Sag Harbor
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#holidayflavors pt. 2 – one of the special flavors we will be running today and for the rest of this month is #cranberrypomegranate – and because it's Sunday, we have the Grindstone Sunday Special, #maplebacon!!! Stop in and treat yourself to a #peppermintmocha and a warm #brioche #donut before xmas shopping. #grindstonecoffeeanddonuts #fourbarrelcoffee #coffeetime #donutholes #sagharbor #longisland #newyork #nyc #riseandgrind #donutworry #donutbotherme #eastcoast #handmade #realfood
Grindstone Coffee & Donuts is promising to roll out a bunch of holiday inspired doughy deliciousness including their recent seasonal release of Cranberry Pomegranate donuts. You’ll be the hit at any party if you show up with a box of these treats or other teasers including Mint Chocolate, Egg Nog and orange marmalade or you can stick with the Sunday special, the Maple Bacon donut, because really there is no reason not to eat bacon or maple if given the opportunity. Of course, you might as well get yourself something warm and delicious since you were so thoughtful, and indulge in a winter drink special like Mexican Hot chocolate or a Peppermint Mocha. Check out there Facebook page for updated specials.
7. The Hampton Chocolate Factory, Westhampton Beach
This might be the neatest stocking stuffer ever. The Hampton Chocolate Company creates Hot Chocolate Pops. Say goodbye to those awful powdered hot chocolate packets and familiarize yourself with an artisanal chocolate pop that is made with 72% pure dark chocolate ganache. Feel free to reread that sentence, because this treat offers an intense chocolate experience. All you have to do is stir the chocolate stick into a 6 oz. cup of hot or steamed milk, swirl it around and wonder why this isn’t how all hot cocoas are made. Snuggle up by the fire with your loved ones and have a sip of this decadent winter treat.