Well, it’s Dec. 22.
For those of you who celebrate with Christmas gifts, that means you have either finished up all your holiday shopping and are relaxing next to the tree with cocoa and marshmallows, or you are scurrying around like crazy. Or, if you are anything like my late father, you have two days until you even start shopping.
If you still need some gift ideas, we are here to help.
One of the great things about living in this area – aside from watching snow and sleet on television as we enjoy balmy mid-50s sunshine – is that the area is home to crops that feed the world. And this time of year offers up some popular treats. Items from Blue Diamond Almonds, Rodin Farms and Sciabica’s Olive Oil would make attractive and tasty additions to anyone’s holiday gift-giving. We are home to some incredible cheesemakers, and many of them are available at your local market. Who couldn’t go for some Fiscalini cheddar or Oakdale gouda about now?
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A stop at a local bakery or one of the many amazing restaurants we have around here can yield a gift card that will make the recipient happy and provide a fun dinner or lunch out later, after the holidays when everyone is too exhausted to cook, anyway.
Or pick up a local beverage – we have a little winery around here you may have heard of by the name of Gallo. But there are some smaller purveyors, too. Do Good Distillery offers up whiskey and bourbon at its Del Este Avenue site.
Looking for something new? Two local favorites, Dust Bowl Brewing and Stewart & Jasper Orchards, have teamed up to bring you Taco Truck Almond Beer Brittle. Yes, Taco Truck is a beer and almond brittle is a sweet dessert. But the two actually make a terrific combination. I picked up a can of it this week and the newsroom consensus was that it was very tasty – not quite as sweet as regular brittle and the lime salt adds a nice bit of tartness.
And, of course, there’s always chocolate. Which I mention because See’s Candy has at last opened a store in Turlock.
After two years of putting in pop-up holiday shops, See’s must have seen enough business to establish a permanent location. The store, next to GameStop in the Raley’s shopping center on Geer Road, opened last week to an enthusiastic response: “I love it!” one woman told me when I visited.
In addition to a permanent sign and store, the new See’s has something lacking in the temporary stores: the candy counter. In addition to the prepackaged assortments and treats available for purchase, customers can get custom-made selections. That’s important for people like my family who like to see a half-pound of milk chocolate buttercreams in their stockings Christmas morning.
Find See’s at 2962 Geer Road. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 209-669-9278.