Via Bon Bon Bon
When it comes time to share your love with family and friends, nothing means more than the gift of nourishing food or drink handcrafted by a local farmer, chef, vintner, or crafter. Fortunately, Detroit has abundant options — whether you’re shopping for a chocolate fanatic or wine connoisseur, lover of fine meats or dedicated vegan. (Or if you’re putting together a sumptuous holiday spread.)
Many of Detroit’s food and drink purveyors have adapted to the pandemic by moving their wares and services online. “Traditionally we have been very reliant on our restaurants and summer festival sales opportunities, but this year the shift was dramatic and noticeable to direct sales,” Jacob Schoenknecht, Small Batch Detroit director.
Some have had to restructure their business model entirely, like FOLK — owner Rohani Foulkes told Detour the Corktown restaurant made the tough choice to go “all in” at the beginning of the pandemic, switching their business model to a market cafe and catering company.
Many food vendors make a substantial portion of their annual sales during the holiday season. “We typically see a 30% increase during November and December. We will be down at least 50% this year. Probably more,” said Detroit Vineyards Winemaker and Chief Chris Southern.
As much as food businesses have adapted to operating in the pandemic, they still face challenges during this time.
“Shopping small has never been more important,” Katrina Iott, owner of Beau Bien Fine Foods told Detour. “So many small businesses like mine were too small to get government aid, and we are just hoping for the best this season.”
But whatever comes, we know Detroit’s resilient and creative small business network will survive.
“Detroit has one of the most supportive food and drink ecosystems out there.” Casamara Club founder Dason LaValla told us. “I’m concerned with looking out for other small businesses because I know they’re already looking out for me.”
Here are some of our favorite picks for edible and drinkable Detroit gifts, whether you’re mailing something special to a loved one who can’t come home for Christmas, or wrapping packages for local family and friends.
With a tasting room in the old Stroh’s Ice Cream building on Gratiot, Detroit Vineyards is the first winemaker in the city in 60 years. They offer wine made in Detroit mostly from West Michigan grapes, but they are cultivating two acres of Detroit-grown grapes.
What to gift: Winemaker and Chief Chris Southern’s personal favorites are the new Woodward + Vine wines just released in the fall, especially the CV ($26) and Emcee ($30). “They’re really delicious and at a friendly price point,” he told Detour. “For someone who totally digs wine and learning about wine-making, a gift membership to our Wine Club is unique and thoughtful and available in different tiers/price levels). And lastly, I think it’s a good idea to always have a case of giftable wine on hand… and for that our 2019 Rosé ($22) is the perfect wine to gift.”
Midtown specialty beer shop 8 Degrees Plato prides itself on being a place that knows how to help you find what you’re looking for. “We know what we are doing by asking the right questions,” owner Tim Costello told Detour. “We can customize a mixed six-pack that should be able to brighten anyone’s day from the beer nerd to the novice.”
What to gift: “I always recommend a nice bottle of beer, like Duchesse De Bourgogne, a Flanders Red Ale, in a larger format so that the bottle can be shared,” Costello said. “Beer is very social and everyone can experience what should be something a little different than what they feel ‘beer’ should be. “
How to buy: Visit the store at 3409 Cass Ave, Detroit.
Part of what we love about House of Pure Vin is the vibe — refined but approachable, serious about wine but just as serious about making sure people are having a good time. During the pandemic, owner Regina Gaines is just as committed to shoppers’ experience — but it looks a little different. Instead of in-store gatherings, there are virtual wine tastings and online gift cards, while wine delivery (in- and out-of-state) and curbside pickup are key.
Unlike some businesses, House of Pure Vin has seen an uptick in sales this year — but Gaines isn’t exactly celebrating, noting that increased spirits purchases doesn’t necessarily indicate good spirits for her customers. “We’re mindful of the fact that some people might not be spending the holidays with their relatives for the very first year,” she said. “This is more so a ‘thank you God, I’m alive,’ season than a celebration… And a lot of people are grieving.” That’s the thoughtfulness and care for customers you can expect from House of Pure Vin, across the board.
What to gift: Pick out a bottle to send to a friend online (Brown Estate’s Chaos Theory, a Napa Valley Petite Syrah, Merlot and Zinfandel blend, $45, is a fitting choice) or shop in-store for guidance picking out a bottle or case. If you’re going big, give the gift of a wine club membership, with two bottles plus other perks for $35 a month.
How to buy: Shop online or visit the store at 1433 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.
Castalia Cocktails is the sister company to Sfumato Fragrances, which are both located in a Midtown Victorian. At Castalia, you’ll find cocktails inspired by Sfumato’s fragrances (along with drink and scent pairings).
What to gift: Order cocktails (starting at $10) and mocktails (starting at $7) to-go, or grab essential cocktail-making ingredients.
How to buy: Order online, then pick up at Sfumato, 3980 2nd Ave. in Detroit.
Co-founded and owned by Detroiter Nayana Ferguson, Anteel Tequila has won several awards, including Best Michigan Tequila Brand, Double Gold at the International SIP Awards and Silver Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition since its inception in 2018.
What to gift: A bottle of Tequila of course. You can choose between Blanco ($31.99), Coconut lime ($37.99), or caramel smooth Reposado ($44.99).
Spirits distilled locally
Booze is a great gift, but please skip the dusty gift boxes piled up at the liquor store and give your special someone a local spirit distilled right here in Michigan.
What to gift: We personally recommend the 100-proof Doctor Bird blended Jamaican rum from Two James in Corktown; the Butcher’s Cut Bourbon from Detroit City Distillery in Eastern Market or a fifth of pure, additive-free vodka from Valentine Distilling in Ferndale.
How to buy: Find these spirits and other options at each distillery. Two James: 2445 Michigan Ave. in Detroit. Detroit City Distillery: 2462 Riopelle St. in Detroit. Valentine Distilling: 161 Vester Ave. in Ferndale.
We got totally hooked on Casamara Club this summer when we were looking for a non-alcoholic bev that’s as good as (better?) than a craft cocktail. Their refreshing and aromatic club sodas are made with real botanicals, minus those processed “natural flavors,” and their packaging makes them feel special to give or get.
What to gift: The holiday 12-pack ($36) features the citrusy and slightly spicy Alta and Sera sodas for that special someone.
How to buy: You can find these specialty club sodas at dozens of shops across Michigan or buy online.
CommodiTeas founder Katrina Anderson offers blends for serenity, productivity and longevity from around the globe, whether you’re looking for a classic chamomile, their energy blend or an individualized pick-me-up, like the strawberry green tea.
What to gift: Buy bagged or looseleaf teas — you can give all the flavors that catch your eye with the $5 sampler packs or pick out one fave. For a really special occasion, pair your brew with a gold metallic mug or a delicate tea set.
How to buy: Shop online.
You may know the Eastern Market company that dates back to 1924 for its pistachios, but we’re partial to Germack’s coffee, roasted and blended in-house in small batches.
What to gift: Get the 1-75 or Bike Lane blend for your favorite commuter, and we have to recommend the Sumatra roast, with tasting notes of dark chocolate and cedar. Find mills and other accoutrements for java enthusiasts, or pair the coffee with one of their gift packages with mixed nuts, cinnamon almonds and more.
Sweets & baked goods
Chef and entrepreneur Jennifer Lyle is passionate about the fourth-generation family recipe that she learned from her granddad. His favorite recipe was his mom’s Lemon “Butta,” which has become Lyle’s signature pie. The Lemon Butta, Peach Pie and other signature flavors are Oprah-approved (she’s selected several flavors for her famous list, “Oprah’s Favorite Things”).
What to gift: Lush Yummies’ Lemon Butta pie ($35) and decadent German chocolate cookies ($18.50 for 6) are the ultimate desserts to gift for friends and family this holiday season.
How to buy: Order online and get your goodies shipped, or pick up at 1520 Adelaide in Detroit.
Bon Bon Bon’s quirky flavors and incredible variety — with chocolates as delicious as they sound — makes online shopping dangerous. At $3.50 a piece, you start adding chocolates to their custom box builder, and it sounds reasonable, but before you know it you’ve added so much candy to your cart that you’re shelling out hundreds. But will you regret it? Nope!
After opening in 2014, Alexandra Clark grew a one-person chocolatiering operation into a mini bon bon factory in Hamtramck staffed by the Babes Babes Babes, with two additional retail locations in Detroit (downtown is closed during the pandemic) and another that just opened in Ann Arbor. They’ve received admiration for the artisan chocolates (which come in extremely cute packaging) from the likes of Vanity Fair, Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart and more. Shop online or in-store. (Become a Detour Detroit member to save 10% off all your online orders!)
What to gift: Build a custom box ($3.50 for 1 bon – $112 for 32) or get a variety pack of chocolates fresh off the line ($35-$112). Flavors we love: Bumpy, a riff on nostalgic Sanders bumpy cakes with chocolate cake cream, buttercream frosting and dark chocolate shell; Strawberry Balsamic, with balsamic reduction, strawberry jam, dark chocolate olive oil ganache and dark chocolate shell; and Lil Hottie, with cayenne infused honey, arbol and Vietnamese cinnamon dark chocolate ganache, smoked paprika and milk chocolate shell. Or send a very spicy, very 2020 message with a floppy disk made of white chocolate, raspberry and fondant. The disk info says what your heart really desires: “Nudes!”
How to buy: Order online or visit 441 W. Canfield St., Suite 12, Detroit, MI 48201 Mon-Sat 11-7 or Sun 12-6 (ring bell for socially distanced service) or call 313-316-1430.
Detroit Dough is for cravers of cookie dough who want to indulge without worrying about salmonella. There’s no raw egg or uncooked flour in this sweet treat, and 5% of all sales go directly to the Dough that Makes a Difference Fund, to support community-based initiatives in Detroit’s NW Goldberg neighborhood.
What to gift: One or all of five flavors of dough: Chocolate Chip, No Chip, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, or Sugar.
How to buy: Find Detroit Dough at retail locations across Metro Detroit.
The priority this year is to stay safe and stay home, so Bombshell Treat Bar is delivering sweets straight to doorsteps with free, contactless delivery. These aren’t your traditional popsicles– think premium ice creams, local cookies, and fancy fondues.
What to gift: The Cozy-Up Kit is a curated mix of made-from-scratch treats created to get you in the holiday spirit! This box features a trio of ice cream sandwiches featuring Detroit Cookie Company cookies, over-the-top popsicles and a DIY fondue set.
How to buy: Order online for delivery or curbside pickup.
Snacks & specialty groceries
Nothing says “holidays” like a giant charcuterie spread. With locations in Midtown Detroit and Ferndale, Monger’s Provisions is a reliable go-to to max out your big board: exotic cheeses, pungent spreads, tiny cornichons, lovingly cured meats and even wine pairings.
What to gift: Build your own or grab the Monger’s Choice box for cheesemonger Zach Berg’s personal selection of fromages for your celebratory table. Bonus: smaller get-togethers this holiday does mean more cheese for you.
How to buy: Shop online for mail delivery or pickup, or make your selections at the Detroit location (4240 Cass Ave., #111). Monger’s stall is also open weekends from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Rust Belt Market in Ferndale.
FOLK Detroit sources products and from people that align with their mission to support good food and beverage. Every dollar spent with them provides you access to always responsibly grown and made food, beverage and homewares; supporting higher than minimum living wages and strengthening an ethical, sustainable, better food system.
What to gift: This season, Folk is curating a selection of boxes made up of their favorite beverages and foods sourced locally and regionally. Each box will have a specific theme in mind: like last-minute mama’s gift, health and wellness and treat the one you love.
How to buy: Order online or visit the store at 1701 Trumbull Ave.
For those who want to know where their steak/pork loin/lamb chop came from, Ferndale’s Farm Field Table is all about sourcing high-quality meats from local farmers who treat their animals with care and then maximizing each animal’s use in the butcher shop. Farm Field Table features grass-fed, grain-finished meat and poultry, sourced only from Michigan farms. When you shop with them, you’re supporting both local businesses and local farmers.
Home to world-class preserves and condiments made with Michigan’s finest produce, Beau Bien has developed refined pantry staples since 2010. The team works directly with local farmers to find the best quality fruit.
What to gift: Beau Bien’s preserves, mustards and chutneys ($8-10) are gifts you know won’t be wasted — find unique combos like cherry star anise, raspberry cacao and peach lemon lavender preserves. They do two-packs and holiday samplers with three flavors.
How to buy: Shop online or visit Beau Bien’s Eastern Market store by appointment at 2478 Riopelle St. in Detroit.
Olive Seed is a wellness company offering simple solutions to better health through tea tastings, wellness workshops, and wholesome, sustainable products.
How to buy: Shop online at Olive Seed.
A social enterprise powered by the Detroit Food Academy, every purchase from Small Batch Detroit goes directly into funding free after-school cooking programs with youth from all over Metro Detroit, employing high-schoolers and alumni in well-paying jobs, and supporting local farmers — they use all Michigan fruit and honey in their products.
What to gift: Small Batch, Big Change gift boxes are a great option to give someone a little bit of everything. Each gift box comes with one jar of Slow Jams and one of each of five flavors of Mitten Bites.
How to buy: Shop online.
Detroit Chips are so tasty that Oprah declared they’re one of her favorite things. Even better, they’re notable for fueling employment opportunities in the Hope District on Detroit’s east side, partially funding a soup kitchen, and helping to create or sustain other grassroots projects that benefit the community.
What to gift: A variety crate or 3-flavor tin should satisfy that craving for salt and crunch. Flavors include Aphrodisiac, Barbecue, Chipotle (our fave!), Himalayan Sea Salt, Lemon Pepper, Love, Onion & Celery, Sea Salt, or Voodoo.
Prepared meals & kits
Quiana “Que” Broden has some advice for those of us who have lost all motivation to prepare meals: “Even though you’re at home, make it a big deal,” she said. “Eat off a plate, use linen napkins, because it changes your mood. It’s a mind, body and soul thing.” Easy for her to say, you might be thinking — but for she wants to make it easy for you and your fam, too. Broden’s business, Cooking with Que, offers meal prep packages of healthful meals, with plentiful, but not only, vegan options. “Everybody wants to eat healthy, but no one knows where to start — so give the gift of meal prep,” she said. It’s a gift that makes life easier, keeps folks healthy and also feels like a luxury.
What to gift: Meal prep kits can be ordered for a few days or a few months, with a week’s worth starting at $130. They can be delivered or picked up. You can also find sustainable gifts for foodies — like bamboo cutlery, cheeky aprons and more. And coming later this week: the mood changer bundle, with everything you need to make your boring dinner into a picnic for one or two. Heard it here first!
Holiday food and treats are often the antithesis of healthy living. Pink Flamingo’s “guerilla food” nourishes the body without sacrificing flavor.
What to gift: Give the gift of soup — homemade, delicious soup — with a soup subscription from Pink Flamingo to Go this holiday season. You can sign up for a regular soup subscription for you or somebody you love starting at $30 (delivery available), featuring local produce from whenever possible from growers like Brother Nature Produce, Food Field/Nurturing Our Roots, Fisheye Farms, Detroit Mushroom Factory and Holtz Farm.
How to buy: Stop by the Pink Flamingo to Go-Go outpost in Palmer Park to pick up savory, homemade and healthy dishes for your holiday table. Pink FlaminGo to Go is located at 17740 Woodward Ave., in Detroit. (Become a member of Detour Detroit to receive a promo code for 10% off your first order!)
A nationally-recognized Corktown sandwich shop with its very own craft beer, wine and grocery shop featuring top-of-the-line deli meats, cheeses and packaged goods, Mudgie’s swiftly initiated COVID-19 protocols with online ordering and curbside pick-up. They also have a walk-up patio for ordering and pick-up.
What to gift: A nice bottle of wine, craft beer or Mudgie’s latest offering: comfort food heat-and-serve meals.
How to buy: Call directly or order with ease through their website. Visit the shop at 1413 Brooklyn St., Detroit.
Is it weird to give someone ‘za for a holiday gift? Maybe if you ordered them Domino’s on a random evening, but Buddy’s stands apart. The classic, beloved eatery has been quietly making its square variety for more than 70 years, loooong before Detroit-style pizza got national recognition and became possible to find on the coasts. Send a few Buddy’s frozen pies to a Detroit expat who can’t come home for the holidays — or to someone who needs to acknowledge that Detroit-style pizza really is the best.
How to buy: Buy online at Goldbelly. Pizzas ship frozen on dry ice. Free standard shipping, get rush delivery or pick a delivery date in the next few months.
Additional selections from Kate Abbey-Lambertz, Allie Jacobs, Courtney Wise Randolph and Ashley Woods Branch.