Second Helpings: Santa's Helpers for Food Gifts

Stumped on Christmas gift giving ideas? Food Editor Virginia B. Wood serves up the best ways to give the gift of Austin food purveyors.

The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were written by Chronicle Food Editor Virginia B. Wood. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Austinuts

2900 W. Anderson Lane, 343-6887

Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, noon-6pm

The fresh, dry-roasted nuts here make delicious and nutritious gifts. Austinuts also sells a wide variety of chocolates and other candies. All nuts and candies can be artfully arranged in special gift jars, baskets, and tins that can be packed and shipped all over the world.

Dr. Chocolate

4001 N. Lamar, #500, 454-0555

Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm; Sunday, 1-6pm

4521 Westgate Blvd., 891-6800

Monday-Tuesday, noon-8pm; Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-9pm; Sunday, 1-6pm

Dr. Chocolate stocks everything chocoholics would love in the stocking or hanging on the tree. Custom ornaments to fill with dainty chocolates, plush teddy bears holding chocolate treats, small exquisite sampler boxes, dark, milk, and white chocolate candy bars chock-full of nuts, luscious dipped apricots, and orange slices. A chocolate wonderland.

Lammes Candies

Nine locations around Austin, Round Rock, San Marcos & San Antonio

www.lammes.com

Central Texans have turned to Lammes for their sweet treats for more than 100 years. They'll ship gift boxes of their famous chewy pralines, decadent divinity, chocolate-caramel-pecan Longhorns, and delightful peppermint taffy to the homesick former Austinites on your list, no matter where they've moved around the globe. Drop into any location and put together a personal assortment of hard candies, truffles, taffies, or mints to please any sweet tooth or stuff any stocking.

Sweetish Hill Bakery
Sweetish Hill Bakery (Photo By John Anderson)

Sweetish Hill Bakery

1120 West Sixth, 472-1347

Monday-Saturday, 6:30am-7pm; Sunday, 6:30am-5pm

98 San Jacinto, 472-2411

Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4pm

Sweetish Hill is probably the only bakery in the country that goes to the trouble to candy its own fruit for holiday baking. No Day-Glo red and green cherries here. Sample the delectable candied orange and grapefruit peel, cherries, pineapple, and almonds in such traditional delights as their German Stollen, Italian Pannetone, and the raisin- and pecan-studded fruitcake. Trays and tins of assorted cookies make great treats for office co-workers and gifts for teachers.

Texas French Bread

Six locations around town

Holiday time at Texas French Bread means cranberries in a very big way. The cranberry bread with walnuts and orange zest makes it a bestseller. Think about toasting it on Christmas morning. The tangy Rustic Cranberry Tarts make a perfect ending to any holiday meal. Large and small tins packed with decorated angels and Christmas trees, thumbprints, chocolate stacks, and sand tarts will be welcome under anyone's tree.

Marta's Flan

476-4334

www.martasflan.com

Texans are accustomed to buying Marta's flan in restaurants and grocery stores all over the state. This year, it's possible to send Austin's favorite flan anywhere in the country, courtesy of Marta's new Web site. Choose 12 vanilla flan, a 12-pack assortment made up of her delightful flavors (vanilla, pumpkin, eggnog, pecan cheesecake, cheesecake, chocolate coffee liqueur, and coconut), or six each of two flavor choices. Use the Web to make arrangements to send them to all the flan lovers on your list. Price includes overnight shipping.

Penny's Pastries

Call 302-3663 to order or for more information

Each hand-decorated cookie from Penny's kitchen is a work of art in and of itself; they're an Austin tradition on all holidays. This year's lineup of wreaths, packages, Christmas trees, angels, and stars includes an adorable new snowman. Look for the elegant cookies at Northwest Hills Pharmacy & Gifts, Breed & Co., the Kitchen Door, Food, Food, Cafe Java, People's Pharmacy, and Whole Foods Markets.

The Bee Cave Honey Company

328-7780

www.beebutter.com

www.woromingers.com

Austin condiment maven Lisa Jardine is back in business with a new partner and two new lines of marvelous condiments. Her creamy flavored "bee butters" are simply divine: pure, all-natural honey creamed to the consistency of butter in natural, lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry, and cinnamon flavors. They'll be great on Christmas morning biscuits, waffles, and pancakes. The new W. O. Rominger's line features grilling rubs and marinades, smoky peach salsa, and a barbecue sauce. Look for these products in fine grocery and gift stores, or purchase them directly from the Web sites.

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