With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, many of us are still wondering what we’re (quite literally) bringing to the table. I’ve scoured the Larchmont neighborhood and surrounding areas to put together a handy shopping guide for the guest who wants to impress…while also supporting local small businesses and makers. From host/hostess gifts that make a statement to wine recommendations that pair well with the year’s most important dinner, our suggestions are sure to complement the food and ambiance this holiday.
Wine and Spirits
We spoke with the wine guys at Larchmont Village Wine & Cheese to get their recommendations for a couple of bottles of wine that can hold up to the classic flavors and heaviness of Thanksgiving dinner. For white wine lovers, they chose the Champalou Vouvray, which is a crisp and elegant choice. Hailing from the West of France and made from the chanon blanc grape, this Kermit Lynch import has a mineral, stoney texture and enough acidity to cut through the richness of the meal. Their next suggestion was the Metrick Pinot Noir, which is produced in the Santa Rita hills north of Santa Barbara. An ocean breeze whooshes through the valley, cooling everything and making it an ideal spot for growing. This wine’s high tone, juicy character and good acidity make it an impeccable pairing for robust foods.
And finally, for a pre-dinner drink that’s sure to wow, bring a bottle of Jardesca to your gathering. This California-produced aperitiva is botanically-infused, all natural, and low in alcohol; making it an ideal offering to a host or hostess who has hours of cooking (and sipping) ahead. You can serve it over ice or top it with champagne for a delightful and refreshing spritz. And if you really want to awe guests, don’t forget fresh orange slices to garnish their white aperitiva, and fresh cranberries and rosemary twigs to garnish their red aperitiva. You can find them at several local stores including Larchmont Wine & Cheese and Monsieur Marcel.
Breads and Baked Goods
For an absolute showstopper of a loaf, snag an olive fougasse from Jyan Isaac Bread for your gathering; perfect for tearing and passing. The olive fougasse is studded with mixed Castelvetrano and Kalamata olives throughout and has plenty of fun negative space, which lends it aesthetic appeal and makes each chewy bite bursting with briny flavor. Their baguette is an elevated take on a classic, with impossibly pointy ends and a thick crust. Jyan Isaac Bread will not be at the Larchmont farmers market the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so you will have to chase them down at their bakery or any of the other markets they’re attending. Up-to-date information is available on the Jyan Isaac website and social media accounts.
Specialty food store Surfas Culinary District offers a selection of high-end cheeses, meats, and accoutrement, perfect for assembling a lush board for day-of snacking. Select a variety of cheeses and arrange them clockwise from soft to hard, filling in negative spaces with a river of ribboned prosciutto, artisanal crackers, pots of jellies and jams, organic olives, colorful dried fruit, and a medley of nuts, all available at the Surfas store (and many available for online ordering as well). As an added bonus, you can easily find any specialty equipment your panicked host might be missing (Did someone need a gravy skimmer or turkey frills?).
Misha’s Kind Foods is a plant-based, dairy alternative founded by Chef Ian Martin and Aaron Bullock, and is a mainstay at the Sunday farmers market on Larchmont. Their cultured cashew cheeses are soft and spreadable and Chef Ian Martin is a genius at flavor pairings (the Seven Point Five flavor with habanero and strawberries will blow your mind). Pick up a tub or two for some vegan representation on your Thanksgiving cheese board and, if you missed the vendors at the Sunday market, they’re available for delivery, with products also sold at several stores across Los Angeles. Check out the website or social media feeds for up-to-date information on where to buy.
With everything from fresh produce, vibrant flowers, and an eclectic assortment of dips and spreads in their grab-n-go case, Cookbook Market is worth a stop if you want to bring something delicious and unique to the table. The beet za’atar dip would steal the show on any crudite plate with its bright fuchsia color, while the assorted sauces and pickled items would make a quirky inclusion to any board or just a fun foodie host/hostess gift.
Compartes chocolates are made locally in Los Angeles with stores across the city. Its holiday truffle sets are absolutely stunning and make for the perfect morsel after a heavy Thanksgiving meal. And any host or hostess would delight in a specialty bar or two to tuck into once they can sit and relax after cleaning up. With flavors like cookies and cream, churros & horchata, lavender, and more, you’re sure to find something that stands out.
Local bakery Erin McKenna has treats everyone can enjoy with a selection of vegan, gluten-free desserts including pumpkin pie, Dutch apple pie, brownie bites, and more. The sweets are also a visual treat, with artful swirls of frosting, drippy glaze, and dainty piping. They’ll be sure to dazzle and delight every taste bud in the house.
The frenzy of Thanksgiving day is only a small part of the work hosts and hostesses put into the holiday meal. Many are perusing recipes months in advance, reserving heritage birds weeks in advance, and brining them days in advance…as well as making turkey broth, prepping sides, and agonizing over table settings. Even a small token of gratitude can go a long way with your gracious host or hostess. Village Heights located at the South end of Larchmont (122 1/2 N Larchmont Blvd.) and has several beautiful, and useful, items for gifting. If you are bringing a cheese board, you can also bring the board itself. Choose among a selection of gorgeous wood and marble options. Gilded serving ware that your host can keep also brightens up any dish you’re bringing. And for the hostess who has everything, choose from a selection of seasonal candles.
These local foodie finds will have everyone at your Thanksgiving table marveling over what good (ahem) taste you have. We can all be thankful there are so many quality small businesses and food artisans in our immediate and surrounding area to make gift-giving effortless and elegant.